30 May 2006

Show me the money!!!

My friend Meg, in response to this post, asks:

“So, when we return the land in the pristine condition in which our ancestors found it...do we get a refund?”

That seems fair to me.  If there is something illegitimate about our taking the land, even for money, and they want the land back, then they should give us back the money, which (again) comes to $554 billion in today’s dollars, adjusting for inflation according to the Consumer Price Index.

Of course, there are no doubt those who would say that no, Mexico would be entitled to all improvements upon that property.  But since those improvements, as we have been told (mostly by multiculturalists), constitute the destruction of a culture, those improvements must be removed.  And, as a consequence, we ought to have our money back, in modern dollars—perhaps at interest even, since we have been without the use of that money for quite some time now.  I suppose someone could assert that keeping the money might be something like punitive damages against the US for “taking” the land.  But one just has to wonder how paying the modern equivalent of half a trillion dollars counts as taking.  I don’t buy it—so to speak.

Moreover, one has also to wonder how people who criticize the US for their imperialism can assert a claim to land which was previously claimed by two empires in turn.  The claims of Mexico to the land in question was inherited from the Spanish, from whom the Mexicans gained their independence.  So, the land claimed by Mexico is land claimed by a European empire.  Interesting, isn’t it?  Well, some Mexican might say, that land was claimed by the Aztecs before the Spaniards came and took it from them, making it part of Mexico, since what we now know as Mexico was ruled by Aztecs and Mayans, among others.  Okay, fine, I say.  But that still remains the claim of an empire.  If the problem is “imperialism,” and “imperialism” is wrong, then why assert claims that can only be justified by an appeal to some previous empire’s prior claim?

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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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