Huge thanks must be given to Gary Hein for his recent letter concerning our alleged culture of entitlement.
It is refreshing to see the neo-conservative world view expressed so openly and frankly. The resentment he feels at having to pay taxes for things he personally will never use is a core grievance of the libertarian right.
It is a grievance which, on the surface, resonates with most of us in a “common sense” kind of way. The problem is the ridiculous simplicity and even naivety of this point of view.
Both our society and our economy are incredibly complex systems in which most things have an inexorable (if not always obvious) interconnectedness. As a financial adviser, surely Mr. Hein appreciates these complexities.
Within these systems the notion of the rugged individual existing as an utterly independent, self-made island is as absurd as the notion of a hermit running a trap-line from his hand-hewn log hut in downtown Vancouver.
While it has proven very effective for neo-conservatives to fan up resentment against the paying of taxes, most of us recognize the wisdom of contributing to a collective purse used to fund the commonwealth of resources and services we all benefit from in one way or another.
I am not in medical school, so by Mr. Hein’s line of reasoning I should not have to pay anything towards the cost of operating such a school — future doctors should bear the full cost of their training.
The flaw in this logic is that not all the best potential doctors can afford to do so (and we’re all that much poorer if they can’t). As a society, we all benefit from our collective subsidization of education, from kindergarten through to medical school.
The world is like a very large, complicated sailing ship on which, for better and for worse, we are all forced to co-exist. If we are not to put the ship on the rocks it behooves us to pool our resources as a crew.
This is not communism or even socialism. It is simply the common sense reality of life at sea.
Mr. Hein’s every-man-for-himself philosophy might work in a one-man dinghy, but beyond that it is not only small-minded and selfish, it is downright dangerous.