Friday, October 2, 2020

On Working for a Very Oppressive US Government Organization

C.. emails:

I know you don't usually get questions of this sort, but I would like to hear your thoughts on working for [a very oppressive government organization]. 

I would consider myself an ardent student of the Austrian school, and been offered the chance to conduct regulatory Cost/Benefit analysis at [a very oppressive government organization]. Much can be said about the efficacy of economic work in Washington DC, but I am curious to know if you believe being a "man on the inside" is worth working for such an institution? 

RW response:

Wow, I am not sure I could give you any advice on what to do that wouldn't result in me getting brought up on charges.

I don't see how you could do any kind of work for that agency that they would appreciate. You would have to help a very bad agency or go counter to what you are assigned to do.

It may be valuable for the advancement of liberty to have "man on the inside" of this agency but to use your insider status against this agency would put you at extreme risk.

Unless you are willing to sacrifice your freedom, possibly for the rest of your life, to reveal insider stuff, I don't think it is a place for a libertarian to be.

There are libertarians throughout government that contact me from time to time but they are all in positions where they are not advancing government coercion but can provide insights into what is going on without serious career risk to themselves. 

The agency you are referencing is bad from start to finish.

BTW, Austrian economics is vert frei (value free), it would have nothing to do with guiding you on what your goals should be that would be libertarianism.



  1. RW, good, smart advice.
    C. If you end up doing or not doing anything, it seems you will know when the time comes, either way.
    “Let the other bastard die for his country”.
    Be safe.

  2. C, it may be a good idea to communicate with others that have been in similar situations to learn from their experiences.

    This sounds like an existential, philosophical, what’s life all about situation that is extremely complex and personal. If I were, to some extent, martyr myself and maybe those I love, I would want to understand to the best of my abilities the tradeoff between how much good I could do for the pain I would have to go through.