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In Atlas Shrugged, Robert Stadler is considered the most evil person because he sold his soul (and brains) in service of a state funded scientific research job.

I am in a similar position. Although the institute I work for also does research for for-profit private companies, my salary mostly comes from taxes paid by other people.

But there is no other place I can do cutting edge research and I get bored easily with non-cutting-edge non-mind-boggling sort of work.

Should I accept it?

asked Dec 03 '10 at 10:40

Edwin's gravatar image


edited Jan 26 '11 at 14:42

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦


The Ayn Rand Lexicon entry on Government Grants and Scholarships addresses this at some length in a passage from Rand's piece, "The Question of Scholarships". Here's an essential taste:

The recipient of a public scholarship [or research grant] is morally justified only so long as he regards it as restitution and opposes all forms of welfare statism. Those who advocate public scholarships, have no right to them; those who oppose them, have. If this sounds like a paradox, the fault lies in the moral contradictions of welfare statism, not in its victims. (Ayn Rand, "The Question of Scholarships")

But please go read the entire passage!

answered Dec 10 '10 at 18:04

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Yes. It is wrong to create or foster legislation that misuses tax revenues, but it is not wrong, per se, to receive tax revenues.

While some people might argue that the more you succeed at your work for a government-sponsored institution, the more you implicitly recommend the whole idea of the existence and worth of such ways of spending tax revenues, this is only plausible if one is willing to ignore many factors that prove the independence of the work done and the source of the money that pays for that work. In order to draw that conclusion, the individual must make some false assumptions about whether or not that same work could have been done and would have been done if the tax moneys had not been collected, etc.

I believe this question is addressed in Objectivist literature, but I do not have a clue where.

answered Dec 10 '10 at 17:32

Mindy%20Newton's gravatar image

Mindy Newton ♦

edited Dec 10 '10 at 17:37

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Asked: Dec 03 '10 at 10:40

Seen: 2,687 times

Last updated: Jan 26 '11 at 14:42