Tainted Love

Letter From Washington, D.C.

Conservatives rightly honor George Washington, but why should any conservative so much as like Washington, D.C.?  The answer seems as perplexing as the desire of a tourist to buy an “I Love D.C.” T-shirt from one of the Third World vendors on Capitol Hill.  Tell me, Mr. Smith of Heartland, U.S.A., does wearing red-white-and-blue schlock signify your pilgrim’s pride that “We, the People” are masters of the federal government and that you visit its lair as a co-landlord inspecting his corporate realm?  As you tour the Capitol in your shorts and your made-in-China T-shirt and sneakers, does the glare off of white-marble shrines blind you to the reality that the federal leviathan confiscates a third of your annual income, meddles in your private affairs to the extent of dictating the type of toilet you can buy, and, when it is not financing circuses with your money, may cause your death when its riles Islamic militants?

After surveying the scene for over a year before returning to my native Midwest, I think that I have a good, if rather general, answer to my opening question, premised by the observation that few conservatives worth their salt reside in D.C. and like it.  “It” is the reason D.C. exists, not the cosmopolitan trappings that make life pleasant on former swampland.  “It” signifies what this city has become through the income tax, mass democracy,...

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