Tag: Anarchism

Equality and the Fire Department

This post is inspired by previous posts regarding anarchism and government services, in particular the fire department.  My thanks once again to all for the interesting and thought provoking responses.

It is among many of us an article of faith that equality is a good thing, and in particular that government services should be granted either equally or with the intention of creating greater general equality.  Yet, this is almost always not the case.  Most of us believe that fire departments serve to offer all citizens equal protection from fire, and that this is a right that should be extended to all citizens equally.  But this is an excellent example of how government services indeed create inequality rather than decreasing it.  

Take the example of New York City.  Ought Bed-Stuy receive the same level of service from the FDNY as the Upper East Side?  The conventional answer is yes, naturally.  But it doesn’t work out that way, does it?  But why?

Anarchism and the Fire Department

In my last post in my “Quotes for Discussion” series, I posted quotes from both 19th Century and current anarchists.  In response, both andgarden and Meteor Blades brought up the issues of private firefighters and private police forces.

While I didn’t mention it at the time, of course there are many private police forces.  And not simply mercenaries like Blackwater; anyone visiting a bank, a shopping mall, or a gated community is familiar with private security guards.  But I didn’t think there were private firefighters out there.  Naturally, I was wrong

“What we’re trying to do here is provide our policyholders an additional level of protection,” said Stan Rivera, director of wildfire protection for AIG Private Client Group. The average home insured by the unit is valued at $1.7 million.

AIG this year expanded its Wildfire Protection Unit to 150 ZIP codes in California and Colorado, up from 14 when it was formed in 2005. The unit has had the busiest week since its inception as fires burned at least 719 square miles (1,861 square kilometers) from Santa Barbara to San Diego, destroying 1,342 homes and 34 businesses and causing at least seven deaths.

Quotes for Discussion: Anarchist Edition

In existing States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. If the road between two villages is impassable, the peasant says, “There should be a law about parish roads.” If a park-keeper takes advantage of the want of spirit in those who follow him with servile obedience and insults one of them, the insulted man says, “There should be a law to enjoin more politeness upon the park-keepers.” If there is stagnation in agriculture or commerce, the husbandman, cattle-breeder, or corn- speculator argues, “It is protective legislation which we require.” Down to the old clothesman there is not one who does not demand a law to protect his own little trade. If the employer lowers wages or increases the hours of labor, the politician in embryo explains, “We must have a law to put all that to rights.” In short, a law everywhere and for everything! A law about fashions, a law about mad dogs, a law about virtue, a law to put a stop to all the vices and all the evils which result from human indolence and cowardice.

~Peter Kropotkin, “Law and Authority”

Load more