Saturday, June 25, 2005

A city is not a person

After I thought the Kelo V. City of New London ruling couldn’t anger me more, I read this quote from Thomas J. Londregan, the lawyer for New London in the NY Times:

“I’m here to tell you that this case was never about the taking of property from one person and giving it to another,” Mr. Londregan said. “This case was not some type of land grab. This case was about the City of New London, its six square miles and its economic survival.”

A city is not a person! If a city does not economically survive, no widows will mourn. No soul will leave its body. If people have to move elsewhere for economic reasons, that’s life. If they have to move for political reasons, that’s theft.

Leftists have a tendency to moralize about abstract concepts as if they were human. Protectionists whine about the death of industries. Industries aren't people either. Time goes on, and economies change. Careers should change, too. Anthropologists promote preserving native culture, even if that means not correcting backwards economic or social practices keeping them in abject poverty. Record and preserve the memory of the culture for posterity: yes. But don't try to freeze a people in one point of their history for your own academic interests.


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