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Damn Fine Cup of Coffee
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Discussion Starter #1
Rural Tennessee fire sparks conservative ideological debate

Just about anything can be fodder for an ideological dispute these days. Just consider news of the recent fire at Gene Cranick's home in Obion County, Tenn.

Here's the short version of what happened: In rural Obion County, homeowners must pay $75 annually for fire protection services from the nearby city of South Fulton. If they don't pay the fee and their home catches fire, tough luck -- even if firefighters are positioned just outside the home with hoses at the ready.

Gene Cranick found this out the hard way.

When Cranick's house caught fire last week, and he couldn't contain the blaze with garden hoses, he called 911. During the emergency call, he offered to pay all expenses related to the Fire Department's defense of his home, but the South Fulton firefighters refused to do anything.

They did, however, come out when Cranick's neighbor -- who'd already paid the fee -- called 911 because he worried that the fire might spread to his property. Once they arrived, members of the South Fulton department stood by and watched Cranick's home burn; they sprang into action only when the fire reached the neighbor's property.

"I hadn't paid my $75 and that's what they want, $75, and they don't care how much it burned down," Gene Cranick told WPSD, an NBC affiliate in Kentucky. "I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong."

The incident has sparked a debate in many corners of the Web. Writers for the National Review, arguably the nation's most influential right-leaning voice, have seized on the episode to discuss the relative merits of compassionate conservatism versus a hard-line libertarianism.

Daniel Foster, a self-described "conservative with fairly libertarian leanings" who writes for the magazine, took issue with the county's laissez-faire approach to firefighting, calling it "a kind of government for which I would not sign up."

"What moral theory allows these firefighters (admittedly acting under orders) to watch this house burn to the ground when 1) they have already responded to the scene; 2) they have the means to stop it ready at hand; 3) they have a reasonable expectation to be compensated for their trouble?" Foster wrote.

But Foster's colleague Kevin Williamson took the opposite view. Cranick's fellow residents in the rural stretches of Obion County had no fire protection until the county established the $75 fee in 1990. As Williamson explained: "The South Fulton fire department is being treated as though it has done something wrong, rather than having gone out of its way to make services available to people who did not have them before. The world is full of jerks, freeloaders, and ingrates — and the problems they create for themselves are their own. These free-riders have no more right to South Fulton's firefighting services than people in Muleshoe, Texas, have to those of NYPD detectives."

Liberals are pouncing on the Cranick fire as an illustration of what they take to be the callous indifference of a market regime that rewards privileged interests over the concerns of ordinary Americans.

"The case perfectly demonstrated conservative ideology, which is based around the idea of the on-your-own society and informs a policy agenda that primarily serves the well-off and privileged," Think Progress' Zaid Jilani wrote in a response to the National Review writers. "It has been 28 years since conservative historian Doug Wead first coined the term 'compassionate conservative.' It now appears that if any such philosophy ever existed, it has few adherents in the modern conservative movement."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101005/pl_yblog_upshot/rural-tennessee-fire-sparks-conservative-ideological-debate

I'll put what I wrote in the Yahoo comments section.

All the idiots here that say "He should have paid the fee derp da derp!" obviously have never been put in a situation where money was the last thing on their minds.

What next? An annual fee to get anyone to perform CPR on you if you're choking? People before profits. A human life shouldn't be weighed by money. And firefighters have an obligation to put out fires. What if they couldn't put out the fire after it went to the neighbor's house who was paying the fee's? Putting out any fire that threatens property or people is their priority.It's not the person whose house is on fire's responsibility to pay a firefighters salary unless it's through normal taxes. The city should really pick up the rest instead of neglecting it.
Conservative Libertarians infuriate me. I mean, normal moderate Conservatives I may disagree with ideologically but they almost never say anything that makes me do more than shake my head "no".

So where's the "Marxist conspiracy" that everyone says is gonna happen that will result in a Communist government? Because obviously, this is just another example of America moving more and more to the RIGHT. Not the left.
 

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So you have to pay them or they will just let your house burn to the ground even though they can help? That is just stupid and weird. Glad I don't live there!
 

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Damn Fine Cup of Coffee
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Discussion Starter #4
I'm happy to live in a town where the local government actually gives a shit about public services like the Fire Department instead of letting our "40% living under the poverty line" to pick up the slack.
 

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Didn't Marcus Licinius Crassus do something very similar to this in ancient Rome and become one of the richest men of all time in part due to it? Disgusting thing to do, I would have put the fire out regardless of what I was told to do, you can't let a man's house burn down, just like you don't refuse any child free health care.
 

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Isn't it against the law to just stand there and do nothing to help? It probably isn't, but it should be. :(

How can a firefighter watch a house burn down? That's not a firefighter.
 

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I came across the story via The Young Turks youtube channel. Here's the video with the host's comments, I can't put it better myself http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJyjNiL4zZg
"someone grab a god damn hose" - That somes it up pretty well from that video. It was already vile but if there were pets in the house it is even worse. Letting a living creature burn to death over 75 dollars?! :mad: Wonder if they would have gone in if it was a kid trapped in the house? Everyone involved in this - from the policy makers to the firefighters themselves - should be extremely ashamed of themselves.

I am very glad I live in England at the moment.
 

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Lynskey Lover
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WOW, pretty shocking stuff.
It's not like they put it out then billed the folks, that'd do.

Just standing there & watching it burn is just shitty.
 

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#TEAMFIT
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Wait so what if there was someone burning to death in there? The fire department would still do nothing? Over $75? Sorry but thats just sickening.
 

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What a sad, strange event.

This line is suspect, though:

"Liberals are pouncing on the Cranick fire as an illustration of what they take to be the callous indifference of a market regime that rewards privileged interests over the concerns of ordinary Americans."
So... the American government does NOT portray "callous indifference" towards "ordinary Americans"? And it never "rewards privileged interests" either? If the "market regime" (whatever that phrase even means) is so terrible, then how should we describe the regime of the State? Peaceful?

This story is sad. I would have put the man's fire out, regardless of whether he paid me; just out of natural moral obligation. But to use this sad story as an indictment against mature, well-meaning market-based philosophies is a bit misleading. As is to suggest that this one incident is some how indicative of how people would behave in a so-called "market regime".


It's no better than this guy's comment:

As Williamson explained: "The South Fulton fire department is being treated as though it has done something wrong, rather than having gone out of its way to make services available to people who did not have them before. The world is full of jerks, freeloaders, and ingrates — and the problems they create for themselves are their own. These free-riders have no more right to South Fulton's firefighting services than people in Muleshoe, Texas, have to those of NYPD detectives."
Misleading as well. This is not a story (as far as I can tell, given the details above) about some selfish, free-loader who wouldn't pay for services that he expected to receive anyways (which is a form of theft). It's a story about a guy's house who was burning down and, even when he offered to pay the department, they still wouldn't help - and even stood there and watched.

Freakin' political opportunists... ripping events out of context, blowing them out of proportion, and then claiming the event is representative of [plug in political enemy here]. The world is much more complex than that, I'm afraid.
 

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For tousands of years it is standard in all societies I know, that in case of fire people came together and helped each other out. This comes pretty much as one of the first civil things to do after homo sapiens left caves and built other shelters.

This organizational idea just set a RICH state ten tousands of years back in terms of society organization. Congratulation! Any econimist who doesn't see the loss of value here and isn't totally shocked right now, should rather become a dentist, a bureaucrat, a plumper - or a toilet seat.

For such a social step back there are no reasons, no excuses. This is total barbarism.
 

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Damn Fine Cup of Coffee
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Discussion Starter #16
I find any system that weigh's a person's life or livelihood against a sum of money to be a sick and disturbing system.
 

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Lynskey Lover
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Fuck Beck, what a tosser!

Also though, where does your Tax money go? Isn't a huge chunk of it to pay for services like the fire department?
 

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The term "libertarian" has been hijacked by an assortment of fanatical nutjobs and political illiterates.

Silly as it is, I don't see that the story really has anything to do with conservatism or libertarianism. It seems to be to simply be the tragic result of a lack of compassionate thinking.
 
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