A computer glitch with EBT cards made for a revealing social experiment last Sunday in at least two Louisiana Wal-Mart Supercenters. As spending limits of other people’s money temporarily disappeared from EBT accounts, Obama-phones sprang into action and the word spread at light speed. In two hours, shelves were cleared and food stamp recipients jammed the aisles with carts overflowing with bags of chips and cold pop.
Wal-Mart wanted to play good Samaritan and honor the unlimited food stamp cards: “We did make the decision to continue to accept EBT cards (and purchases on WIC and SNAP) during the outage so that they could get food for their families.”
And they did. Meat racks, including all steaks and seafood, were totally cleared, but one eyewitness video [warning: language] shows the produce section largely untouched. Just an observation.
When the glitch was fixed, spending limits reappeared, and checkers had to hold welfare shoppers accountable. An announcement was made over the loudspeaker. Shoppers immediately abandoned scores of bulging carts in mid-aisle and disappeared.
Police were called in during the frenzy. No arrests were made, though same cases may still be under investigation. One woman was temporarily detained once the limits reappeared. She was attempting to make off with $700.00 worth of food with only 49 cents left on her card. Wal-Mart agreed to let her walk if she would just leave the food.
One young gentleman who videoed the aftermath while howling and laughing was later interviewed. He was just thankful he and his didn’t have to take any responsibility for the mess: “I was just thinking, [O-M-G], I’m so glad my mom doesn’t work here anymore.” He had little problem with the phenomenon otherwise, reportedly calling it a “natural human reaction.”
But another eyewitness, Stan Garcia, got closer to the mark: “That’s plain theft. That’s stealing. That’s all I got to say about it.”
Mr. Garcia’s view reminds me of my own criticism of socialism in general, in the introduction to God vs. Socialism:
Socialism is the belief that individual private property is a bad idea. It is thus an anti-Christian and anti-biblical belief. Socialists believe that governments should own most or all property and distribute it out as government experts, scientists, politicians, or occasionally voters see fit. Under socialism, the State puts itself in the place of God and says, “The earth is the State’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” Under this view, the individual has no protection from his neighbor if his neighbor is in the majority, or if the State somehow deems his neighbor as needful in some way; the State simply uses force to take that individual’s property and give it to someone else. In this sense, the State moves landmarks every day. In this view, the State determines our rights, and gives us our freedoms; here there is no appeal beyond the State.
Socialism is the belief, therefore, that stealing is acceptable as long as another man or group of men says so. Socialism believes in theft by majority vote, or theft by a majority of representatives’ votes in Congress. Socialism is the belief that it’s OK to steal from your neighbor if you do it by means of the government’s gun. Socialism places man, and ultimately the State, in the place of God. Man becomes owned by other men, instead of by his Maker. Socialism is an entirely humanistic, God-denying, God-usurping belief.
Between these two beliefs—private property and socialism—there exists fundamental conflict. They represent contradictory views of sovereignty, man, law, society, and inheritance. They are fundamentally rival religious systems. Choosing one, you reject the other—service and honor to God, or servitude to fellow men. Either God commands and judges man, or man commands and judges man.
The glitch-fueled frenzy reveals in bold relief just how clearly socialistic welfare systems are merely regulated systems of theft. One computer glitch unleashes the corruption at the heart of the system.
The economist notes that when you subsidize something, you get more of it. When you create financial incentives without responsibility, you attract and breed irresponsibility. When you subsidize greed, envy, laziness, and entitlement, you breed more of these things. When you subsidize lack of morals, lack of restraint, lack of self-discipline, you get more of it.
And most importantly, when the redistribution of wealth, i.e. theft, is the nature of the system, you get more of it. When you subsidize thieves, you get more thieves.
And when society becomes filled with such thieves, they easily find representation in Congress. You get politicians fuming when denied another trillion dollars in debt. Negotiations must take place, churned by the full wheels of propaganda. Don’t you know these guys have votes to buy? Somebody’s got to pay for the Twinkies.
And when thievery becomes so legal and commonplace, thievery will be viewed as just one more “natural human reaction.”
And they want to speak of the full faith and credit of the United States? Don’t make me laugh.