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The Righteous Right

In my early adulthood, I used to think of myself as a right-winger. Then I read an article from National Geographic about a small city in southwestern United States. The primary industry of this city was a retirement community for wealthy Americans. It was their influx of cash that kept this city thriving.

An interesting civic battle was brewing: the schools were underfunded. The only way, it seemed, to better this situation would be to increase property taxes. But the wealthy retired people adamantly protested this move because higher property taxes would not only cut into their hard-earned savings, their property values would decrease a little bit to reflect the extra cost of keeping a house in this city. There was no give in their position.

I thought: “Don’t these people understand that they need working families to keep their city going?” Without younger people in this town, there would be no one to run the water treatment plant, the clinics and hospital, the grocery stores, and gasoline stations. And many of these younger people have children and ensuring their children get a decent education is part of their motivation to stay in this city.

The righteous right could not see this logic at all. Instead, they retorted that they had paid a lot of taxes in their life to educate their children, so why should they pay taxes to educate other people’s children?

The righteous right see taxes as an obvious sign of an excessive and intrusive government. Occasionally a government agency does something foolish with taxpayers’ money, and the righteous right quickly claim it is just an example of how government spends most of its money. They conveniently ignore that even most wise of individuals or the most successful of businesses sometimes make bad calls with their own money.

The righteous right like to claim that the only reason for their wealth was their hard work and wise decisions. Government institutions had nothing to do with their success. The police force, criminal courts, and prisons really don’t deter anarchistic citizens and corporations from just seizing the assets of the righteous right. Various social programs really don’t dissuade poorer citizens from a life of petty crime. Roads really don’t have any importance for the righteous right to enjoy the fruits of their labors. And many of the righteous right come from middle-class backgrounds, whose parents could not have afforded to send them to private primary school—if a past generation of righteous right had not wanted to pay its taxes.

The righteous right should prove that they are so right about the evils of taxation by going to a country where there are little taxes to be paid. I suggest Somalia. Let’s see how far the righteous right can take their work ethic and intellect to make a nice retirement fund in this country.

After reading that National Geographic article, I could no longer claim to be a right-winger. I understood that there will always be a need for government intervention in the economy and social order in order to not only maintain, but improve, a strong civil society.

The righteous right and looney left have one thing in common. Neither of them are capable of putting the pieces together to really figure out what it takes to build a civil society that allows citizens to live fairly with each other. Each side has an arrogant vision of an untenable society.

Published on Writerbeat 2017

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The Looney Left