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Assume that you have access to someone who is "on the system". How do you convince that person to CONSISTENTLY WANT to get off the system. Everybody will, at some point in time, tell you that they don't really want to be in the system. In their mind, they know that it's wrong. However, they are not consistent about it. They forget about it as long as you leave them alone.

If you try the Socrates Q&A approach they just evade, become non-responsive or get mad at you. Is Ayn Rand's suggestion to just abandon them and let them die really the only way?

asked Jan 16 '12 at 01:06

Humbug's gravatar image


edited Jan 16 '12 at 01:08

Can you explain what "on the system" means?

(Jan 16 '12 at 07:40) anthony anthony's gravatar image

I guess he means that they're reliant on government support and would have to accept a lower standard of living at least in the short term if the looting stopped.

(Jan 16 '12 at 12:22) FCH FCH's gravatar image

They're on housing -- which is subsidized housing where the state pays for 80% of rent. FCH is correct. This someone would have to relocate to a shared-room arrangement instead of being entitled to a 2 bedrooms apartment.

(Jan 16 '12 at 12:39) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

Say, is this someone a real person?

(Jan 16 '12 at 13:05) FCH FCH's gravatar image

Yes it is.

(Jan 16 '12 at 15:03) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

How to handle such a person is quite dependent on many details. I'm not sure if you've pointed out to the person that "the system" is essentially bankrupt, and is unlikely to last for the rest of the person's expected lifetime. And the skills necessary to make a living without relying on "the system", especially in a post-collapse-of-the-system world, are unlikely to be developed overnight.

In my opinion the whole subsidized housing issue is not particularly relevant. But if the person is in subsidized housing because they aren't productive, that is a major issue.

(Jan 16 '12 at 19:36) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Ultimately, if you have laid out the case and the person is evading the facts, then there's nothing more you can do. That doesn't mean you should necessarily "abandon them", though depending on their other values (or lack thereof), it might.

(Jan 16 '12 at 19:36) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Irrational people will not listen to reason. The best convincing is done by reality. In a society which allows these looters (as you call them) to evade reality you have little to no chance of success at this goal.

(Jan 17 '12 at 21:54) CarGuy CarGuy's gravatar image
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First, I don't consider accepting government benefits by itself to be "looting." If someone receives benefits after paying into the system, if they abide by the associated laws established through our democratic republic, while standing against the system, I wouldn't consider them to be a looter. They don't want it, they didn't ask for it, but they are forced to pay into it anyway, so accepting some benefits in exchange is perfectly reasonable and moral.

However, for a true looter, I think the key to getting them to stop is for them to realize that they are literally putting their life at risk in the long term. A government strong enough to steal from others to give to them is also strong enough to steal from them to give to others -- or to just terminate the program.

In addition, the things they are receiving, using or consuming had to be produced by someone. Who? Are they willing to risk their life that those people will always be willing and able to produce for them?

In the long run, history clearly shows that looting can't be sustained. Where will it leave them if the system collapses? If they think it can't or won't collapse, have them look at some photos of Detroit.

answered Jan 17 '12 at 06:54

Rick's gravatar image

Rick ♦

edited Jan 18 '12 at 00:51

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Asked: Jan 16 '12 at 01:06

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Last updated: Jan 18 '12 at 00:51