We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, July 20. 2007
Regular readers know that Maggie's Farm has a strong conservationist orientation, but if anyone tries to call us Greenies we will shoot you in both kneecaps with our Colt Python.
I know some readers are inclined to disagree with us about this, but we do believe in certain sorts of planning, and even certain sorts of government "taking," Kelo notwithstanding.
For two examples we like, JFK's Cape Cod National Seashore took the development rights to broad swaths of the Lower Cape (which is the upper Cape). This action not only preserved the feel and aesthetics of the Cape but preserved the unusual Cape environment - and ultimately raised land values through the roof. Without the National Seashore, there would no longer be anywhere on the Cape to hunt, the salt marshes would be filled in, and the place would look like the worst parts of the Jersey Shore. (Photo is a view of Wellfleet's Chequessett Neck).
Another example we like is Britain's Town and Country Planning Act of 1947. Without that act of Parliament, Britain would not be a tourist destination: it would look like Indianapolis. It protected the towns, and it protected their farmlands and open spaces. Yes, it essentially confiscated development rights - with the voters' approval. (Photo below: A view of English countryside, just outside of town.)
So, while our pure Libertarian readers grouse and grumble, let's get to the point. The good Prof. Pat Deneen recently hosted Roger Scruton at Georgetown, which speech is now Scruton's most recent published essay, A Righter Shade of Green, in The American Conservative. Scruton isn't so much in favor of government taking - he is in favor of a local sense of trusteeship. That's the right idea, but I haven't seen it work in practice too often: local politics are not the highest form of human civic evolution or future-orientation.
As Prof Deneen notes, and as we have frequently noted here, poor stewardship of our precious land in the US is made possible by the "externalization of costs" to other people and to future generations. Example: highways. Example: development of good farmland for 1/2 acre zoning.
Read Pat Deneen's piece here. He quotes Scruton's conclusion:
Read Scruton's whole essay at American Conservative.
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It's fine with me as long as the 'taking' serves a 'general welfare' purpose and the owners are compensated fairly.
First off let me thank you BD for bring us a truly great piece of work from Roger Scruton. He has an excellent mind and his scope is unbounded. He has written a masterful piece in that work.
I also like MF's conservation approach, especially after mavericking Kelo. I think we're all a bit Teddy Roosevelt on being aware of how important the open spaces can be to our being.
In Oregon we have had strong planning laws since the 70's and Portland's "urban growth boundary" since '77.
Long ago everyone realized that the farms and forests should be protected from sprawl. It works pretty good and they only expand it when needed, so far.
It's one of the reasons I live in a 4000+ sf. 1908 farmhouse with a 4000sf lot. The city just filled in around it (long before 1977- but it's a good alegory)
Compared to places I have lived in TX and CA, this place is paradise- people can walk to the local pub (never more than 6 blocks away), bike all over town, know your neighbors, etc. Home values are high, but not compared to the rest of the west, and we value all our old victorians rather than simply bulldozing and paving for some new subdivisions.
Not to mention mother nature is very close at hand in any direction. I think it works.
ah...excuse me Dr. Mercury but I'm jumping in here so get over it.
Scunton had so many good points it is difficult to choose just one. That hasn't detered me from pointing out this gem.
"On the other hand, they exemplify what Engels, following Hegel, referred to as the “labor of the negative.” The cause is too vague or vast or beyond the reach of human nature to form itself as a concrete goal. The only certain thing is the enemy you can destroy rather than the goal you can achieve"
That is most likely on page one of the Democratic Party Handbook on Politics.
The quote is a keeper.
SC governor Mark Sanford had these words on the topic back in Feb.
But is this reasonable?
I'm very conservative, but my dislike of the human tendency to pave over, pollute, and bulldoze is intense. Somebody has to say STOP somewhere. Even if someone's feelings get hurt. Quality farmland, for instance cannot be made up on demand. It takes centuries. And only so much is available. So sub-dividing it up and turning it into suburban sprawl is really a stupid and wasteful thing to do. You will pay for it sooner or later. Many lovely places would not exist, if someone had not protected it. There are values that are higher than making a buck. Sometimes you don't have a right to do, what you have a right to do. We need to give future generations a vote, too.
Thank you folks. Just returned from the front lines. Lost an important battle--but, the biggest one comes in the next 90 days. Please stand by--I will ask for your help. In the meantime look at this:
Or, you can go to Google, click on images and ask for:
Blackfoot River Valley
Any help you can provide is most welcome The next battle is to stop a very clumsy, and poorly informed developer from placing 60 (SIXTY) houses on this river in a very small area. He is using the argument that America "Needs housing for the working man". Of course, there is no control. You buy this house on the river and sell it to a internet retiree from NYC--so much for the working man--so much for this precious place. A good systems understanding of these precioius places and the gift they give to everyone who drives this highway is essential. When it comes to sociology I am pretty much in agreement with the folks at Maggie's Farm. However, when it comes to the management of our precious places I am a realt Teddy Roosevelet fan!
I'll do what I can to support you and the Blackfoot Challenge.
AP are you located in Ovando? I've been to Trixies a time or two or twelve. That is a lovely area. I an behind you in not wanting it developed into something other than what it is now.
I'm just down the road in Townsend , east of Helena. Next year we're raising the house and the following year the move from Florida ...meet ya at Trixies!!
I don't want to be a jerk here, but, the country's population is growing (between 1 & 2 % per yr) and folks gotta be somewhere.
I have neighbors who moved to these hills long after I did (in the early 80s), and who now oppose "new" people (rightly enough desiring no added strain on traffic, watershed, pristine views, country-character).
But we too were "new" people just a little while back.
That said, sure, stop a nasty project from ruining a pretty river, of course, no egregious ugliness should be left unopposed.
But long-term, really, as Pogo said, "we have met the enemy, and he is us".
Buddy , you have once again succinctly put your finger on the nexus that perplexes us. Too many people.
So I propose a national lottery. If you win you get to go outside any time you like,drive around , just be regular.
5 out of 6 and you have to stay inside one day a week, no driving, etc.
4 out of 6 and you get the picture by now.
This isn't as harsh as it may seem. Those with large families will useally always have someone to run errands.
Of course there will be a host of exceptions. Those working in sectors of national security get a free pass....an "A" sticker on their windsheild.
Retired oil workers who aid in homework assignments and are raising wonderful families fall into the same catagory.
And then we can consult internet IP traffic stats and actually declare some percentage of the population a nullity, and only allow then to order out for food.
LOL--my point zackly--no solution. Shut down development for thee, get more of it for me.
The auther says...."rental costs were soaring as speculative builders made bids for the tracts by the roads." but the price of undeveloped land does not automatically increase rents in the city. It is availability and rents vary a lot depending on location.
Also, I think the following policy really does double and triple and quadruple housing costs in very short order, whenever or wherever it has been implemented.
"There should be no development in the countryside except that legitimately required by farming."