In a rhetorical flight of fancy upon the passing of a new tax, City Council President Tommy Hazouri said Jacksonville had embarked upon a new “era of enlightenment.”
He was referring not just to the doubling of a tax that will hit the poor hardest but also the work of a committee he appointed last year – the Social Justice and Community Investment Special Committee.
What has this band of social justice warriors done to rank them among the greats of the misnamed Enlightenment, such as Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, John Locke and Rene Descartes?
The answer is: mostly fight over pork (“community investment”), and insult the people of Jacksonville by characterizing them as racists.
Most of the committee’s meeting have revolved around shifting spending from one part of town to another, making absurd claims about the city’s history and promoting the idea of “systemic racism” that is at the heart of the hateful Critical Race Theory.
Hardly the stuff of the Enlightenment, a period that furthered the growth of capitalism that had begun within the church during the Middle Ages and adopted new respect for reason.
Hazouri also made reference to “50 years of neglect,” a fanciful idea promulgated by politicians and the media to support the spending spree the politicians have been engaged in of late.
Unfortunately, that would also include the period 1987-91 – during which Hazouri was mayor. It is doubtful that Hazouri meant to include that interlude.
The current liberal notion that the proponents of consolidated city and county government promised Utopia, with two chickens in every pot, but failed to deliver is nonsense.
They promised only a more effective local government, and delivered.
For the first 10 years of consolidation, the property tax rate was reduced each year because the government was less corrupt and more efficient. At the same time, the new council and mayor tackled tough problems, providing much needed infrastructure and ending the practice of dumping raw sewage into the St. Johns River.
There was no “long train of abuses,” to use a term by Locke that made its way into the Declaration of Independence.
Debates in the council were far more elevated than those typically heard in today’s council meetings. The members in those days were ordinary residents, mostly businessmen, who were educated and interested in building a better city, then returning to private life – voluntarily, not because of term limits. Today, professional and lifelong politicians dominate.
Jacksonville today might better be characterized as being near the end of “the age of reason” rather than just getting started, certainly as it pertains to government.