The Corner

That Said….

Andrew could have made a more provocative argument by suggesting that the free-market and conservatism are not one and the same. Red Ken’s measure is socialist, not capitalist. But you could argue that is also conservativ — in that it is aimed at restoring the quality of life to that of the 1950s. Indeed, Andrew invokes the return to 1950s traffic levels as proof that the effort has been a success. I have no strong opinion either way on this. One could argue that such social engineering is precisely the sort of thing that kills cities by drowning them in kitsch. Or, one could say that preserving certain social arrangements is vital to the character of a city. It seems to me, however, that a conservative could come down on either side of the issue. Red Rod, with his Crunchy Con credo, might side with the tax because it supports the “environment” and improves quality of life. Un-red Ramesh might say “poppycock,” economic vitality is the lifeblood of any city and throwing a wet regulatory blanket over London is nonsense on stilts. But you can still be a conservative and favor non-market-friendly regulation.

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