April 23, 2010 10:22AM

Well‐​Worn Ideological Grooves

This week, over drinks at a fresh, new watering hole on up‐​and‐​coming H Street, NE, my companion and I struck up a conversation with a local resident, artist, and dandy. (Yes, dandy. His hair is what got the conversation started.)

We all three appreciated in varying degrees the change coming to the street. Having been about to up‐​and‐​come for quite a while now, H Street seems actually to be taking off. There’s quite a lively scene on the eastern end now, known as the Atlas District.

Change isn’t always easy, though. Increased commerce and gentrification along the street are apparently already raising property values and increasing property taxes, which some longtime local businesses can’t afford.

So it is with capitalism, though, remorselessly serving the tastes of the masses, shoving aside the businesses—institutions, really—that can’t keep up.

Now ask yourself: Where is it part of “capitalism’s” nature that increased property taxes push out long‐​time local businesses?

Note how the ideological grooves people trace again and again don’t quite match actual events.

(If you’re the kind of person who would debate this kind of thing at the bar, though, don’t come to H Street. It’s still too cool for you.)