Since there is no such thing as the right of some men to vote away the rights of others, and no such thing as the right of the government to seize the property of some men for the unearned benefit of others — the advocates and supporters of the welfare state are morally guilty of robbing their opponents, and the fact that the robbery is legalized makes it morally worse, not better. The victims do not have to add self-inflicted martyrdom to the injury done to them by others; they do not have to let the looters profit doubly, by letting them distribute the money exclusively to the parasites who clamored for it. Whenever the welfare-state laws offer them some small restitution, the victims should take it.
In addition to the setting’s vagueness making Anthem a sort of every-place warning, it also distances Rand from Soviet Russia in meaningful ways. Though details of the story unquestionably refer to the conditions in Russia under Lenin and Stalin, Rand is careful not to make Anthem explicitly about Russia because she wants to be clear that the evil of collectivism is not related only to the corruption of particular leaders and their henchmen. In this way, she answers the criticism of those who believe that Communism failed in Russia only because of specific historical conditions such as the cruelty of Stalin. Thus, the vagueness of the setting results in a deeper criticism of socialism than Rand could have achieved by making the story a concrete critique of a specific example of communism.