I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.


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.

Mutual Aid in Action

If something positive can be said about tragic situations it’s that people will often come together to help those in need. Several hospitals that worked on the victims of the Aurora, Colorado shooting have stated that they will limit or eliminate the medical bills:

Some of the victims fighting for their lives after being wounded in the movie theater shooting rampage may face another challenge when they get out of the hospital: enormous medical bills without the benefit of health insurance.

Members of the public, along with Warner Bros., the studio that released the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” have contributed nearly $2 million to help victims, though it’s not clear how much of that will cover medical expenses. One family is raising money on its own online.

And three of the five hospitals that treated victims said Wednesday they will limit or completely wipe out medical bills.

If a notable chunk of the $2 million donated by Warner Bros. goes to help pay the medical expenses for the victims of the shooting I’ll have to give them some major kudos as well. Either way the hospitals that are working to actively help out the victims of the shooting deserve recognition:

Children’s Hospital Colorado announced it would use donations and its charity care fund to cover the medical expenses of the uninsured. For those who do have insurance, the hospital says it will waive all co-pays.

“We are committed to supporting these families as they heal,” according to a statement from the hospital, which treated six shooting victims.

HealthOne, which owns the Medical Center of Aurora and Swedish Medical Center, also says it will limit or eliminate charges based on the individual circumstances of the patients. Those hospitals have treated 22 shooting victims. However, the company cautioned its policy may not apply to all doctors working in its hospitals.

This is what mutual aid is all about, voluntarily helping those in need. We don’t need a state to put a gun to our heads to coerce us into helping our neighbors. Humans, generally, actively want to help each other but are often prevented from doing so by the state (for example, many major cities actually ban individuals from feeding the homeless). If the state would get out of our way we could actually get to work making a better world.