There are several practical and philosophical reasons a redistribution scheme like Basic Income Guarantee, or Universal Basic Income (UBI) are inconsistent with true liberalism and general human flourishing.  Even if none of those arguments mattered, an almost entirely neglected aspect of such a policy is enough for me to oppose it.

There is a real and important consequence to individual meaning and fulfillment when a universal welfare system exists.  It creates a permanent dependent class.  The compassion behind it is condescending and paternalistic, and sends a message to the heart of each recipient: “You can’t do it without me.”  That message works too well.

We all know this.  We see it in children with an unconditional parental safety net.  We see it in the past with heartfelt, compassion-based, sexist and racist institutions.  We feel it in ourselves when we’re loafing on the job in secret or getting credit someone else worked hard for.  It’s not just some WASP social construct that eats away at us, it’s our self-confidence getting flabby as the arms of another lift us over every bump in the road.

We’re hard-wired for progress.  We need it to be fulfilled.  Progress only comes when we overcome challenges.  Those challenges start with the most basic.  If we cut off access to the simple achievements, the really great ones will be well out of reach.

It’s incredibly shallow and materialistic to assume money equals fulfillment.  In some cases, it can be the biggest obstacle to it.  Unearned merit is dangerous even in small, unexpected doses.  When it’s built into a full-fledged system you can bank on, it has the power to corrode the most creative impulses and hallow out that which makes us human.

Call me flowery or dramatic.  Call me cold or callous.  Call me whatever you like, but there is no denying that being taken care of when you’re not truly helpless is destructive to an individual’s sense of self and chances for success.  Just because this problem cannot be quantified does not mean it can be safely ignored.

Have some respect for your fellow human.  Have some respect for yourself.  Don’t demand a perpetual redistribution system.  Demand freedom and earn and give generously and of your own volition.  Guaranteed comfort is a subtle, sinister form of captivity.  It may seem to promote tranquility, but tranquility is not always desired.  It may quell the very restlessness and rebellion a free society needs to grow and progress – and individuals within that society need to do the same.

This is not about manufacturing obstacles to toughen people up.  It’s about removing obstacles, even when they’re covered in velvet and smell like roses.

Compassion and respect for human life compel me to oppose the Universal Basic Indignity of a guaranteed income scheme.