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How “Progressives” Prevent Progress, Case # 23,098

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This report in yesterday’s New York Times [2] offers evidence of the extent to which “Progressives” will go to stop progress – evidence of the filth and pollution that flesh-and-blood individuals are obliged to endure when economic growth is forcibly halted – evidence of the utter arrogance and selfishness of rich-world elites, and of their propensity to treat other human beings as objects for amusement.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

Abba Maiga stood in his dirt courtyard, smoking and seething over the fact that his 150-year-old mud-brick house is so culturally precious he is not allowed to update it — no tile floors, no screen doors, no shower.

“Who wants to live in a house with a mud floor?” groused Mr. Maiga, a retired riverboat captain.

With its cone-shaped crenellations and palm wood drainage spouts, the grand facade seems outside time and helps illustrate why this ancient city in eastern Mali [3] is an official World Heritage site [4].

But the guidelines established by Unesco [5], the cultural arm of the United Nations [6], which compiles the heritage list, demand that any reconstruction not substantially alter the original.

“When a town is put on the heritage list, it means nothing should change,” Mr. Maiga said. “But we want development, more space, new appliances — things that are much more modern. We are angry about all that.”

It is a cultural clash echoed at World Heritage sites [7] across Africa and around the world. While it may be good for tourism, residents complain of being frozen in time like pieces in a museum — their lives proscribed so visitors can gawk.

Read the whole report – but only on an empty stomach.