Reader shared derivation of ‘moratorium’

Letter to the Editor.

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 4:30am
  • Opinion

In the May 18 edition of the Record, Mayor Simpson is quoted

as saying in regards to the current building moratorium, ” … communities

die without growth” and “‘Mort’ (in

Latin) means to `die’ and we have to get out of moratorium in order to grow. …

” Mayor Simpson is wrong on both counts.

First, and perhaps most petty, the root of “moratorium” is the

Latin “moratorius,” meaning

“retarding,” the past participle of “moratus,” to

delay or remain. “Moratorium” has only to do with delay or slowing,

nothing to do with death. The roots of the words we use have profound

effects on their meanings. We need to respect those meanings and use them wisely.

Second, and most important, is the silly notion that without growth,

death is inevitable. If any of us takes the idea that growth is necessary to its

logical conclusion, it always ends at the point of the absolute exhaustion of

resources. Once this point is reached, there is a true “mort” until the

consuming entity dies back enough that the resources have a chance to

re-grow. It doesn’t matter if we are speaking of downtown North Bend or the

number of deer in the Cascades. There is a maximum sustainable level. To

exceed this will mean a die off in the future. We can seek this level or we can

vacillate wildly around it until the fat of the land dictates the maximum

level. Instead of looking for more growth for the short term tax payoffs, we need

to look at the long term.

We need responsible leadership which will not mortgage (past

participle of the Latin, “to die” + gage,

“security”) our future against some

short-term gain which makes our long-term loss inevitable.

DAVE EIFFERT

Snoqualmie


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