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Freegan Idiots


Tags Media and Culture

In case you missed it, yesterday's New York Times offered a profile of "freegans" -- people who live as much as possible, and relatively well, off other people's garbage, which they get for free by combing through dumpsters and the like. That's fine, if it's how you want to live, but the article gets really good when the freegans offer their political views:

Many freegans are predictably young and far to the left politically, like Ms. Elia, the 17-year-old, who lives with her father in Manhattan. She said she became a freegan both for environmental reasons and because "I'm not down with capitalism."

. . .

Some claim to hold themselves to rigorous standards. "If a person chooses to live an ethical lifestyle it's not enough to be vegan, they need to absent themselves from capitalism," said Adam Weissman, 29, who started freegan.info four years ago and is the movement's de facto spokesman.

Of course it is only because of capitalism that people (even college students!) are so wealthy that they can simply throw away such miraculous products as television sets and computers when they're done with them, and bums (let us call freegans what they are) can live relatively well off them for no money. These people have not "absented themselves from capitalism" — they're among its least productive beneficiaries, the participants who truly do not "give back to society."

I suppose it is yet another benefit of capitalism that it produces people like these to amuse us. I just hope they're too busy dumpster diving to engage in another far-too-costless activity — voting.

Jacob Huebert is a constitutional lawyer in Chicago and the author of Libertarianism Today, an introduction to libertarianism and the libertarian movement.

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