‘There’s a quote that’s been attributed to multiple sources that goes something like, “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.” Simply put, we are no longer a civilized society if we are willing to let peoples’ lives literally burn to the ground over $75. Welcome to the Thunderdome’.
Miss M Mayweather, commenting on the story linked above.

Think Progress has a good take on this from the political perspective. This is what conservative libertarian governance run amok looks like; a family watching their home burn down because they didn’t pay the firemen a $75 fee. To be clear, I am not blaming firefighters for that situation. I love firefighters; my baby brother is one and even if he weren’t I still really would like this guy right here to have an accident with matches. Mr Constantine Xinos is a wealthy man who once said he ‘didn’t want poor people living near him’, pays no property taxes to his elite suburb, and still is trying to chisel his local firefighters out of a decent salary. He called firefighters ‘street people’. This breathing Dickensian caricature would be hilarious if he wasn’t messing around with people’s lives, and not just those of the firefighters.

I had a friend who was a captain in a local fire department who died several years ago of a rare and fierce cancer that was most likely caused by some toxin he encountered while fighting a blaze; he told me that every line of the fire code is there because somebody died. Public firefighting and emergency services are an essential part of the infrastructure of modern civilization; without them, entire cities could burn to the ground. I have seen the dedication and stress the career requires firsthand in my own family up close and it is more than impressive, it is humbling. The heroes of 9/11 were the firefighters and first responders who died doing their duty; time and again, these public servants have proven to be the best of what America can be.

It occurs to the Furious Buddha that most of the previous paragraph should be too obvious to require being stated, but as the New World Men are setting about undoing the modern world, it appears a return to basic principles is going to be required until we bring everyone back up to speed. The Tea Partiers are like drunks who have woken up in the back seat and are grabbing for the steering wheel.

One last thought before I trundle off; isn’t it astonishing how people in the buckle of the Bible belt are treated exactly the way Jesus would have treated them?

12 Responses to “Taxes=Civilization”

  1. You need to expand on that last bit…

  2. I cannot even conceive of letting a house continue to burn because of a measly $75. How vindictive and petty?!

    Winston, you are exactly right. It seems as though these far right Christians have traded in the Gospel and Kingdom of God for a world of hate and self-righteousness.

    And to top it off, these poor people have been so beaten and brainwashed that they blame themselves. This is so depressing.

    • Mark your comment is so absurd that I am honestly fighting the notion that you’re a troll, or that you’re making a bad attempt at sarcastic humor. If memory serves me correctly the column made no mention to religious -or- political affiliation, it also mentioned that they were blaming the ones in charge, not themselves. Is it satisfying to play make believe with everything you read and draw outrageous conclusions based on what you affirm? If religion had played any factor whatsoever in this equation the house would still be standing.

  3. Kenny and Mark-
    I will expand on the last bit as soon as I get a chance as I agree that the spiritual implications of these sorts of things is profoundly troubling.

  4. We have in the Air Force what we call a ‘Knock it off’ card. You pull the card, or say the words if you don’t have one, and everyone regardless of rank/position has to stop, so whatever is going on can get talked about. Group think is a very, very, dangerous thing and when you get a group of people wrapped up in something it’s beneficial to take a time out and think about what’s really going on. Perhaps something like that would have been of use here.

    I don’t know the full story, I wasn’t there. I don’t know what these firefighters were threatened with, but I know me personally would not be able to stand and watch. It takes alot of guts to stand up for what is right, and even more to take action, but it gets easier and easier every time you do it.

  5. This story made me sick. I think that the family, the neighbors, and the firefighters who had to watch were all placed in impossible situations. I also think that those individuals in our country who want to “get the government out of our lives” should pause for a second and think about the larger implications of this situation.

    I pay taxes willingly because I like to think that at least some of that money goes to help the people who need it. I don’t think about calling the EMTs or the fire department or the police, but I’m damned glad that I can if I need to do so. If everyone starts to believe this crap about me first–as in why should I pay for someone else’s health problems, or jobless problems? It doesn’t affect me–then we have truly devolved as a society.

    • I don’t think it’s so much “Me-first” or unwillingness to pay taxes or supporting properly monitored and maintained social programs, as it is simply wanting some clarity and responsibility on the allocation of the taxes we are paying, and a covenant between taxer and taxee that future taxes will be authorized only when absolutely necessary, not to put another bandaid on a gushing wound reeking of the infection of fiscal irresponsibility and corruption.

  6. Honestly though trying to make the point “This is what conservative libertarian governance run amok looks like” sounds an awful lot like “If Obamacare goes through your grandparents are toast”. Trying to turn this Tennessee fiasco into some microcosmic view of conservative political theory or the degradation of the traditional religious structure is absurd.

    • I agree that this particular situation is not a true reflection of a political party’s platform. That is why I merely said pause a second . . . Individuals (from any party) who clamor for the government to get out of our backyards need to remember all of the government run (local, state, federal) programs that are an everyday part of our lives, like the ambulance that picked up my mother the other night.

      Again, it was an impossible situation for those caught in the midst, and I cannot imagine being one of the firefighters who had to go home that night and think about being sidelined. It goes against everything for which they are trained and for which they dedicate so much of themselves.

  7. I’m sorry I’ve let this linger. I’m in the middle of a painting but I’ll have a post tomorrow. I’m getting oil all over the keyboard just doing this…

  8. It was a good topic for conversation, I feel I was a little more outspoken than anyone else. You wrapped religion and politics into one post, obviously it was going to inspire someone to speak. Looking forward to seeing some more art work.

  9. […] Smoke from Fog The conflations were sloppy while the assumptions were obvious, and several broad swipes were made w…. That prominent conservative pundits at NRO started spinning a position in opposition to mine at […]

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