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Who's Judging?

  I'm glad I don't live on the same island as Robert Saint Amour ["What's a Little Fire?" September 8, 2003]. Not only is it an unjustifiable leap of logic to conclude that seeking government assistance when your home burns from a forest fire is looking "to government for the answer to everything," but I question his understanding of community and civilisation.

  If we judge societies based on how they treat the poor and suffering, the hyper-individualistic approach Saint Amour has leaves a cold, amour-less society indeed.

  But ultimately, it's his hypocrisy that saddens me, as he ends his letter with, "just keep your hands off my money, and buy insurance next time." Insurance, ironically, is like government - a communitarian response to hardship where a large group of people chip in to a pot in case someone needs assistance. Knowing [at least some of] their money goes to help those truly in need is what makes many people gladly pay their taxes.

  Not so ironically, it's this individualistic approach to evaporating government that got Campbell's Liberals elected on a tax-cut platform in the first place - which has led to the societal mess we've been in for two-and-a-half years and the censure from the United Nations (something often reserved for despotic regimes, not industrialised countries).

  And though I'm glad I don't live on Saint Amour's island, I fear he and others like him are turning all of B.C. into such an island. Offering your "sincerest hope of recovery" doesn't mean much if you're not willing to back it up with anything substantial.

Stephen Buckley
Copyright 2003

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