"Freedom is the recognition of necessity" (Hardin, 1968)
Those enamoured by liberal democracy (in an idealistic way) are often guilty of incorrectly assuming that (and I think I've said this a few times) contained within the slurry of half-arsed ideas that our information-overloaded society offers, there is at least one idea that if enough people believe it then it must be true.
Peter Cresswell who runs a NZ blog site called Not PC provides a good example of greed oriented fuckwittery and complete and utter lack of foresight, let alone "I want to leave a place that my kids or grand kids will want to live in".
Cresswell thinks suburban sprawl is a good thing! Cresswell opposes anyone and anything that seeks to slow development and growth in favour of "leaving it to the markets" - in other words leaving it to the greedy fucks that will turn the world into a shoebox apartment for a fast buck.
When people like Cresswell get his way, we simply decrease the amount of time between now and when we are all living in a shithole. If Cresswell had his way we'd do stupid things like slice up millions of hectares of currently productive farmland so him and his plonker libertarian mates can have (totally unproductive but esthetically pleasing) lifestyle blocks complete with Ford Explorers and McMansions - of course the poor people can all live an hours happy driving away from the city in exurbian ghettos.
Anyway, in response to his blog titled Countrywide Zoning is Unwanted Government Control I posted this comment.
Peter, I often read your blog, and I often think that instead of actually thinking about things you simply regurgitate misled dogma and flawed idealism. This article/blog entry and your recent obsession with endless economic growth predicated upon urban sprawl and the bloated property market confirms my observations.
Interestingly there is an increasing group in society, those that anguish over such things as population growth but are loathe to relinquish any of the privileges that they now enjoy. Furthermore contrary to the techno-hubris that we've assumed over the last century, the set of "no technical solution problems" contains members. We do not, as libertarian economists would have you believe live on a planet that can sustain endless economic growth, or expansionism. If the people of china wish to live like all of us in the west we'd need about another 3 or 4 planets worth of resouces.
There are limits on a finite planet and I expect the consequences of pushing those limits are beginning to manifest themselves now. Recommended research, if you can be bothered (why would you, we live in a democracy, if enough people believe something it must be true aye.) The Tragedy of The Commons. (as a starting point). Suburban sprawl and growth is part of the problem. Not the solution. You can't solve the problem of depleting resources by depleting them at a faster rate.
Update 1. 22-11-05
As an epilogue to this, PC's mates compelled to illogically support their brain-dead leader continued for some time to regurgitate the "Suburban sprawl is good!" message under the weak guise of "choice". One respondant claimed "the law of abundance" to be a law of nature, see my first paragraph above for a response to that.
Actually what's going on here is the vehement defence of a living arrangement and economy that is increasingly disconnected with reality. Hardin (1968) argues
The difference between "choice" and a 6 and a half billion people owning a quarter acre block in suburbia seems to be something Peter Cresswell and his mates either haven't or don't want to consider, the latter a clear illustration of Hardin's point, the prior simple ignorance.
"natural selection favours the forces of pyschological denial. The individual benefits as an individual from his ability to deny the truth even though society as a whole, of which he is a part, suffers"
If Cresswell and his obese on consumerism junkies ("because it's my choice") wish to continue with their plans for suburban sprawl then we'd better start sending troops to the middle east since the remaining (2/3's of the world's oil supply) is there and that's what it takes to sustain suburbia.