Sunday, March 29, 2020

Quickies: An Important Historical Observation

     Much of the early history of the United States isn’t well understood even by persons who profess to be cognizant of it. The formation of the nation’s capital district and the peculair conditions imposed upon it by our Constitution are particularly obscure to many.

     However, Charles Hurt is here to remind us of part of it:

     The whole point of establishing the nation’s capital in Washington was that it was a dismal swamp uninhabitable most of the year. The mosquitoes alone kept Congress out of session for long months at a time. This narrowed the amount of time each year that federal legislators could be in Washington wasting your money and destroying the country with their ridiculous ideas and votes.

     Then along came air conditioning, and that ruined everything.

     The same logic dominated the placement of the majority of the state capitals. They were supposed to be difficult to reach and uncomfortable to endure for a long period. That would limit not only the damage legislators would do but the convergence of favor-seekers and lobbyists around the corridors of power. “Then along came air conditioning”...and public works, and highways, and air travel, and so forth.

     Maybe we should have made it illegal to heat or air-condition any building in which legislators convene. We didn’t, but perhaps it’s not too late for that, after all.


mobius said...


Brian E. said...

This is not the first time I’ve thought this, but it is an instance that requires me to acknowledge it openly: Francis, I like the way you think.