I posted an opinion on social media the other day about my city’s suggestion that we franchise our trash hauling service. That was sticking my nose into a political issue—something I try to avoid with these essays. But sometimes we see things which our experience tells us are bad ideas, and we feel like we owe it to our friends and neighbors to give them pause and time to think carefully.
One reader said that I was “vilifying” the idea by calling it socialistic and that I sounded like a “crackpot.”
What I actually said, or tried to imply, was this: when we give up our right to choose our trash haulers—when we allow the city government to decide who they will be and how much it will cost—we are submitting to a socialistic order. I don’t know about you, but I tend to vilify things that seem, well, villainous to me.
Right now, if I don’t like the job my trash hauler is doing, I can march out there on the driveway and say “Hey you! You’re fired! I’m going with somebody else!” Now I probably won’t do that, because he’s giving me really good service and an excellent price. But I still like holding the cards.
If I relinquish that right to my city government, I lose a little piece of my freedom. And I’m all about freedom. If the city gets to make the decisions, and the price goes up or I’m unhappy with my trash hauler, then I don’t get to march out there and fire him. Well, I could, but he would just laugh at me, because I wouldn’t be in charge anymore. The cards wouldn’t be in my hands, and I’d feel helpless, impotent and very resentful.
I don’t think I’m a crackpot. I just looked up the definition of socialism. Here’s what it says:
“A political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”
In other words, franchised trash service is textbook socialism. I’m not a crackpot. I merely pointed out that the pot is about to crack.
Every time we ask our government, be it Washington D.C. or local city councils, to “handle” things for us, we surrender a little piece of our freedom.
To quote T.S. Elliot: “This is the way the world ends; not with a bang, but a whimper.”