One exciting feature of America's tradition of federalism and local control is the ability to observe how different c0mmunities experiment with the provision of public services. For example, the town of South Fulton, Tennessee has absolved its rural neighbors of the oppressive yoke of government-mandated fire protection.
In the interests of freedom and fiscal responsibility, residents receive fire coverage upon payment of a $75 annual fee. Those who don't have the foresight to pay had better pull some water hoses from their bootstraps and get to sprayin'…
Firefighters stood by and watched a Tennessee house burn to the ground earlier this week because the homeowners didn't pay the annual subscription fee for fire service.
"You could look out my mom's trailer and see the trucks sitting at a distance," Vicky Bell, the homeowner, said…
It's the second time in two years firefighters in the area have watched a house burn because of unpaid fees. Last year, Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in a house fire, along with three dogs and a cat, because the fire fee wasn't paid.
The real victim here is the fire department. They had to drive all the way to the scene (in part, to make sure the property of subscription-paying neighbors was protected) just to watch a family's possessions burn to a crisp. Oh, you may think that's callous and idiotic, considering that the municipality could have authorized firefighters to fight the blaze and then charge the family for their services. But as NRO columnist Kevin Williamson explained the last time this happened, you just can't be too solicitous of these fire safety welfare queens…
…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.
Don't make him tell you again — letting their house burn down over a $75 fee is the only way we are going to teach these "jerks" a lesson.
Photo by Tony McDonough-Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Libertarian, National Review, Natural Disasters, Tennessee