Monday, October 04, 2010

There's a story about a rural homeowner whose house burned to the ground after the (semi-local) firefighters stood by and did nothing, a result of the homeowner not having paid a $75 fee that would have entitled him to coverage.

It's amusing - and depressing - to see any number of supposed conservatives argue that the firefighters should have gone ahead and put out the fire anyway. Or that the firefighters should have offered some arrangement to the homeowners who was, at that moment, very much regretting his move to save $75. Or that the fees shouldn't have been voluntary, that the county should have forced everybody to pay taxes to cover the costs of a fire department.


One of the things that defines the 'non'-nanny state is a willingness to let people enter into arrangements they feel meet their needs... and to let those people enjoy the benefits when their decisions work out... and to let them suffer the consequences when their choices don't work out.

Which means we let people go without coverage... and if things work out and they don't suffer a loss, then great for them, they gain by the amount of money they've saved. But if they decide to spend their money elsewhere, we do not come to their rescue and save them from what some would refer to as 'their own stupidity'.

Yes, sometimes people act in ways that turn out to be $75 wise and thousands of dollar foolish. But the alternative is to have our wisdom trump theirs.... and as I don't want to have my choices limited by some self-selecting elite, I recognize it is only fair that I not try and force them to accept my decision. I want to be free to succeed or fail based on what I do... and I can't deny others the right to do for themselves what I want for me.

So the guy's house burns down. His choices, his consequences. No lost sleep here.