By Bradley Harrington
“The right of property is the guardian of every other right, and to deprive a people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their liberty.” — Arthur Lee, “An Appeal to the Justice and Interests of the People of Great Britain,” 1775 —
A long, long time ago on a planet far, far away, there once was a kingdom where people were hungry.
Not everybody was hungry, not even most, but a few people were — and this distressed the King, who wanted all his people fed, and the King surmised this was not happening due to the greed of those who had things when it came to the needs of those who had not.
So the King decreed that extensive food markets were to be erected, in order to provide food to those who could not or would not provide it for themselves.
The King further pronounced that to support these food markets financially, all subjects within the realm were to pay a King’s tax to in order to fund them.
So, hungry people could now eat — and at well-below-market-rates, a small fraction of what it actually cost to feed them, in order to ensure the hungriness would go away. Real costs that were again borne by subjects who had the money to be taxed.
Issues of constantly recurring expenses kept cropping up, however, as the buildings aged and required upkeep — plus, in a few of the districts experiencing population growth, additions to the existing food market structures were becoming necessary as well. And all of that cost plenty of money, too, so the King found it necessary to decree more taxes on his subjects.
But rumbles of discontent were beginning to be heard throughout the land, so the King came up with a very shrewd plan: He packaged the additional taxes as voting propositions on owned property, and let his subjects decide how much they wanted to be taxed.
That way, the King figured he’d still hit jackpot at least half of the time, and the new method made it look as though everybody actually had a “voice” in their political affairs. It also gave the King the moral and political leverage to push forth his plans in the face of any opposition, for all he had to do was mention the “starving subjects” and everyone else fell in line, fearful of being branded as advocates of hunger.
Still, even with his propaganda campaigns, the King found it necessary, several times, to physically seize the properties of those who refused to pay the tax.
And the rest of the kingdom? They shut their traps, paid the King’s taxes, and everybody lived happily ever after.
Here, in America, the supposed “land of the free,” most of us would laugh at such a fable, for we know that free-market production works much better for “feeding the people” than oppressive taxation … Don’t we? After all, don’t food markets of all shapes, sizes and varieties dot our lands, and not a one of them owned by a government?
And shouldn’t we here, in the alleged “home of the brave,” also have issues with the unstated assumption that our lives are to be held, through force, as in hock to the state — where our time, money and energies are doled out as bureaucrats and “authorities” see fit? No truly free man or woman would EVER accept such a flawed premise as a precondition for societal membership … Would they?
And if it’s wrong to coercively hold some people as responsible for the “welfare” of other people through state-subsidized food markets, wouldn’t that same reasoning apply to any other purpose as well? Isn’t it still the same fallacy?
Most of us can see these things clearly regarding food markets; when it comes to our schools, however, all such consistencies of thought leap out the nearest window.
So, regarding Tuesday’s special election on Laramie County Community College’s $30 million bond issue, I’d suggest blasting this boondoggle right out of the sky. I am not my brother’s keeper, nor does this tax hustle even remotely begin to address the true problem LCCC suffers under: Government ownership.
Were we really the free citizens of a so-called free nation, as we all like to claim we are, wouldn’t we have turned this entire state-run scam of “education” over to the private sector decades ago? Wouldn’t we have known that this would be the best way to improve service and reduce costs?
And, if we don’t, maybe it isn’t only our kids who need educating, but us parents as well.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on November 5, 2017.