Beverly Garside

A Modest Proposal - Should Libertarians be Allowed to Opt Out of Socialist Society?

    There appears to be no middle ground. The ObamaCare debate is a perfect illustration. Any move whatsoever to collectivize any function of society is denounced by libertarians, Tea Partiers, and Ayn Rand disciples as "socialism." And it is, actually. I believe it's the teaspoon full of socialism that makes capitalism viable, that prevents its ultimate collapse into communist revolution. But ideologues are purists. They believe a teaspoon full of anything else pollutes the pure truth and function of their ideology.
     What if there were a way to make both sides happy? Consider, for example, the following Modest Proposal. I call it the Opt-Out Option. It calls for citizens to be allowed to "opt out" of  "socialist" American society. Citizens who choose to "opt out" would not be required to pay any taxes, neither on the federal, state, or local level. Every penny earned, either through employment or a privately owned business, would belong to the opt-outer. They would pay no Social Security or Medicare contributions, no property or income taxes, and no deductions of any sort would be made from their paychecks or profits. In addition, any land owned by opt-outers would be free of regulation by any government level, except for cases where its use damages adjacent land owned by the government or neighbors who have not opted out.
     In exchange, opt-outers would be banned from participation in any tax-funded program, subsidy or service. This would include, specifically:

* They would receive no benefits from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance and any other tax-funded program. All insurance and retirement funds would have to be privately purchased and managed by the opt-outer;
* Opt-outers would be banned from driving on public roads, since they would neither contribute to their upkeep nor to the funding for local motor vehicle licensing administrations. Thus they would be required to use taxis or hire licensed chauffeurs to drive them; 
* They would be banned from rescue by public emergency 911 services. This would include public ambulance and rescue services, as well as fire and police protection.  Opt-outers would have to arrange for private fire, rescue and personal protection services, or simply do without.
* They would be banned from using public civil courts. All marriages, divorces, child custody disputes, neighbor disputes, auto accident liability collections, breach of contract cases involving businesses, wills and inheritance disputes, and any other civil cases would have to be settled entirely by those involved without support or interference from the state-funded judiciary;
* They could not receive a U.S. passport, being that they do not help pay for that government function;
* Neither they nor their children could attend public schools or universities;
* In a natural disaster, they would be banned from receiving any FEMA aid or loans, as well as any aid provided by state and local agencies;
* Opt-outers who own farms or engage in any other industry subsidized by any level of government would no longer receive those subsidies;
* Opt-outers accused of criminal offenses, such as murder, larceny, etc, would be ineligible for the services of a public defender. In addition, those convicted of crimes would be required to reimburse the government for the costs of their trials and confinement, to include government confiscation of their property if necessary. This would ensure that opt-outers could not commit crimes as a means to live in prison on the public dime;
* Opt-outers who produce goods and services for sale to the public would be required to label those goods as not inspected or endorsed by government health and safety agencies;
* They could neither copyright nor patent any works or inventions with the U.S Bureau of Patent and Copyright;
* Opt-outers could, however, use the U.S. Postal Service as it is not supported by tax dollars.

     In I and You the U.S. Government eventually decides to implement such a radical measure. Is it insanity, or perhaps, a solution?

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