Friday, April 5, 2013

the last book I ever read (Bill Bradley's Life on the Run, excerpt twenty)

from Life on the Run by Bill Bradley:

Fifty percent of the people in the Phoenix area have been here less than 10 years. In 1950 Phoenix was a town of 50,000 people; now 800,000 live here. Scottsdale has increased from 10,000 to 100,000. The Valley of the Sun—Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sun City area—has grown from 100,000 in 1950 to 1.3 million. Such rapid growth produces unevenly scattered development. Private enterprise, unfettered, built Phoenix and many of the rugged individualists still remain. Barry Goldwater’s house and the Wrigley mansion are two prominent landmarks. For them, and their kind, economic freedom is America’s most cherished ideal. Government is anathema. They have yet to feel the compelling need for belonging to a group, brought on by the limits of individualism in a crowded, complex, technological world. They have not confronted the twin yearning, unity and freedom, felt by so many Americans equally and simultaneously. For Western conservatives, belonging is less important than freedom. In this sense, Phoenix is a simpler and perhaps a healthier place than Chicago; yet it is young. As more and more people flee the weather and regimentation of the urban East for Phoenix, this single-minded dedication to economic freedom will end. One can already see what lies ahead as surely as the smog hangs over the city three days out of five. Phoenix is in the terminal phase of the American frontier spirit.

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