A Tale of Two Letters

  • October 5, 2023

Two things came in the email the other day, each at odds with the other.

One was another bill for “services” I neither asked for nor use nor approve of, such as government schools and the “work” done by various government employees who can force me and others to pay them via the government, which sends me these bills every six months. They are styled property taxes and if I fail to pay what they say I “owe” then the government will seize my property – which for that reason obviously isn’t really. It is merely the house I thought I paid for – and which I am allowed to pretend I own. The one I am forced to pay rent styled property taxes to the government to be permitted to occupy – in exchange for the “services” I don’t use, never asked for and don’t approve of but which the government insists are “essential.” By which is meant those who control the machinery of government deem them to be essential. So much so that others – who don’t want them and don’t use them must be forced to pay for them.

The second thing that came in the mail was a request for money for a service I would like to pay for – because it might be useful to me – but which I cannot afford to pay for, having been forced to pay for “services” I do not want to pay for because they are of no value to me.

It was a letter from my local volunteer fire department. I italicize “volunteer” to emphasize the irony.

Here is a service I would happily pay for – because it is worth paying for. It is also what you might call an essential service and yet, it is not paid for by the exorbitant, endless property taxes I am told I “owe” to pay for such things as government schools and the army of government workers who perform no services of any value to me.

I italicize the latter to emphasize the point that any service is a subjective value – something that may be of value to you but of less or no value to others, who for that reason ought not to be forced to pay for them.

Take away the forcing and what you have are services paid for by those who do use and value them – and by no one else.

Isn’t that the way such things ought to be arranged?

It is the way other things are arranged. If you value the services of a plumber, you are free to contract with the plumber for his services at a price agreeable to both. You are not – yet – forced to pay for the services of a plumber for your neighbor, who values a remodeled bathroom and thinks you ought to be forced to help pay for it.

This is however exactly what happens when government decides what’s of value – and who’ll be paying for it. It is why people who not only don’t value government schools but consider them to be of negative value because they indoctrinate rather than educate and so produce  a new generation of people who cannot think – and who think it’s legitimate to force others to pay for what they value – are forced to (in Jefferson’s words) furnish money for the propagation of ideas (and values) they consider to be detestable.

It is also why people have less money available to pay for the things that are of value, to them. Such as the services of a volunteer fire department.

Ironically – and tragically – it is also why many people cannot afford to be charitable. Or less charitable than they otherwise would have been in a position to be. The result is a meaner society – in which self-preservation is the primary occupation, much the same as it is when a ship sinks and there are only so many lifeboats.

Instead of temporarily helping out the neighbor who is down on his luck, the neighbor is out-of-luck, because his neighbors have been forced to hand over so much money to pay for the salaries of government workers, leaving not much to help people who are actually down-on-their-luck.

Unlike the government workers, who are able to help themselves to as much of other people’s money as they believe they are entitled to. In italics to emphasize the insufferability of people who not only have the power to force other people to pay them but haughtily regard themselves and the “services” they provide as essential. It never occurs to such people to ponder the incongruity presented by the fact that they are obliged to force people to pay for their “services,” which – if they were regarded as essential by those who are forced to pay for them – wouldn’t require forcing people to pay for them.

Of course, most government workers are themselves the result of government services, such as the government’s schools – which propagate this business of forcing people to pay for services they do not want or use and even despise.

Leaving them less or even unable to pay for the needful services they would otherwise happily pay for, such as the local volunteer fire department.

. . .

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