The idea that someone should not stay on benefits; that they should put something into the system in order to get something out of the system is unjust given the current state of affairs.
To make this point more clearly I will attempt to delineate a state of affairs in which it would be just – or fair – to not allow people to stay on benefits.
Imagine a world where there are a number of societies that run on a model similar to ours. They each have a system in place whereby people work when they can, pay a percentage of their income into a common fund so that when they are unable to work due to physical ailments or scarcity of work they will be looked after until they die or work becomes available.
In a sense you could call what these people in these societies are doing a game. The rules of which are you work for money when you can and get rewarded by being cared for when you can’t.
Now say an individual doesn’t want to play that game. In a world where he can go off and live how he wants, in a world where he CAN do that, it would be unfair of him to stay in one of those societies and live off their benefit scheme.
Just as it would be unfair for him to be a parasite upon these societies it would be equally – actually I would argue more so – unfair for those societies to force him to stay in them. This would be slavery and most people don’t want such a state of affairs. It is actually the state of affairs we are in. Most people do not realize it but in all but name we are slaves.
Our society is one from which there is no escape. We don’t chose to be born in the country we are born in and if we could easily move geographical location (which we can’t!) it wouldn’t make any difference because everywhere is playing the same game. The game players like a virus have covered the entire planet and there is no escape from them.
Given such a state of affairs as we now have it is only fair that the people that play the game give the people that don’t want to play the game an opt out. It would be best if the people that don’t want to play could go off and eke a living off the land however they see fit and live or die doing so. But the game players – that is our world society – doesn’t allow that.
To stop our society from being deeply and fundamentally a slave pen it’s only fair that we allow those who don’t want to play to not play. That is – or rather should be – the function of benefits.
Some may say “Oh but if we allow that then no-one will play. The system will break!” Good let it break!