Quill pig is another name for a porcupine. Porcupines are unattractive and unpopular, but, as animals go, and unlike eagles, elephants, and donkeys, they are reasonably harmless good neighbors that mind their own business. Here's where we can talk about being good neighbors and why it's eternally important.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Sparing Dagon in East Ramapo
It’s usually, you know, just a given in our country that, you
know, people who don’t drive still pay taxes for roads, and people who hate the
outdoors pay for public parks, and people without kids in the public schools
pay for the public schools. Just, that’s the deal. We all know it. And so what
happens when people who do not want to pay for the public schools take over the
school board? —Ira Glass, This American Life
Do not rejoice when your enemies fall into trouble. Don't be
happy when they stumble. For the LORD will be displeased with you and will turn
his anger away from them. (Prov 24:17)
The Bible warns me about
celebrating when statists get screwed by their own system – the system they
consider us immoral for wanting to bow out of. No matter who suffers how much,
they don’t seem to learn anything when it happens, which is frustrating, but
when someone’s dog keeps you up all night with its barking, it’s hard to feel
bad when it bites its owner.
Last Sunday’s episode of National
Public Radio’s This American Life was as clear a showcase of the moral
bankruptcy of statism as one is likely ever to see. It tells the woeful tale of
East Ramapo, New York, a lower-middle-class town where “most of the people …
were not Hasids, but most of the children were. Two out of three children in
the school district were Hasidic.” The Hasids didn’t want their children in the
public schools, and they didn’t want to have to pay for the public schools they
weren’t sending their kids to in addition to the yeshivas they were paying for.
But they agreed to a truce for a while: “The school board won’t call in the
state to check and see if math and reading and history are being properly
taught in the yeshivas, like the state mandates, if the Hasids will just stay
away from the polls.”
That worked fine until the number
of Hasidic children with special needs reached a critical mass: “Hasidic
special-ed students, like other special-ed kids, … need expensive therapies and
services and education. And the government will pay for those, is required to
pay for them. But for that to happen, the district would usually require that
the kids go into a public school setting.” And, of course, the whole point of
the yeshivas is to keep the Hasidic kids out of the public schools.
East Ramapo refused to go the
fascist route of using tax money to pay for special-ed facilities in the
yeshivas, so the Hasids ended the truce and over a period of years voted the
goys off the school board and Hasids on. The goys were understandably upset,
but the Hasids were unimpressed. A letter to the editor in the local paper put
it in what seem to me reasonable terms:
Dear fellow taxpayer in the East Ramapo school district,
again and again, I read about how upset you are about the members of the school
board, how we bloc-voted them in, how we don’t have the interests of the
schoolchildren at heart. Well, let’s take a closer look at that.
For many years, you took our tax money, year after year,
increase after increase, and you never had any problem with that. But when we
finally get together and say, that’s enough, that is a problem.
I have a solution. How about giving all of us the option to
bow out of the public school system and keep our money in our pockets? You want
our money and our silence. Sorry, you cannot have it all your way.
And, of course, the goys had no
intention of giving them the option to bow out.
What’s so immoral about asking to
keep your own money and spend it on what you want? If I’m to believe Ira Glass
as quoted in the epigraph, it’s immoral because we’ve never done it that way.
(Actually, we did do it that way two hundred years ago, but that’s another
So democracy is wonderful until
it creates a situation that the democrats don’t like. I remember hearing during
the Vietnam “conflict” years that if an election were held at the time, the
Communists would win, so we had to keep fighting. As Tom Lehrer put it then,
For might makes right,
And till they’ve seen the light
They’ve got to be protected,
All their rights respected,
Until someone we like can be elected.
If the Vietnamese want to vote in
the Communists, don’t they have that right? (As it turned out, of course, the
Communists won without an election.) The Iranians voted in Mossadegh; we
removed him for the Shah. The Chileans voted in Allende; we removed him for
Pinochet. The Palestinians voted in Hamas; we let Israel blow the place to
hell. The Ukrainians elected Yanukovych; we putsched in the neo-Nazis. The
Hasids get tired of paying taxes for schools they don’t use, and—well, I’m not
sure what’s going to happen, but I expect the State of New York and Uncle Sam
his very self are rubbing their hands in gleeful anticipation.
The Hasidic school board could
have simply defunded the public schools. That’s what I would have done. Dagon
was flat on his face (see 1 Sam 5:3), and they could have ground him to powder.
But they didn’t. They even raised their own taxes, increasing the school budget
by 30% over ten years. But that’s not enough for the democratists.
Every comparable school district in the county grew its
budget by an average of 50%. …
The costs the Hasidim and other conservatives say are out of
control actually are rising alarmingly fast—pensions, health care, union
contracts, cost of living. Those things grow by so much that a 30-some percent
budget increase, that isn't growth. That's devastation.
So, while families are losing
their jobs, losing their buying power as the Fed devalues the currency, and
tightening their budgets, the schools somehow have the right to raise taxes to
pay for pensions, health care, and union contracts. And if, as is to be
expected, those union salaries are higher than the incomes of those paying the
taxes, isn’t that the rich extorting money from the poor? This is moral?
And why are the costs “rising
alarmingly fast”? Could there be any relationship between that and the coercion
(as opposed to cooperation) inherent in fiat currency, union monopolies, and,
of course, tax-funded education?
If the goys in East Ramapo want
to pay more for their schools, why don’t they pass the hat? Charge user fees?
Ask local businesses whose taxes have gone down to sponsor classes or students?
If it works for potato chips and Little League, why not for schools?
My answer is that they don’t want
to pay more. They want to force other people to pay for their kids’ education.
If that’s the American way, I want no part of America.
And to the degree the Christian
church is part of the exploitation of the Hasids—they are, don’t forget, the “Jerusalem
and Judea and Samaria” that precedes
the “the uttermost parts of the earth” to whom we are to proclaim the good news
of Jesus—we are cutting out our own tongues.