I feel that I must give you fair warning. Today’s post is going to dwell on one of those twin banes of conversation, politics.
I describe myself as a liberal conservative; centre right, with a strong libertarian streak. I believe in a small government, individual responsibility, and in simpler cheaper legislation and regulation. I also happen to be passionate believer in the Public Library system.
By now you may be thoroughly confused. Sometimes I am as well.
So how can I, who believes in lower rates, focused local government and a tighter definition of “core services” defend what many would consider a luxury? It all comes down to how you view rates and taxes. It also comes down to what sort of community you wish to live in.
Many of my would be compatriots on the political right view rates and taxes as theft, a necessary evil that should be paid, but cut to the bare bones. I view rates and taxes more like the body corporate fees one might pay in an apartment. If we didn’t pay them the walls of our “building” would fall down and then where would our investment be?
How is the public library a “core service”? How does it help prevent our “building” falling down? If you consider the roads etc as the internal, then libraries are part of the external. On a purely superficial level they help show a community that is proud and vibrant, and as such they help attract investment and continued involvement within the community.
I don’t think it incongruous to talk about the social good the Public Library provides. The Library provides education, and entertainment at a relatively free level. It seems self evident to me that if your citizens are happy, educated and entertained then there are going to be fewer problems, that a bit of judicious spending on social services should lead to less crime and policing lessening that burden on the tax payer.
That’s my defence, what’s yours?