Voluntary Pauperism: Live Poor and Be Free!

Posted on September 9, 2011

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Voluntary Pauperism:  Live Poor and Be Free!
By Vicki Robison

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Voluntary paupers have always existed for a variety of reasons.  Some find it impossible to keep up with the rat race, while others find the rat race unnatural and unfulfilling.  Some are disenchanted with society and politics and yearn for a simpler way of life, while others may enter pauperism as a way to avoid paying taxes based on their disapproval of government spending, war, entitlement programs, etc.  Traditionally, these voluntary paupers have been referred to by a number of labels — all of whom have their respectable and disrespectable members — including: vagabonds, vagrants, hoboes, gypsies, tramps, etc.

This blogger has chosen voluntary poverty for two main reasons.  The first being that at the age of 40, after my partner died of cancer, I started to reevaluate my life.  Having worked a combination of minimum wage and low-paying jobs throughout my adult life, and not willing to go in debt for a college education, I became discouraged with the variety of miserable jobs I had held, often involving health risks and pain.  It occurred to me that my 40-hour-weeks provided me little more than a roof over my head, basic utilities and food.  Although most people will claim that one cannot live on minimum wage without assistance, I have to disagree.  One can actually live quite comfortably on a full time, minimum-wage income.  Two can also be supported by that same income, without assistance, but not quite as comfortably.  It’s all a matter of finding cheap housing — sometimes in not-so-desirable neighborhoods — and sticking to a very strict budget.

The second reason for my choice to live in poverty was realized after making the transition.  The more time I had on my hands, the more time I had for self-education.  I started learning about the Federal Reserve System and the I.R.S., along with the history of both institutions.  Being opposed to the existence of both institutions, and being opposed to many of the programs on which the government spends money, I deciced that the only way to avoid contributing to the corruption of government as I saw it, was to not pay into the system.  However, if one earns an income that surpasses the poverty level, and still refuses to pay taxes, prison is a guarantee — at least without an exceptional education of law, and being blessed with a jury who, individually, know their rights and responsibilities as jurists, and also have an exceptional education of the law.  So the tax-resister is left with three alternatives:   

  • Pay taxes to avoid prison.
  • Don’t pay taxes and risk prison.
  • Live under the poverty level so that he/she is exempt from taxes.

A voluntary pauper can be classified in two separate categories:  respectable and disrespectable.  Voluntary paupers may be male or female and may live individually, as couples, as families or in groups. 

A respectable pauper-by-choice does not “live off the system” merely to avoid work, and will generally not accept hand-outs without exchanging an equal amount of labor.  If money is needed, the respectable pauper will find work as needed, or will find alternative, and sometimes ingenious (but honest) ways to make an extra buck when needed.

The disrespectable pauper will live off of taxpayer dollars or handouts in order to avoid work.

The respectable pauper will find alternative housing, which costs little or nothing to the pauper, and nothing at all to the taxpayers of his country.  This may be a house that was bought and paid for in his/her pre-pauper days, or it may be a shack, a shanty, a micro-house, a tent, or other unconventional living arrangements.

The disrespectable pauper will seek government housing assistance, paid for by the nation’s taxpayers, in order to avoid work and/or avoid spending his/her own money.

The respectable pauper lives on very little money, and provides as many of the necessities of life for himself, through his labor.  He will generally resort to gardening, sprouting and/or foraging to provide his own food.  He may make his own clothing or shop at garage sales and thrift stores for inexpensive clothing.  He may rely on curbside trash or dumster finds to furnish his home.

The disrespectable pauper will rely on government-issued “food stamps” or cards to feed himself, and will often frequent food pantries to supplement his pantry.  He may also receive welfare, rely on bill-assistance programs and/or resort to begging to provide for his other necessities or luxuries.

The respectable pauper generally relies on inexpensive or free transportation, such as walking or bicycling — sometimes even being able to provide for himself a scooter or a moped.

The disrespectable pauper will use benefits supplied by taxpayers in order to make his dollars stretch, which often allow him to buy a used car….. and sometimes even a new car.

In a nutshell, the respectable pauper is virtually self-sufficient, and finds honest but unconventional ways to live comfortably under the established poverty level, whereas the disrespectable pauper is reliant on taxpayer contributions for his/her livelihood.

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