You have heard the term "Freedom Isn't Free", haven't you? If you have never heard it spoken, you are almost certain to have seen it on someone's t-shirt, book tote, or as a large sticker on someone's car or truck. Mrs. GF and I saw a car with one of those stickers on it today, while we were heading to Disney's Animal kingdom (Soccer Girl wanted to see some more animals… could I say no?)
Anyway it made me think, and it started an oft-repeated conversation between us. I'll shorten the conversation down to its most salient point, which for me is this: Those friggin' t-shirts, stickers, banners, and signs really piss me off. Do you know why they piss me off? Well, I'll tell you. That particular sentiment is a favorite of Republican/Conservative/Libertarian/Tea Party whack-jobs who chant "USA! USA!" out of one side of their faces while whining about the federal government and paying taxes out of the other.
Personally, I don't get it… how can we shout defiantly that "Freedom Isn't Free" while complaining about the costs? How can the anti-tax nimrods continually natter about President Obama's spending, while having been silent about the orgy of spending perpetrated by his predecessor? How can we say "Stay in Iraq/Afghanistan as long as it takes to finish the job" (that would be the job that Mr. Bush was never able to define), without counting the cost? Never mind the cost of lost lives and limbs… because the whack-job right doesn't care about our soldiers and Marines getting maimed or killed. After all, if they cared, they wouldn't be so effing happy to have sent those men and women to war for no good reasons in the first place... but I digress.
Look, wars cost money. Wars cost an unholy sum of money… numbers that the average person couldn't even being to visualize. The cost of ammunition; the cost of replacement parts; the cost of tanks, aircraft, and trucks… not to mention the gas/oil that it takes to fuel them, is beyond astronomical. The costs of equipping soldiers and Marines alone is staggering, to say nothing about the cost of equipping the sailors and airmen that are in the war zones.
Let's get away from wars for a moment, because our freedoms and our safety aren't just about the military are they? Of course they aren't. When you have a car is stolen or when your kids go missing, you don't call the 82nd airborne division… you call the police. When you fall down the stairs in a household ambulance, you call your local EMS paramedics. When there is a house fire or a car fire, there are firefighters rushing to assist to you as best they can. That stuff costs money, too.
You know, the military, our intelligence services (who have secret budgets you and I will never know about), and our Police/Fire/EMS and other first responders aren't the only guarantors of our freedom. One of the other guarantors of our freedom is education. Because we all know that an educated citizenry is the first defense against tyranny, don't we? Well guess what, warriors? Public Education is the best way to make sure the largest possible number of people in our society is at least basically educated. That costs money, too.
You see, we all want things. We want fire protection, we want police and EMS services, we want a strong military, we want to be educated, we want air safety, we want safe roads, and we want government services that we feel that we need (and those services will vary depending on your age, health, income level, etc…). What Americans are really twisted up about is paying for the things that we want. Somehow, a significant proportion of the American populace has gotten into their heads, that they can have all of the things that they want, fight two wars at the same time, and cut taxes. That math doesn't work, warriors. It doesn't work at all.
No sir, freedom isn't free… and blood isn't the only price. As a matter of fact, blood is the cheapest price there is, because we have so much of it. Freedom isn't free, because freedom costs an awful lot of money. That money has to come from somewhere, warriors, and guess where that is? Yup, you got it! It is coming from your pockets. I know you don't like it, but there it is.
You want a new moon rocket/heavy launch vehicle? You have to pay for it.
You want a new class of submarines? You have to pay for it.
You want roads? You have to pay for them.
Not enough firefighters in your town? Uh huh… pony up!
Personally, I don't like paying taxes for a lot of things that our money gets spent on. No sir, there are some things that I don't like one little bit, but I'll tell you what: you'll never hear me carping about paying taxes, because paying taxes pays for those roads that I mentioned, and the teachers and others that staff our schools, and to our police and fire services. The money that I… that we pay in taxes funds our awesome armed forces (you may have noticed that we haven't sent our folks to war with a few shotguns and muskets). Paying for those things is my duty as an American citizen, and good Americans are attentive to their duty.
So there you have it. Paying your taxes is paying for your freedom. Complaining about it only makes you seem like a spoiled child who doesn't want to take a bath, even though taking a bath is exactly what the child needs.
Now, can you people please shut up, quit your whining grow a scab and pay your share without cheating?