Magazine February 8, 2021, Issue

Farther Along, or, the Accident Chain

NYPD officers outside the Hasidic Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar synagogue, in Brooklyn, N.Y., October 19, 2020 (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

How is it that California, with the highest taxes in the nation, is incapable of managing its forests, deal­ing with homelessness, educating its young, and, in short, addressing those problems for which its citizens are taxed?

Friedrich Hayek observes that taxes exist to fund those things everyone needs but that no individual can pay for. We all need streetlamps, but no individual can pay to electrify his city. Where did the taxes go, and why have we lost the will to ask the question?

Here we observe the great wisdom of the Prophets’ Tongue. I do not refer to Proverbs, or the

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C’mon, Zingerola!

Before we roll over and submit, we need to figure out whether we’re dealing with purposeful malevolence or good ol’-fashioned human clusterbuggery.

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