Katie Kieffer

“Take a look at this black belt I’m wearing people. You think anyone wants a roundhouse kick to the face while I'm wearin’ this bad boy?”

It’s time for unemployed Americans to embrace capitalistic martial arts. It’s time to talk like Rex from Napoleon Dynamite. It’s time to give socialism a roundhouse kick to the face.

If you aren’t already one of 14 million unemployed Americans, you’re probably concerned about joining them. The U.S. economy netted no new jobs in August. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Consequently, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits in the first full week of September soared to a three-month high.

When conservatives and libertarians find themselves without meaningful work—through no fault of their own—they feel distressed and mortified at the prospect of accepting temporary government unemployment assistance to get by.

Ayn Rand lends philosophical clarity to this dilemma. In the June 1966 edition of The Objectivist newsletter, she addresses the ethics of accepting a wide range of government assistance. She contends that it is morally acceptable to take government assistance when the government unjustly appropriates excess taxes, private property rights and free market opportunities from individual citizens.

“The victims do not have to add self-inflicted martyrdom to the injury done to them by others; they do not have to let the looters profit doubly, by letting them distribute the money exclusively to the parasites who clamored for it. … and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money, unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration.”

We’ve all seen the MasterCard commercials asserting that memories with family and friends are “priceless.” Rand asserts a reverse and equally reasonable claim: A government is unable to fully recompense citizens for usurping their intellectual freedom and economic opportunities. In other words, you can’t put a dollar amount on the damage unjust government policies inflict on hardworking individuals.

Hence, she allows capitalists to accept government assistance: “…so long as you fight against welfare statism (and only so long as you fight it) and are prepared to give up any of its momentary benefits in exchange for repeal and freedom—so long as you do not sell your soul (or your vote)—you are morally in the clear.”

Katie Kieffer

Katie Kieffer is the author of a new book published by Random House, LET ME BE CLEAR: Barack Obama’s War on Millennials and One Woman’s Case for Hope.” She writes a weekly column for Townhall.com. She also runs KatieKieffer.com.