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I agree completely. The nature of property is a crucial issue. If the rights of property are as strong as classic liberals and modern libertarians claim, then the welfare state is a moral fraud. It is simply a program carried out by using the coercive power of the state to take from Peter and give to Paul. Transfer payments are essentially theft, and all the good intentions and desirable consequences in the world won't change that.

Having said that, I want to add that I believe that there is a moral justification for the welfare state. I don't think it is simply a matter of forcing Peter to give something to Paul that is rightfully Peter's.

I know that Dee will disagree. She believes in strong natural rights, including property rights. I believe in property rights too, but I wouldn't call them natural and I don't think they are as strong and inviolable as the rights that Dee advocates.

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