Bill of Rights Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 435, September 16, 2007

"Electoral politics has failed."

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Wipe Your Own Ass, America
by Mike Blessing

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

Libertarian columnist and science-fiction author L. Neil Smith, publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise, has been proposing various Constitutional amendments for a few years now. Some of these amendments include—

The Official Secrets and Lies Amendment
The Zeroth Amendment
The Peace Amendment
The Privacy Amendment

The neat thing about the amendments that El Neil proposes is that none of them have to actually go through the full process of being added to the Constitution—getting two-thirds supermajorities in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, followed by ratification by three-fourths of the state legislatures—for them to have an effect upon the political discourse of the day. Each of them brings the nature of the State and its minions to the forefront.

A few years ago, Bill Koehler, my partner in offending the Greater Albuquerque area's anti-libertarians, proposed a slogan for us to use on the TV shows that we work on together—

"We're the party that wants you to wipe your own ass."

(Bill thinks that perhaps the LP could use some snob appeal, kind of like the U.S. Marine Corps' ad pitch—"The Few, The Proud, The Marines." I don't disagree—maybe something along the lines of "Do you have what it takes to be a libertarian?" might come in handy at times.)

My proposed amendment simply codifies the opposite of Bill's proposed slogan as a requirement for any individual seeking handouts from the American welfare state—

Any person seeking funds from the federal government, without offering to perform any kind of service or provide any kind of product in exchange for said funds, shall first be required to prove in a public hearing that the person is physically unable to wipe his (or her) own backside after the excretory process.

I invite any lawyers reading this to suggest other ways of wording the above text, so long as the sentiment I've expressed remains intact.

Now some might say, "You don't really want to have people go up on a stage during a public hearing and mime wiping their asses, do you?"

Of course, I do. If I didn't, I wouldn't be making this proposal in the first place, would I?

I'm thinking that this proposal could be implemented in a very easy and inexpensive way. All that you would really need is a standard, fixed four-legged chair, of the kind that adorns many government-building lobbies (to simulate the toilet), and a piece of cloth that's the same width as a piece of toilet paper, say about three or four feet long.

None of the prospective applicants would need to actually drop their pants, although I suspect that some of the "clients" and their advocates may actually drop said pants and leave a load on stage as a form of protest.

G.G. Allin would have been proud of their moment of fame, if he was still alive to see them.

I'm sure that some of the anti-libertarians out there will scream bloody murder over this modest proposal. Let them. They will be outraged that the applicants should be "forced" to shame themselves in order to receive "badly needed social services."

Last time I checked, the social-welfare agencies weren't grabbing people at gunpoint and dragging them into the office to sign up. Now there have been cases where the "child protective" agencies have filed charges of "child abuse" against poor parents who didn't sign up, but what about the rest of the applicants? It used to be a mark of shame to sign up for such programs—in some areas, it still is.

So the idea of potential applicants being shamed a bit before they get their handouts is perfectly fine with me. In fact, that's the idea—to shame those seeking "free" cash from others into seeking other sources of income. Any time someone starts offering "free" anything, the demand outstrips the supply, and the supply dwindles to nothing.

Usually in the private sector, this isn't a problem—when the supply runs out, that the end of it, and you tell the waiting customers "You snooze, you lose—better luck next time." But in the public sector, it's a whole different ball game.

When the supply runs out in the public sector, the "welfare rights" advocates go screaming to the legislature that unless spending for their favorite program is increased, people will freeze in the dark and be limited to eating from dumpsters. Politicians, wanting to appear "compassionate," support the increase. At the end of the fiscal year, the supply runs out (again!), and we go back to Step One.

Perhaps the politicians should read something by Frederic Bastiat—That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen comes to mind. (My personal favorite of Bastiat's works is The Law, but as El Neil says, "Aesthetics are arbitrary.")

Nahh, wouldn't work—the politicians couldn't care less.

So how about it, welfare applicants? Have a seat, grab the cloth and demonstrate that you're truly entitled to receive other peoples' hard-taxed Federal Reserve Notes.

Mike Blessing has been promoting libertarian positions and philosophy for ten years since moving to New Mexico in 1994, and is Executive Heretic for KCUF Media.
First published at


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