Attack of the Village Voice
A blogger at the Village Voice who goes by the name ‘Roy Edroso’ (call me crazy but that name sounds contrived to me…) has called me out on my Obion County Fire post. First he lumps me in with other supposed ‘rightbloggers’ and then he says:
E.D. Kain at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen used what became a popular gambit, insisting that exultant libs couldn’t use this as a case of “libertarian policies gone bad” because the SFFD is a government agency — never mind that it was a government agency operating on libertarian principles.
Things would have been great, Kain suggests, if the government were kept out of the fire protection business altogether, and all such services went only to those who could pay the appropriate user fees. In fact, Kain’s colleague Mark Thompson said, unfortunate events like the Cranicks’ “would be extremely rare even in a world where all fire services were fee-based for the simple reason that no lender would ever provide a loan without a guarantee, funded by an escrow account, that the homeowner would pay for fire coverage, and no homeowners’ insurer would sign off on a policy without fire service unless it required the homeowner to pay a hugely inflated premium whose inflation would be in excess of the fire service fee.”
So there’s your solution — instead of an onerous government burden in the form of a (shudder) tax, we’d have an onerous insurance burden in the form of mandatory payments. Which is automatically better because the money would go to big insurance companies instead of the government, which might use it to pay for useless crap like roads and soup kitchens. (Plus this arrangement would make homeowning more difficult. Fewer houses means fewer fires. Everybody wins!)
Now it’s one thing to quote Mark and actually make an argument against what Mark was saying in his post – even if it is glib and rather, er, gosh what’s the liberal equivalent of ‘glibertarian’? But it’s quite another to imply that I was cosigning completely with what Mark and other libertarian writers were saying at the time of the fire. I wrote, after all, that I distrusted pay-to-spray systems for a number of reasons. I wrote that in an ideal world the libertarian solution might work, but that this is neither an ideal world, or a properly implemented system.
Nor does this supposed ‘Roy Edroso’ character bother to parse through any of the other arguments Mark laid out – namely that the fire department actually favored the tax, but that short of that tax actually becoming law, they had to come up with another option. Of course, I made it quite clear that the actual actions of the firemen – letting the bloody house burn down in front of them – were stupid and morally reprehensible regardless of who they voted for in the 2002 elections, and that damnitall I think a tax makes a hell of a lot more sense than this fire-department-membership nonsense, but good grief it must be damnably difficult for the good folks over at the Village Voice to, you know, actually take the time to read the bloody posts they insist on nonetheless mocking and take away anything other than “Libertarian Bad! Must SMASH libertarian!”
My god, I know the blogosphere is a vile, lazy place much of the time, but if you work for a big fancy publication like the Village Voice, and people are paying you good money to write under an obviously fake name, well, don’t you think you owe it to your adoring fans to get it right? To tell it like it is rather than dredging up a bunch of spin? To offer substance and meat rather than this soy-analysis masquerading as the real deal?