Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Via Radley Balko:

Of course, you’re still expected to entrust your property to the people who waste resources staging useless, theatrical water shows for the TV cameras. Forget about taking steps to fight an approaching wildfire yourself. You’ll likely be arrested. Want to hire a private firm to provide extra fire protection? That may soon be illegal too, thanks to the Naomi Kleins of the world, who’ve deemed private fire protection “disaster apartheid.”

How the term "disaster apartheid"came from the mouth of the stunningly ignorant Ms. Klein is worth mentioning. Via Reason:

Then the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News revealed the shocking news that the American International Group (AIG), an insurance company, had been adding a very modest supplement to the firefighting effort—six trucks—on behalf of its clients. For premiums averaging a hefty $19,000 a year, AIG policyholders in the fire-vulnerable “wildland-urban interface” have their homes assessed for vulnerability, kitted with sprinkler systems, and doused with fire retardant. When wildfires rage within three miles of a covered house, AIG-contracted teams come out to lay down a fresh perimeter of retardant and check the roof and nearby brush for stray embers (the cause of most housing tract losses during an inferno). According to Bloomberg, AIG firefighters saved at least six houses, including one lucky enough to be next door to an AIG client.

In other words, an owner of private property who wants to protect his property from a disaster demands a service that can be provided by someone to provide additional fire protection via a private entity whose interests are far more aligned with the customer then the local public entity. Both sides are incentivized. The homeowner is interested in protecting his or her home and for AIG, the use of a service, assumably, lowers the probability of a payout of a loss claim.

Two parties to a mutually beneficial transaction? Check. No violation of the rights of either party? Check. It sure sounds simple enough to me.

Klein's histrionics do not surprise me. The fact that the possibility of a private service provider donig better than our supposedly dependable and infallible government, be it fire protection services, security services or education, greatly offends the Left, especially those of Naomi Klein's or Rick Pearlstein's ilk.

Nor am I surprised at Pearlstein's complete ignorance toward the concept of privatization. Then again, I do not have faith the egalitarians of Klein's or Pearlstein's sort will ever get their arms around the concept. It's far better to invoke strawmen to whip up the masses.