Preserve Public Works
- the beauties of nature, music, and art
- the comfort of good relationships
- the incredible blessings of good health and an active mind
- public parks
- highways and road maintenance crews
- law enforcement
- fire protection
- water treatment plants
- garbage removal services
- public schools and universities
- health departments
- government-supported scientific and medical research
These good things can be available to everyone. Yes, they're supported by property taxes, gasoline taxes, and sales taxes, but those are paid by everyone proportionally. The rich pay more because they buy and travel more, and their property is more valuable. The poor pay less for all the same reasons. But everyone contributes, so that everyone can benefit.
Democracy loses its meaning if citizens don't share spaces or services.
Defunding public libraries, parks, museums, and transportation services might save local governments some money, but at what cost to the quality of life for the people and the community?
- computers and internet access
- story times and summer reading clubs for children
- adult literacy, ESL, and citizenship classes
- resources for job seekers and entrepreneurs
- maker spaces, meeting spaces, and concert spaces
Libraries are safe, welcoming places where community members can meet, learn, and socialize without paying a fee.
About public schools, president John Adams wrote, "The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it." Public schools not only provide access to education, but opportunities for all children. While they are not perfect, in an all private-school world the wealthy would always get far better services than everyone else. There's also evidence that schools would be more segregated, not just by race, but by special needs. Public schools, already providing excellent services to many children, could be even more successful if everyone recognized their stake in the outcome.
beaches to ancient redwood groves to Yosemite's granite domes and waterfalls, the Grand Canyon, and, oldest of all, Yellowstone. We share these wonderful parks with visitors from all over the world.
Public spaces are literal common ground. They strengthen our sense of community and let us gather together face to face. It's clear that when most interaction shifts to impersonal forums like talk radio, websites, or social media, we splinter into smaller, more insulated groups.
Privatizing everything means commercializing it.
We don't want public libraries to be replaced by Amazon bookstores (as advocated by an opinion piece published in Forbes magazine). We don't want public schools to be replaced by for-profit training centers. We don't want public parks to be replaced by Six Flags or McDonald's play areas, or all gardens to be walled off like private golf courses.
We don't want to rely on bottled water because city water treatment plants have been shuttered. We don't want to have to hire security because there are no more police. We don't want our children to be forced into debt because community colleges and state universities have disappeared. And we definitely don't want irreplaceable natural wonders to be lost to exploitation and "development."
Minimalists celebrate public works.
Because of public works, we don't sacrifice quality of life if we own less and share more.
We may "buy" these treasures when we pay taxes, but they don't become our personal property. And because we join with everyone else in paying for them, we create so much more than we ever could on our own.
Rugged individualism is all very well, but life is richer when we share.