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When I say "government job," I don't mean police officers, elected officials, or soldiers in the army. What I mean by government job includes working at the DMV, working for the Water Dept., etc., where they essentially do nothing, work for a certain number of years, and collect a pension for life. Is that wrong on Objectivist terms?

I ask because, once again, my mom tells me to get one of these jobs because she doesn't believe I'll ever be a successful person. I say "no" because I don't want to be a burden on the taxpayer, and I'm told I'm being stupid. I want to work in the private sector, and my family, not just my mom, is telling me what to do.

asked Feb 12 '12 at 18:24

Collin1's gravatar image


Collin1: Why do you think it's so hard to convince an anorexic that he/she is too thin?

(Feb 15 '12 at 01:04) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

Sooner or later, a psychologist might say to this questioner:

  • What do you think?
  • What do you want?
  • What do you know how to do that an employer might pay you to do?
  • What's stopping you from seeking the best kind of work you are qualified for?
  • What are you going to do about whatever is stopping you?

    Assuming that the issue of accepting a government job really is the questioner's main concern, refer to Ayn Rand's article, "The Question of Scholarships," republished in her book, The Voice of Reason, Chap. 7. Portions of that article are excerpted in The Ayn Rand Lexicon, but the article also discusses government jobs as well as government scholarships and grants. Here are the key highlights from the discussion of government jobs:
    4. The same moral principles and considerations apply to the issue of taking government jobs.

    The growth of government institutions has destroyed an incalculable number of private jobs and opportunities for private employment. This is more apparent in some professions (as, for instance, teaching) than in others, but the octopus of the "public sector" is choking and draining the "private sector" in virtually every line of work. Since men have to work for a living, the opponents of the welfare state do not have to condemn themselves to the self-martyrdom of a self-restricted labor market—particularly when so many private employers are in the vanguard of the advocates and profiteers of welfare statism.

    There is, of course, a limitation on the moral right to take a government job: one must not accept any job that demands ideological services, i.e., any job that requires the use of one's mind to compose propaganda material in support of welfare statism—or any job in a regulatory administrative agency enforcing improper, non-objective laws. The principle here is as follows: it is proper to take the kind of work which is not wrong per se, except that the government should not be doing it, such as medical services; it is improper to take the kind of work that nobody should be doing, such as is done by the F.T.C., the F.C.C., etc.
    (Sections 1 through 3 in the article discuss scholarships and government research grants. The "etc." probably also includes working as a tax law enforcer, except when or if the tax system is officially changed and one's job is to reform it accordingly.)

  • answered Feb 12 '12 at 20:48

    Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

    Ideas for Life ♦

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    Asked: Feb 12 '12 at 18:24

    Seen: 1,675 times

    Last updated: Feb 15 '12 at 01:04