house burn to the ground, even as Mr. Cranick begged for help and offered to pay the fee on the spot.
Conservative pundits (like Glenn Beck) seem to have no trouble defending this practice. They cannot bring themselves to admit that the much simpler expedient of taxing county residents for fire protection services would be more efficient, more productive, and more humane. Apparently it is more important to stick to their anti-tax principles and insist that the Cranick family be punished for their negligence, than it is to prevent their house from burning down.
These new zealots of free market orthodoxy sound like Ptolomyic astronomers trying to explain the convoluted movement of the planets within a system in which the sun revolves around the earth, because they are unwilling to acknowledge the much simpler explanation that in fact the earth revolves around the sun. You want to shake them up and say, did you not see that family's house burn down? How can you justify a system that allows that kind of waste, which could easily have been prevented by a small tax levy sufficient to fund adequate services for the entire county? (not to mention that adding a sufficient amount for fire protection to residents' tax bills is a lot more efficient than soliciting voluntary contributions for those services, and keeping track of who paid and whose houses should be allowed to burn down)
It's one thing to oppose expanding health care coverage to everyone, or enacting new financial regulations. I understand that some people do not want to create new government programs. But the current leaders of the backlash go further than that. To be consistent, they feel the need to question well-established public protections such as Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, and even unemployment insurance, the income tax and public education. Fine, you want to oppose all those popular programs, just own up to it when you talk to voters. But the fire department? Is it necessary to extend anti-tax, anti-government rhetoric so far as to preclude an institution as apple pie as the fire department from doing its job of putting out fires? Is that really the kind of country we want to live in?