Civilization is paid for with taxes

Five historical misconceptions, demisconceptualized

I grew up in a subtly, vaguely, self identifying Norwegian household. We ate lefse and told stories about lutefisk and had a Norwegian version of the lord’s prayer installed in our kitchen. But, most poignantly, we believed Vikings had horns on their helmets. Turns out that’s probably bullshit.

We were also pretty much wrong about Lady Godiva, Napolean, vomitoriums, and  Columbus.1


But no matter, how ignorant we were about the Viking horns, about Columbus or about Napolean, at least we weren’t ignorant about the value of taxes. Yes, we complained about doing our taxes. Yes, we complained about submitting our taxes. But we always valued what was done with our taxes. Taxes buy civilization. Yes, civilization often comes with colonization and genocide, but these are contingent, not necessary features. 2

Civilization is paid for with taxes

  1. Well, maybe we weren’t wrong about vomitoriums. I don’t think we knew enough about the Roman empire to even be wrong about it.
  2. Taxes aren’t always a good thing.

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