Whatever the state controls can be arbitrarily changed at a moment’s notice with nothing more than a stroke of a pen and enough men in suits saying “Aye!” A counterargument to anarchism is that the state is necessary to help those in need. The argument is bullshit. Under a state assistance of those in need, as with everything else, is entirely controlled by the state. Over time this usually results in the state claiming a monopoly, or near monopoly, on providing welfare. At that point welfare becomes unpredictable because the rules can change at any moment. Missouri is experiencing one of these attempted arbitrary rule changes now as several politicians try to restrict what type of foodstuff food stamp recipients can buy:
That story fit a longtime conservative suspicion that poor people use food stamps to purchase luxury items. Now, a Republican state lawmaker in Missouri is pushing for legislation that would stop people like Greenslate and severely limit what food stamp recipients can buy. The bill being proposed would ban the purchase with food stamps of “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood or steak.”
“The intention of the bill is to get the food stamp program back to its original intent, which is nutrition assistance,” said Rick Brattin, the representative who is sponsoring the proposed legislation.
As the article points out the lawmakers may have a claim if they stopped at cookies, chips, energy drinks, and soft drinks. But seafood and steak are broad categories that encompass many nutritional foods. There are a lot of cheap seafood and steak options, especially when they’re on sale. Of course none of these politicians have an educational background in nutrition so whatever rules they make are, as always, arbitrary.
I know a lot of people are cheering this as a good idea. Most of those people would probably be happy if government food assistance only allowed enrollees to buy Soylent. They see people on government assistance as moochers who are stealing valuable tax dollars. It’s a misguided viewpoint. Their anger should be directed at the state as it is the entity that, through approximately a century of regulatory bullshit, transferred welfare from voluntary mutual aid groups to itself. Were welfare still in the hands of mutual aid groups those who didn’t want to participate wouldn’t have to and welfare would again be of a far higher quality.
In addition to that I also believe their anger is misguided because it assumes that those tax dollars would be put to better uses. Every dollar that gets put into welfare is a dollar that isn’t being put into buying more bombs, building better surveillance systems, or providing the police with even heavier armaments. As far as I’m concerned food assistance recipients should be allowed to buy caviar if they want it. Anything that pulls resources away from the state’s enforcement arms is good in my book.