Yesterday, I noted that it was only a matter of time before Republicans embraced the town of South Fulton, Tennessee after firefighters let a home burn because the owners hadn't paid into the voluntary fund for firefighting protection. I suggested that this was the future of America.
And it took all of one day for those Republicans to start moving this idea into national policy.
And, for their trouble, the South Fulton fire department is being treated as though it has done something wrong, rather than having gone out of its way to make services available to people who did not have them before. The world is full of jerks, freeloaders, and ingrates — and the problems they create for themselves are their own. These free-riders have no more right to South Fulton’s firefighting services than people in Muleshoe, Texas, have to those of NYPD detectives.Jonah Goldberg:
Here’s the more important part of the story, letting the house burn — while, I admit sad — will probably save more houses over the long haul. I know that if I opted out of the program before, I would be more likely to opt-in now. No solace to the homeowner, but an important lesson for compassionate conservatives like our own Dan Foster (Zing!). As Edmund Burke said, example is the school of mankind and he will learn from no other.
And of course, Derbyshire:
I am entirely with the South Fulton fire department here. In the terms of Nico Colchester’s great 1996 essay, they are being crunchy rather than soggy:
Crunchy systems are those in which small changes have big effects leaving those affected by them in no doubt whether they are up or down, rich or broke, winning or losing, dead or alive. … Sogginess is comfortable uncertainty. … The richer a society becomes, the soggier its systems get. Light-switches no longer turn on or off: they dim.
One of the duties of conservatives in this soggy fallen world is to stand up for crunchiness. For the fire department to have extinguished the Cranicks’ fire would have been soggy, even aside from the considerable degree of sogginess it would have left on the property.
How long does it take before the Tea Parties take up this mantra? And then how long before Gingrich endorses it? Friday?