Socialism leading to tyranny? That was just an unfortunate series of coincidences

We’re now instructed there are some functions which just have to be funded by government taxes — there’s simply no other way to do it.

Courts, police, fire departments, ambulances …

Well now, wait a minute. When I was a kid, growing up in a small Connecticut town of about 2,000 souls, my folks sent in $25 a year to belong to the volunteer ambulance association.

This wasn’t a tax — it’s still not, today, though the recommended membership donation at the Roy Pettengill Memorial Ambulance Association has grown to $100, which tells you something about inflation.

If you or someone visiting your property got injured and needed to call the ambulance, they would come whether you were a member of the association or not. Those who were members received the service essentially for free. (Today, times having changed in tax-happy Connecticut, Mom reports your health insurance company gets a bill for part of the cost of the service, even if you’re a member, and that the tax-funded town budget contributes something to ambulance maintenance.)

But back when I was a kid, if you hadn’t ponied up your annual membership fee — which was entirely voluntary — the ambulance would still come when you called, but subsequently you’d receive a bill for the ENTIRE cost of your ambulance run, plus (I presume) some share of that month’s overhead and maintenance.

That could be a big bill. Mind you, you remained free to “go naked,” pay nothing and hope you never needed the service. But I believe anyone who ever got one of those “bills in full” soon saw the wisdom of voluntarily kicking in an annual $25 membership fee.

Fire departments can and have worked through voluntary subscriptions, too. In a world essentially without mandatory taxes, where we’d all have twice our current take-home pay, I don’t see why even courts couldn’t work by voluntary subscription. If you had need of recourse to the courts and your membership was paid up, fine. If you weren’t paid up and you lost your case, you’d owe the whole cost. Criminal defendants who had declined to maintain current membership, if convicted, would have their court costs added to their fine. Court costs in the case of criminal acquittals could be born by those who brought the charges. Overall use of the courts would fall, speeding up calendars enormously. “Planning ahead,” frugality, and avoiding a life of crime would again tend to be rewarded.

(Don’t like my scheme? Assuming you were barred from seizing anyone’s wealth against their will — “taxation” will someday be held in the same regard as other forms of slavery — suggest a better one.)

Everyone knows private schools do a better job than government schools — religious schools even do a better job for less money. If everyone got back the thousands of dollars per year we all now pay in school taxes, do you really think no one would set up a good, affordable, private school near you? Private grocery distribution seems to be working out OK.

“No other way to do it”? Some will find it impossibly quaint to propose we might go back to doing some of these things the way our folks did them in small-town America 50 or 100 years ago. But why? Because we find our current reality more pleasant and charming? What else should we give up because it’s now more than 50 years old? The Bill of Rights?

A RIGHT TO FOOD?

Today, the socialists have taught most Americans to expect that a lot of things — government schools, government fire and police protection — are and should be “free.”

They’re not. Everything has to be paid for.

Is free health care “a right”? You can’t have a right that imposes an obligation on anyone else. (Jury service is slightly problematic, though since jury service can be — ought to be — voluntary, that needn’t be a problem.)

If I have a right to medical care, do I have a right to put a gun to the head of a doctor and threaten to shoot him if he won’t treat me? Is it moral for some third party do this for me?

The socialists try to duck this question by saying, “Of course that would never happen.” They just put the doctor in a position where their surrogates, the government regulators, will put him out of business if he refuses to treat us for whatever pittance the government decides he should be paid. Tie a pretty ribbon around it.

Since no one should starve — any more than they should die of lack of treatment for an illness or injury — doesn’t it follow that food is also “a right”? If so, then as long as I can claim hunger, shouldn’t I have the right to break into my neighbor’s house, hold a gun to her head, and make her give me half the food in her refrigerator? Or hire some third party in a government uniform to do this for me?

Why not? What’s the difference?

Again, the socialists mean “Yes,” but lie to themselves as well as us, insisting “That would never happen. We’ll just send the rich neighbor a tax bill, and use the proceeds of their ‘voluntary’ tax payments to provide food stamps for the hungry poor.”

“And if he refuses to pay his taxes?”

“Well, everyone has to pay their taxes. The non-compliant person who owes taxes will be sent many notices; they have many chances to have it explained to them why they must pay.”

“But if they don’t pay, men with guns will eventually go to their home and evict them? And if they resist they might be burned out or shot?”

“Oh, that hardly ever happens. Why do you insist on coming up with these extreme hypotheticals? It’s not at all like telling a poor people they can take a gun and steal the food they want at gunpoint.”

No. It’s all washed up and sanitized, allowing us to pretend there’s no coercion involved.

The underlying urge of the socialists is understandable, and inherently decent — so long as no one has to confront the real-world coercion it requires.

They keep insisting socialism was never MEANT to produce the death camps of the Nazis (“National Socialists”) or the mass starvation and slave camps of Stalin. They can’t understand why things ever went so far. Just bad executive recruitment, apparently. That stuff would never happen here, where everyone will HAPPILY pay their taxes and comply with whatever rules they think up “for the good of everyone.”

A rich guy has more money than he needs, and proposes to spend $10,000 on cosmetic surgery he could easily live without. Across town we have a poor woman, a cripple (sorry: a “differently abled person”) who could walk again if only that $10,000 were spent on HER surgery instead.

Obviously a wise and compassionate society would “encourage” the rich guy to forgo his elective cosmetic surgery, and instead “contribute” the $10,000 toward medical care for the poor woman, whose life would be improved SO much more if the allocation were shifted to benefit her instead of him.

But the darned greedy rich guy just won’t go along with our plan, saying he’s chosen to donate to other charities, and has other plans for his wealth, like building some crummy factory that could supposedly “create some jobs.” (Why, they’re not even “green” jobs!) So of course we have to TAX his $10,000 away from him in order to make a better use of it. He can afford it!

He then turns around and declares he won’t pay any more taxes; he won’t show any income on his tax returns from here on in, he’ll just quit work and live off his investments.

Well, we can’t allow our wise and beneficent plan to be stymied by that kind of greedy hoarding and tax evasion, so we also tax the interest and dividends from his investments — investments he made with AFTER-TAX dollars.

He tries to evade us again, by moving to Switzerland with all his money. Hold on there, bub. Can’t have that. You’re going to have to pay an “exit tax” … and forfeit any assets you failed to “declare” … assuming we let you leave at all. Gotta pay your fair share. Plan won’t work if we allow folks to hoard scarce resources, to step out of line, to bribe doctors with cash payments. …

SHOULDN’T THE LUCKY BE MADE TO PAY?

But these wide-eyed “reformers” just can’t IMAGINE how Lenin’s well-meaning socialism ever transformed into Stalin’s massive slave camp, with people shot if they tried to escape over the barbed-wire in the snow. It was all just a matter of bad personnel decisions, you see.

After all, it’s only a few, recalcitrant, greedy troglodytes who REFUSE TO COMPLY. It’s all set up with the BEST OF INTENTIONS to allow us to ration scarce health care to benefit the poor woman who needs it most, instead of being spent on the whims of the rich guy who “just happens” to have enough money to buy whatever he wants.

Is that FAIR? How can it be FAIR to allow one person to grow rich enough to buy whatever he wants for himself and his family, while the unlucky poor person does without? It’s not the unlucky poor person’s fault she was brought up in a fatherless welfare home, went to worthless government schools, bore children out of wedlock, went on welfare, lived in a crime-ridden project built by the government, raised young hoodlums without any male adult guidance, got into drugs …

How could any of that be called her “fault”? Have you no compassion? Can’t you see the NEED to seize away the wealth from those who were simply lucky enough to land and hold jobs, to start businesses, to slave 70 hours a week creating new jobs for others while delaying gratification of many of their wants in order to save for their family’s rainy days?

Why on earth should we assume that if we keep punishing hard work and frugality and savings, seizing money from the ever smaller number of folks who exhibit those behaviors in order to hand it to those who keep blowing their welfare checks, this will somehow discourage hard work and savings and investment, while encouraging spend-it-now profligacy, with hands out for another check come Monday?

People who suggest that just aren’t being very nice.

2 Comments to “Socialism leading to tyranny? That was just an unfortunate series of coincidences”

  1. John Brook Says:

    In Western Michigan, where we grew up, they still have private ambulance services competing with each other. No tax payer dollars, like we have here in on the Left Coast (Washington), coupled with better, faster, and significantly lower-cost service.

    Of course, 911 was the camel’s nose under the tent. I’d still like to be able to call the police directly if I need them, but it’s no longer possible. Ditto fire or any other emergency service. Why do we have 911? Because the do-gooder, bleeding heart liberal just couldn’t stand to have the inept suffer for their ineptness. Thus, they will never be motivated to prepare for their own future, in small ways or in larger ways.

  2. Eric C. Sanders Says:

    No appeal to private schools is needed to show the lack of a need for “public schooling”: home-schooled children regularly score at or near the top of the scale in standard tests!

    In another part of the forest: much of health care in the United States is paid by health insurance companies; fine, let them take over the hospitals. Then let the liability insurance providers take over the courts and the investigation side of police work… of course, any laws making it impossible to get insurance unless one belongs to some “group” would need to be eliminated. Note I’m not saying every insurance company would be required by law to accept everyone – I’m saying any insurance company that wanted to accept anyone shouldn’t be penalized artificially for doing so.

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