Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Meaning of Government

A common complaint among people who resent taxation is that the government is "stealing" their money.  I wondered whether they would consider these people thieves:

  • The members of the armed forces who risk their lives for us
  • The police who protect our neighborhoods
  • The firemen who literally have a pole next to their bed they can slide down to get to us faster
  • The teachers who take all the kids in our neighborhood and help them to become intelligent and skilled citizens
  • The highway workers who fix the holes in the roads we drive on
  • The bus drivers who are there in case we don't feel like driving
  • The inspectors that make sure our hamburger meat isn't tainted
  • The geologists who monitor our volcanoes in case they feel like blowing 
  • The lifeguards at our beaches
  • The park rangers who protect our natural parks
  • The judges that make sure we get a fair trial
  • The public defendants that we are given by right
  • The postal workers who brings mail to our door
  • The librarians that make sure our neighbors stay well-informed
  • The doctors in subsidized emergency rooms that will take us no matter what
In the words of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.:
"I like to pay taxes.  With them I buy civilization."

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