"The pride and the presence of a professional football team is far more important that 30 libraries." - former Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell
That was what Modell answered in response to being asked about the ethics of creating a bidding war between Cleveland and Baltimore to put taxpayer dollars into his pockets at a time when public libraries were being closed for lack of funds. As David Cay Johnston put it, "He spoke without a hint or irony or any indication that he had ever upon a midnight dreary, pondered weak and weary the effect of his greed upon the human condition."
Public libraries are the closest thing you can get in a secular democracy to a sacred temple. They are repositories of public knowledge - a tool by which citizens can obtain the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about their government and society. They provide a means for self-improvement and personal growth. They are the most perfect example of the democratization of knowledge essential to our liberty (recall Frederick Douglass having to literally steal knowledge and self-education from his slave-masters.) They are one of the most pure symbols of what democracy is all about.
Which is why Modell's comment is one of the most abominable things I think that I have ever heard.
And for more on how professional sports stadiums have become a scam to enrich owners at taxpayer expense, peruse the Field of Schemes website.
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