Friday, September 16, 2011

Tea Party brigade struggles to put out BWCA fire

Plywood walls were plastered with maps showing the growing footprint of the wildfire that's raging across Minnesota wilderness of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Dozens of officials summoned to help subdue the blaze that has consumed more than 100,000 acres of forest crowded into a small conference center to discuss the difficult task facing 500 firefighters. 
It's complex and dangerous work. The vast landscape means it can take hours for firefighters to reach the flames. Many teams have to paddle canoes to the front lines, then set up makeshift campsites. "We have a challenging situation," said Jim Sanders, Superior National Forest supervisor. 
The quote and the picture are real enough and from the Strib, but the headline -- obviously -- is fictional. There is, in fact, some controversy whether the Forest Service moved fast enough after the fire was started by lightning and whether logging should have occurred after the blow down in 1999 (the fire isn't exactly in the blow down area), but there isn't any question that the Forest Service -- an instrumentality of the dag nab gubmint -- is performing a social good.

Which brings me to the real point of the story. Walter Hudson, the spittle-flecked chair of the North Star Tea Party Patriots, penned an op-ed that appeared in yesterday's Star Tribune. He's speaking to the adoption of a supermajority requirement to raise taxes in Minnesota, but here's what Walter thinks of social goods:
Government ought not "function" to any whimsical end. Government should function only when its aim is proper, only when it protects individual rights.
You can read how Walter concludes that a simple majority vote is whimsical; I'm not going to try to explain it.

What is whimsical is the fact that Walter heads a group with the word "patriot" in it. Patriots love their country. Walter's patriotism extends no further than the tip of his nose, or his stomach, whichever sticks out farther.

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