Magic City Morning Star

Advertising | RSS Feed | About Us 

Last Updated: Sep 10, 2014 - 2:08:00 AM 

An eclectic mix of news and information
Staff Login
Donate towards our web hosting bill!

Front Page 
  News
  -- Local
  -- State
  -- National
  Community
  Business
  -- IRS News
  -- Win at Work
  Education
  -- History
  Tech Notes
  Entertainment
  -- Comics
  International
  -- R.P. BenDedek
  -- Kenneth Tellis
  Outdoors
  Sports
  Features
  -- M Stevens-David
  -- Down the Road
  Christianity
  Today in History
  Opinion
  -- Editor's Desk
  -- Guest Column
  -- Scheme of Things
  -- Michael Devolin
  -- Tom DeWeese
  -- Ed Feulner
  -- Jim Kouri
  -- Julie Smithson
  -- J. Grant Swank
  -- Doug Wrenn
  Letters
  Agenda 21
  Book Reviews
  -- Old Embers
  Notices
  Archive
  Discontinued


Web Directory Reviews
WDR Directory of Directories
Restore The Republic - The Home of the Freedom Movement!

Thomas Brewton

A Liberal-Progressive Abstraction: Caring For The Little Guy
By Thomas E. Brewton
Nov 16, 2010 - 12:23:51 AM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

Anthony Paletta's book review describes urban renewal's human costs.

Liberal-progressives are fond of grand, sweeping state-planning projects, conceived in abstraction by academic theorists. Their preference is for betting the house on one roll of the dice, for example, with Obamacare. No incremental, careful tests for them.

Still, so-called urban renewal projects, though on a smaller scale, command liberal-progressive planners' attention. Why miss an opportunity to destroy a neighborhood and wipe out a few thousand local businesses?

Such depredations can be imposed in the name of "caring," for an abstraction known as "the people." Because "the people" is an abstraction, misery inflicted in real life is not on the radar screen of liberal-progressive academics. In Nancy Pelosi's assessment, people will learn to love the works of Big Brother after they've been exposed to them long enough and after Democrat/Socialist political orators have explained why they really love Big Brother.

The late Jane Jacobs, ironically regarded as a liberal-progressive until late in her life, was a voice of sanity against Big Brother's urban planning. She and Adam Smith were reading from the same page.

She was most noted for her 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which refuted the pretensions of liberal-progressive city planners.

In the works of both Jane Jacobs and Adam Smith, individualistic spontaneity, exercised incrementally, over many generations, is understood to be the wellspring of all of human society's effective and enduring institutions.

Jacobs wrote her book while living as a mother with children in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. It grew out of her successful opposition to the intention of New York City's master urban planner Robert Moses to bulldoze an expressway through the middle of the Village's most pleasant parts. This would have displaced approximately 10,000 residents and demolished a huge swath of historic buildings.

From her successful opposition came a fundamental new perspective on urban planning: local residents, when allowed the freedom to do so, will create more livable and more effective neighborhoods than any master plan conceived by we-know-better-than-you liberals. Moreover, such neighborhoods can more effectively adjust, bit by bit, over time as new conditions arise.

She noted, for example, that the typical residential development pattern prescribed by liberal urban planners - mammoth high-rise apartment buildings clustered around small parks and walkways - looked wonderful to outside observers, but became snake-pits of crime and family disintegration in practice.

Greenwich Village had developed over a couple of centuries as a high-density neighborhood with low rise apartments and mixed-use commercial space. There were always autos in the streets and pedestrians on the sidewalks as a deterrent to crime. Block by block, people knew each other and could keep an eye on the neighborhood. Such a neighborhood is additionally more interesting and pleasurable than the sterility of patches of grass and concrete benches overshadowed by buildings of 10 stories or more.

Greenwich Village was created by the unplanned spontaneity of thousands of individuals experimenting over the decades, keeping what worked and dropping what didn't. In contrast, with urban planners it's the whole thing at one shot; there is no adjustment mechanism, no opportunity for trial and error. Urban planning is the same mentality, on a smaller scale, that animated the Soviet Union: override opponents by government fiat.


Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776
http://www.thomasbrewton.com/

Email comments to viewfrom1776@thomasbrewton.com


© Copyright 2002-2014 by Magic City Morning Star

Top of Page

Thomas Brewton
Latest Headlines
Superficiality
Inflation At The Gate, The Fed Talks About Deflation
More About Inflation
Don't Blame Business For Our Inflation
Love Thy Neighbor

A Dinosaur of Education - a blog by James Fabiano.
Shobe Studios
Wysong Foods - Pets and People Too

Google
 
Web magic-city-news.com