Monday, March 15, 2010
BORDER TOWN DRAMA
THE CONSEQUENCES OF NO SAFETY NET---LIBERTARIANS TAKE NOTICE. A quarter mile ahead is the border town of Algodones, Mexico, famous and invaluable to the mobile 2 million. I park here and pedal my bike in for 2 good reasons.
Here's one: I save $5---$12 if I have my trailer with me.
Spray paint artist are a minor draw for the tourist.
Trinkets and do-dads everywhere
Here's an internationally known place of scandal---the famous Green Door Lounge--a front for a bordello and strip bar.
But here's the big draw of Algodones---DENTIST an estimated 300 of them in this tiny 5 block square town. I've been coming here for 20 years for inexpensive dental care. (root canal about $200---crowns from $125 to $250. Other services like optical, pharmacuticals and alcohol are proportionately as cheap.
I use Dr Rubio (ph 011.52.658--517.7849 ) who heads a sizable team of specialist--no less than 6 specialist worked on me this time replacing a post and crown.
So what do I want the libertarians to notice? This house for starters--home of a very wealthy person. And then--just a block away:
This!---Here is a consequence of very weak social consensus---A whole nation of people acting (largely) on the premise that each person and family are only responsible for their own well being---little or no social safety net. It's every person or family for themselves. The notion that (to some extent) "WE ARE ALL IN THIS LIFE TOGETHER" AND IN SOME SENSE OUR BROTHER'S KEEPER." Is alien to Mexico. Not surprisingly-- the bounteous benefits of collective action are lost. Illustrated here are weak zoning laws in addition to the obvious poverty . A minimal government society will have big winners and big losers as illustrated--with its inevitable consequences--social unrest--unbridled greed--wealth pyramids and dynasties. I remind my "greed is good" friends that during the French revolution the wealthy aristocrats were dragged from their mansions and beheaded. Surely we can invent a social philosophy somewhere between extreme capitalism and extreme socialism. Think you would find these disparities in socialistic Norway. (with the highest standard of living in the world. Note the steel reinforced international boundary in the background silent testimony that the philosophy of every one for themselves is a failure.
Very soon however--this truck drove up to investigate me. Note the 4 inch steel beam construction---anchored in concrete and welded to wide plates at the top. Anything less would soon be destroyed by the Mexicans who resent the wall. ("something there is that doesn't love a wall")
An older section of the wall---notice the manned observation tower on the American side---I did not suspect they were focusing on me--but they were as you will see.
Another one---they are mobile--mounted on a truck---they scurry around.
Cars exiting Mexico--as seen from our side. The line was one quarter mile long. Passports required.
Bike riders go to the head of the line and I was allowed to pass through---then suddenly this truck cut me off and a team of Border agents surrounded me. With firm courtesy they wanted to know the purpose of all my picture taking and border walking. Took about 20 minutes worth of passport checking and examination of my camera to persuade them I was harmless. I took photos of them approaching me and they asked that I delete them because they do dangerous work and are subject to retaliation. I did so---I understand. We chatted awhile--they reported that vigorus enforcement had reduced incursions by 90%---I doubted that but don't really know.