George Will is excited by the new Gettysburg Visitor's Center. He sees "something resoundingly right that will help a normally amnesiac nation to long remember. "
I see an abhorrent reversal of good order. The National Park Service, federally funded to keep up the grounds in its charge, attends instead to the content of the battle, interpreting the battle, explaining how to think about the battle and the war while private persons and groups attend to the physical upkeep.
The private and public marketplace of ideas have been replaced by a virtual government storehouse of memes and talking points. Meanwhile the physical storehouses and meeting places have been collapsing.
NPS and its private enablers at Gettysburg illustrate the prevalent chaos of our time: again and again, departments abandon their own mission to do some other work.
(Just last week an undersecretary of the Army said he was going on a buying spree that would launch the commercial electric car industry in America and that his department intends to earn money by erecting wind farms to sell electricity to local U.S. communities).
Government here is the amnesiac. If the NPS cannot care for Gettyburg, if the burden sharing arrangements as they stand cannot be overruled or reversed, the park needs to be sold to those who will care for it.