For centuries, tribes, cultures, and countries warred over whose land was whose, who ate what, who bedded who, and who went where. Harboring differing ideas from Karl Marx to Jesus Christ and more recently from Trump to Bernie, opinions, and ideologies are more diverse and polarized than ever. Yet our world is more closely knit while it has become tightly wound. How could such an intense diversity of opinion ever be reconciled?
How about Subscription Patriotism? We can sign up for cable TV channels, we can subscribe to blogs and online services depending on our personal preferences, why can’t we sign up for our own country without having to change our address? How cool would that be?
Imagine you’re the lone Libertarian living in mostly left-leaning Seattle. If you could simply indicate on your driver’s license or voter registration card that you subscribe to the Libertarian platform, you would be hence for exempt from having to pay whatever taxes you think are out of line. Don’t want to pay for that new floating bridge you say you’ll never use? Fine. Just mark the box with a little X. As long as you take the 40-mile drive around the lake and promise not to use the bridge, you can be a happy Libertarian in Seattle.
Let’s say you’re a Republican that thinks our schools stink and you don’t see the point of spending more money on our crappy education system. Great! Just check that box, you’ll be exempt from paying any more school taxes and you’ll get a prorated refund on any part of your property taxes that went to school bonds.
So you don’t want to pay for food stamps for the needy? Not interested in housing for the poor and elderly? Rather see those bastard little kids get the flu, smallpox, or whatever else is going around these days? Do you think it’s a waste of taxpayer money to fund those school lunch programs? Do paramedics really need those big flashy ambulances? No problem, just check the box and you’re off the hook.
Of course, if you do decide to engage in commerce with anyone who has been educated in the public school system, you will have to pay an additional DA surtax because you had originally opted out of the benefits of public funding. This also goes for any time you accidentally find yourself crossing the floating bridge; the DA surtax will be billed to the address connected with your license plate. And if you lose your job, extended unemployment benefits won’t be available to you, nor will Medicare or Medicaid. It’s a good thing you’ve saved up a lot of your money from not having to pay any of these taxes.
So all in all, Subscription Patriotism could be a step in the right direction. It will allow those folks who think they can go without public services to do just that. But remember, there may be a remote possibility that someday you might need a few of these services, and if that happens, you’re going to have to pay the DA surcharge: the Dumb-Ass tax.