Spouse watches Fox News. I don’t try to explain it or excuse it; he just does. Anyway, the blogs and Fox are jumping with the story of a house or mobile home that burned down in Tennessee. A fire truck and crew sat a short distance away watching the structure burn but did not intervene, because the home-owners had not paid the $75 annual subscription fee for fire services and they live outside the city limits.
The owners of the building went back into it in order to try to retrieve some of their belongings. The authorities assured the public that if the firefighters had thought that anyone was in danger, they would have attempted to rescue them. They just don’t save property if you haven’t paid your membership fee. They can’t afford to.
A show Spouse thinks is called “The Fabulous Five” had this as a topic, and the Fox pundits were incensed that those firefighters didn’t rush in and save the structure. He quoted them as saying things like, “Couldn’t they put out the fire and then collect the $75?”
Typically, Fox blamed the firefighters instead of the municipality or even the state of Tennessee, which I guess does not collect taxes and provide fire-safety services. Even more baffling, to me, is their reaction at all. This is “small government” Fox. They should be thrilled. Here is small government in action. Hurray! Not only that, it is looking forward, striding bravely into the nineteenth century, when city-dwellers posted the medallions of their private fire companies on their walls, so that their houses would be saved in the event of a conflagration. Live in a tenement and can’t afford the cost of a fire company? Better be careful with your candles and your coal fire, then.
As a taxpayer and a homeowner in California, I pay taxes and I expect fire protection. And I get it. Even though we live at the edge of a rural area and many of the firefighters are volunteers, they are well trained,have excellent equipment, and a network of mutual aid contracts. (Mutual aid, apparently a socialist idea Tennessee does not embrace.)There are streets in my county that have designated themselves somehow “privately maintained roads” but to my knowledge they still pay parcel taxes and still have fire protection.
Of course, California is teetering on bankruptcy. Maybe Tennessee is right and only people who live in the city or are wealthy enough to pay an annual membership fee “deserve” fire-protection. For that matter, why do we have to pay taxes for water treatment? Can’t we all buy bottled water? Or those of us with money could pay “memberships” in water treatment plants and we could have clean water. Those slackers who just mow our lawns and watch our kids, pave our roads, mix our coffee drinks, nurse us back to health, teach us and sell us our clothes would just have to take their chances. Instead of paying for everybody, even those dratted poor people, to get water, why don’t we just drill some holes and put some standpipes in the town square. That’d work, right?
And don’t even get me started on education! How dare all those people think they have a right to learn! Don’t they understand the meaning of privilege? Well, if they don’t, they can go look it up.
Fox’s “Fab Five” or whatever they are lack the courage of their own convictions. A family’s house burning to the ground is the logical consequence of a government “so small you could drown it in a bathtub.” Grumbling? Complaining? Acting shocked? You should be celebrating! This is the Fox’s vision of America. Rejoice in it, Fox pundits. Sip expensive wine and toast some marshmallows in its lambent glow.