Last night I was chatting with one of the night shift drivers who had immigrated here with his family from the Crimean region of the former Soviet Union. The topic started with gas prices and wandered its way to how the eco-socialists are primarily to blame for the problem.
I introduced him to the term “Watermelons – Green on the outside/Red on the inside”, and he told me some Russian history.
Czar Peter I (aka: Peter the Great) installed a number of new taxes upon his subjects while in power to pay for all the “Great” things he was doing for them (excellent Navy) and for himself (extravagant palace built in a swamp).
One was a soul tax, which everyone had to pay or go to prison. Being non-religious and believing that people didn’t have souls would not save you from having to pay this tax. Instead, you would have to pay a “religious dissenter” tax.
He also created a tax on fireplace chimneys, claiming that the smoke sooted up the towns and was a general nuisance. After the tax was laid down, people began knocking down their chimneys to roof level and capping them, or simply not putting up a chimney on newly constructed homes, so as to not have to pay the tax. But because it is and always has been cold as fuck in Russia, they still needed fireplaces to be able to heat their homes.
Homes built or modified in these times have a strategically placed window so that the smoke that was still pouring out the fireplace but had somewhere to go. As you can imagine, black lung type sickness was a very common killer, as was entire families going to bed and never waking up.
It is not uncommon for the airflow to get a little stagnant here in the tri-county area of western Washington. Whenever that happens the local dotgovs enact a burn ban: no outdoor fires and no fireplaces, woodstoves, etc. unless it is the primary heat source for a residence.
Whenever these bans start getting more common, like in November/December, some jackass pipes up in the editorial section of a local paper spouting that homeowners should have to pay an added property tax on their fireplaces and woodstoves, or have to pay for a permit to use them, because they are “so bad for the environment”.