Traducing a Legacy in Order to Save It

John McCaslin’s widely-read Inside the Beltway column covered Peyton Knight’s and R.J. Smith’s work opposing the expansion of federal control over local land-use policies today:

Where’s the beef? Now it’s the property-rights advocates who are critical of embattled Sen. George Allen, the Virginia Republican under fire for uttering what some consider a racial slur against immigrants.

‘Senator Allen often describes himself as a ‘Jeffersonian’ conservative, which he defines as someone who doesn’t like ‘nanny, meddling, restrictive, burdensome government,” said Peyton Knight, director of regulatory affairs at the nonpartisan National Center for Public Policy Research. ‘However, if you fail to support your rhetoric with substance, you’re all hat and no cattle.’

The senator who often sports a cowboy hat and boots is behind legislation that would create a federal ‘National Heritage Area’ stretching from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello near Charlottesville in central Virginia (Mr. Allen once filled the Virginia General Assembly seat previously held by Jefferson), to the battlefields of Gettysburg in southern Pennsylvania.

Among concerns of the property-rights crowd are new preservation measures and land-use policies.

Roger Pilon, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, doesn’t let one ‘irony’ go unnoticed: ‘Overzealous’ preservationists at Monticello ‘corrupting’ Jefferson’s legacy in order to protect it. ‘They want to traduce Jefferson’s views in order to save his views,’ he said.

To be honest, I had to look up “traduce” to see what it means. Once I did, I saw it was the perfect word for this situation. Limited government is apparently easier to support in theory than in practice.

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