Monday, August 31, 2009

Welcome to your new home


À propos the previous posting, the Washington Examiner's Mark Tapscott has a column today about how your betters in Washington have plans to get you out of your patch in the 'burbs and sacrifice you to the Density God:

If you like living in the suburbs, having your own little piece of God's green Earth, and being part of the community schools, churches and civic groups, well, too bad because the "Smart Growth" progressives in Congress and the National Reseach Council have a new report that shows how much better things would be if instead you and your family lived in an urban high rise. …

Why would living in "denser environments" be better? Well, for you and your family, it wouldn't be, but it would be for Smart Growth progressives in and out of govenment because it would be so much easier for them to control how you and your family live.

Why? Well, just to take the first example that comes to mind, instead of relying upon a private car that can take you wherever you decide to go, you will have to use government-owned mass transit that only takes you where the government thinks you should be able to go.

Yes, you self-centered piece of work, imagining you could have a little land and space for yourself, your version of Yeats's Lake Isle of Innisfree — your masters are going to tell you where to go. And they're going to tell lots of others to go to the very same place. You'll be densified, for your own good and because we're running out of land. Have to fit in all those immigrants your masters are importing in aid of diversity.

Of course, you won't have much diversity in your environment up there on the 29th floor of your eco-cage. But stop your whingeing. The National Research Council thinks maybe "a shift to this type of land use could lessen vehicle use, energy consumption, and CO2 emissions."

Tapscott adds:

Thanks to mass transit, it will be hard to get to those [stores] that do survive, and even when you manage to get there, you won't be able to carry home nearly as many items riding on mass transit than you could in your own private car. So it will be more trips for fewer items, on a daily or every other day basis, just like your great grandmother and great grand father lived back in the 19th century.

And that is what this is all about. You may have read about the 19th century in school. That was when people living in crowded, smelly, crime-ridden big cities like Philly, New York and Cleveland began fleeing to the suburbs. They did so to get some room for their families to grow, to get away from the daily dangers of the big city, and to live the American Dream of better jobs, better schools, more freedom.

Kind of makes you wonder what the Smart Growth progressives have against people living the American Dream in the suburbs, doesn't it?

No, I don't wonder. "Progressives" want people packed together because they believe in Mass Man. Individuals scare them. People who feel in charge of their own lives scare them. People and families with their feet on the ground and their own land aren't as easily manipulated and indoctrinated by the Prog Politburo.

Some people prefer living in high-density cities. They certainly have that option, as they should. No one, however, should be forced into a lifestyle that most Americans are happy to kiss off when they can. But "can" doesn't conjugate in leftist language. We can. There's no you can.



MaryJ said...

Excellent post. I would add that public transportation is simply unsafe, particularly for women, old folks and children. Cars liberate us from public sexual harassment and crime victimization. I'm all for cars,they are essential for my safety in a world of "diversity" induced crime. I would also add that the elite urban planner types don't really "get" the concept of grocery shopping because they can afford to eat in restaurants every night.

Rick Darby said...

Careful, MaryJ, you are expressing a Forbidden Thought. You may not associate diversity with criminal behavior!

MnMark said...

As a person who was a progressive himself in his 20s, I know that progressives aren't bad people. They want the world to be a better place and they have good intentions. But I don't understand what it is about them that draws them to collectivist solutions like high density urban housing and mass transportation. Is it a sort of poverty or scarcity worldview where they believe all the important resources are about to run out? I suppose if you were convinced that we were just about out of land, oil, commodities, food, and so on, and if your highest value is equality and making sure that everyone gets enough to have a respectable living standard whether they've earned it or not, then you would lean towards collectivist solutions. That sounds about right.

It reminds me that one of the key events that shook me out of my progressivism was coming across a book by Julian Simon about how we're not going to run out of any resources. I was working for a liberal professor, summarizing books and articles, and that was one he wanted summarized. I was OUTRAGED that someone could print such dangerous lies. Then I read the book - forced to, in order to summarize it - and it ended up completely changing my worldview. His logic seemed unassailable. And once I no longer believed that scarcity was just around the corner because the free market tends to increase supplies and lower costs, the central-planning approach to problems lost a lot of appeal. (By the way, that professor was very dismayed that I had changed my worldview...I wonder if he threw the book away lest anyone else be polluted by it?)

David said...

I recently heard Malvina Reynolds song "Little Boxes" which, mercifully, I had not heard for many years. This song, which came out in 1962, marks the transition point between a Left which (at least in theory) wanted more material wealth the The Common People and a Left which wants to ensure the those Common People are not corrupted by excess wealth.

Rick Darby said...


I'm convinced a lot of "progressives" (I use the quotes because I don't agree that their position represents progress) just absorb the conventional opinions around them. So-called progressivism is exhaled, and inhaled, in academia, the media, and the government. The left and its enablers have followed the Gramscian script brilliantly and captured the "commanding heights" of society. It's going to be a tough struggle to take them back, but it can be done.

Julian Simon set out to refute Paul "Population Bomb" Ehrlich, whose wild predictions of imminent famine and other apocalyptic fallout from overpopulation virtually destroyed the population stabilization movement for a couple of generations. In purely economic terms, Simon was right, Ehrlich wrong in his sensationalism.

Although Ehrlich's self-serving, wild predictions have been refuted in their own terms, overpopulation does lead to severe social pressures and degrades quality of life.


" … a Left which wants to ensure the those Common People are not corrupted by excess wealth." Brilliant!