Legendary freeloader

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A legendary freeloader is a real or hypothetical individual or group who will in theory take advantage of any rule that is too liberal. Belief in their ubiquity is often used to rage farm support for draconian laws.

Fear of (or anger against) legendary fearloaders is often coupled with belief in a Shirley exception, i.e. that "surely this law will not be imposed in legitimate cases!" and therefore draconian laws are a good way to solve the freeloader "problem" because they will not be imposed unfairly.

It appears to be related to authoritarianism, especially with regard to the perceived need to have someone to look down on so that the speaker doesn't feel like they are one of the "losers".


  • Welfare queens are a prime example of heavy political exploitation of an essentially fictitious legendary freeloader.
  • "I don't want my taxes paying for someone else's healthcare!" is an example of the legendary freeloader being used against universal healthcare.
  • Voter fraud is arguably a legendary freeloader problem, since:
    • There are so few actual instances of it.
    • Most of those instances are committed by people of the same ideology as those complaining about it.
    • Most of the ire against it is directed against groups who are typically framed by that same ideology as "freeloaders" or otherwise not legitimate members of society.