A Lion Roaring From A Rubbish Heap


In the recent city “trash debate” I’ve been charged with labeling the idea of municipal trash service as socialistic. Guilty as charged. I support a free market and competition in almost all areas. My opposition to municipal bureaucracy is a much larger issue than trash. There’s much more than garbage at stake.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, anybody who behaves as I do ought to be required to sit down and explain himself. And Lord knows I love to talk.

I’ve said it many times, but allowing goods and services to be controlled by the government (read as “city”) is the literal definition of socialism. It really is. It’s in the dictionary.

We don’t become a socialist society by decree. That occurs only at the end of the battle, when we’ve lost. Socialism creeps into our lives in a stealthy way and it does so at our own bidding. It is deceitful, it is dishonest and it is powerful. It looks good and sounds good. The only way to fight it is to call it by its name–an exorcism, if you will.  Pull the mask off and let the light of day expose it for what it is. Get socialism out into the sunlight and, like a vampire, it will scream and disappear.  I threw that in there because young people apparently love a vampire reference. Socialism is seductive and it always sneaks in by subterfuge–little things that don’t seem to matter.  Several generations of people younger than me are being seduced. It just seems like a good idea to have the government solve problems for us. It’s not a good idea. The government is, in most cases, the worst possible choice for problem-solver.

Here’s some common sense: Easy problems are easy to fix, and difficult problems are difficult to fix. You can’t pay your way out of that sentence; it’s just a fact. If we ask private enterprise to fix a problem, they’ll do it in the most efficient way possible, because they don’t want to pay for it twice or three times. Why? Because when private enterprise runs out of money, they’re done. But if we ask government to fix a problem, it will usually attempt an inefficient and ineffective method. The problem won’t get fixed, and when government runs out of money, it will simply raise taxes and continue to be inefficient and ineffective. And somehow it will grow larger in the process.  I’m guessing lack of exercise.

Handing over problems to our government is socialistic thinking. Handing our problems to the government is like hiring a fox to babysit the henhouse at night. Don’t get me wrong; we need our government. But we need to ride herd on it; it gets spooked and stampedes at the drop of a hat. We should watch our vampire closely, with silver bullets, a crucifix and a wooden stake within easy reach. At least that’s how it is in my metaphorically-mixed world.

If we want a socialist society, we’ll have it. And I am very afraid that younger generations think that’s what we want, God love ‘em. I suppose I shouldn’t blame them; they haven’t yet paid the price for that sort of thinking. This is where life experience and a clear view of history pay off. The day will come when younger generations say “Wait a minute. I don’t think I like this.” But it will be too late. The new order will have its fingers everywhere; it will have crept into our government and our lives and thrown its roots. It will have a stranglehold on us.

If you believe that’s true and you wish to fight it, as I do, then I warn you again: we will have to fix the problems ourselves and difficult problems are difficult to fix.

Young people: I see you exercising a lot, running on your treadmills and trying to eat the right things. You did not gain that health by sitting on the sofa, eating candy and asking the government to make you healthy. You made the hard choice there. This is no different. Use that healthy brain to realize that, in government, the hard choice is to refuse the easy answer. I challenge you to refuse a government that wants to “help” you. Shrink the fat of government and put the health and muscle in the people. I am old and I don’t know where my energy went. I can’t help you with this choice. You must do it.

You will have to fight the seductiveness of socialistic thinking at every level. Today you’ll have to battle it out over trash service. Tomorrow it’ll be something else.   One day, you’ll have to fight against the government providing your dental floss. Fight it everywhere and keep fighting. A plant that can’t throw its roots will wither and die, and your freedom will be as strong as your young and powerful bodies.

You will be attacked for your ideas and your words. It’s a painful life. It’s a hard choice. It will hurt and you won’t get used to it. I wouldn’t know, but isn’t that how your exercise thing works?

Churchill once said that he was no lion, but that he provided the roar. I’m no Churchill. But I’m roaring as loud as I can.

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