“I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.”
–Oliver Wendell Holmes
Holmes’ view is not very popular today, but the reality is that a modern society cannot exist without a well-funded government. Nobody likes taxes, and we all believe we deserve the full fruits of our labor, but it is a common human foible to attribute all of the credit of our own labor to ourselves and not to the help of many others.
A business — big, small, or otherwise — could not possibly exist without the infrastructure of government — not merely the roads paved by our common funds, but the police who ensure public safety, the courts that ensure the enforcement of contracts, the regulations that instill public confidence in the business’s goods.
We are not a socialist collective, and we should not be. But Massachusetts is a Commonwealth, and I take that appellation seriously. As our on Constitution states in Article X:
Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this protection; to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary: but no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people.
Consent is, of course, key (we being of the tea-dumping crowd, after all), but the point here is that in pledging to support a Commonwealth, we accomplish what we cannot alone.
For those who live in Boston or Cambridge, walk over to the historic Longfellow Bridge sometime and take a good, hard look at the crumbling concrete and rusting steel. We have been starving our government for decades on the false belief that government is “wasteful” and that, magically, we can get MORE by giving LESS. This is the kind of wishful thinking that took us to to the very pinnacle of Wall Street illusion.
We’re all responsible to contribute to the costs of civilization. We’ll all pay the price if we don’t.
Yes on Three
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated
— Mahatma Gandhi
I leave it to my friend Matthew Pearl to express the importance of voting Yes on Three. You may notice a seemingly active debate in the comments that follow. If you look closely, though, you’ll find that there are only two handles, “SaveTheDogs” and “GreyhoundTrainer”, going at it. Follow their links and you’ll get a good, strong whiff of Astroturf. Like this fake blog with “BS” all over it.
The racetracks’ and casinos’ PR firms must be pretty worked up about this initiative to throw so many hooligans at the problem. Don’t believe a word.