Monday, November 16, 2009

Smell of Freedom

Thomas Jefferson never minded paying his Virginia DHV taxes. I'll bet you didn't know that in Jefferson's time the Virginia Department of Horsedrawn Vehicles collected a tax on every horse and carriage. He also didn't mind paying a tax on his every purchase, and at the end of the year his accountant would figure out how much money Jefferson had made, so that Tom could cheerfully pay his income tax. Then there was the property tax. Monticello was a grand house with lots of acreage, and Jefferson was delighted to pay whatever the Albemarle County Assessors Office decided his obligation was. And of course Tom felt safer in his house knowing that it met all current building codes--that is, after several plan revisions allowed wise building officials to give him permission to build his dream house. Building codes are constantly changing to give us safer homes. We now realize that the stairs Jefferson built to get to upper levels are not safe. Not wide enough. That's why the public is not allowed to see anything other than the bottom floor at Monticello.
Jefferson realized that Freedom wasn't free. Tom would stand outside, breathe in the fresh air, and think to himself, "Yep, smells like freedom to me".

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