Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Greg Abbott says People acting as a Community are Collectivists

Greg Abbott has taken aim at “collectivist” big cities in Texas for infringing property rights and endangering the ‘Texas Miracle’
Stephen Young writing in the Dallas Observer has a great piece about Abbott’s complaining that big cities are threatening to turn the state’s economic miracle into a nightmare.

Greg Abbott makes me nervous and i hope he makes you nervous too. He has been speaking out on his concerns that local citizens watching out for their local cities are drafting local laws

  • impacting fracking rights,
  • creating a 5 cent charge for plastic shopping bags to try to keep them out of the waste stream and out of trees, and
  • regulating how landowners must consider legacy trees not just cutting trees down willy nilly…

Greg Abbott sees these actions by local communities as a grave threat to the state’s well-being. Here are a couple choice quotes.

“My vision is one where individual liberties are not bound by city limit signs,” Abbott said. “I will insist on protecting unlimited liberty to ensure that Texas will continue to grow and prosper.”

“Now think about it — few things are more important in Texas than private property rights. Yet some cities are telling citizens that you don’t own some of the things on your own property that you have bought and purchased and owned for a long time. Things like trees. This is a form of collectivism,” he said.
Collectivists acting right here in North Texas. Better keep an
eye on them. Of course, they are actually sweet kids
helping pick up[ trash along the Trinity river; but I needed
some levity, and so I settled for a lame joke.

We have small portions of majestic redwoods and sequoia forests protected in National Parks that would be long gone to barrel staves and whaling ships unless our forebears, in their “collectivist” wisdom, fought long and hard and prevailed over those who were trumpeting individual property rights.

In every age, there are those who are focused on short term goals with their vision limited by making money. Our governor is one of them and this kind of attitude is on the ascendancy in Texas because these types of people are whom we are electing to office.

You can hug a big sequoia today- be careful and don’t get a sliver- because people fought for the collective interest vs the land barons of the time toprotect them. photo credit: National Geographic

There really is no rational alternative to regulating human behavior for the general benefit of the community . The use of the phrase “insist on protecting unlimited liberty” is absurd.

A lesson from chickens.

Why chickens? why not? This same story could be recreated around any number of issues, but chickens it is. Once upon a time everyone had chickens running around the yard. As communities grew, and cities became more dense, laws were passed to control the raising of chickens. Yes, chickens were regulated by government. Your chicken rights were restricted..

This was necessary as cities grew, and people lived in closer quarters, and any particular family’s chicken population increased and the smell of chickens began to permeate the neighborhood and people got tired of roosters as the morning wake up call.

Now, many will cry, you are regulating people from owning chickens? Well, there is a point when you do not want your neighbor adding to their chicken population. 500 maybe, how about a million chickens? We need rules to create good neighbors and clean neighborhoods. The issue can be effective government and fair regulation, but not “protecting unlimited liberty”

Smart regulation is good for business.

And just imagine the hit to the national economy over the last century, if Americans did not have the national parks to visit and enjoy. Whole local communities depend on these national treasures for a living. They are a national treasure. Greg Abbott would have been as mad as a wet cat if he were there and lost the fight to save the sequoias for the future. He would have been fixated  on all those special interest friends who had been depending on him. He would have been livid over the economic loss.  I wonder what he would have called his opponents?

The many acres of concrete infesting the North Texas area attest to a time when poor decisions were made about sprawl and parking. We did not see this as a problem then, but we see way too much concrete paving in areas of Fort Worth, and Euless and Dallas.

We must be alert to issues which impact the livability of the city. The trees we protect today, will bless us in our old age when we are out with grand children. We will not make perfect decisions now, but we sure do not need to turn back the clock to an age when property rights prevailed over all other considerations.

Who is raising the cry about personal freedom being infringed?

Well, the instigators must be special interests and their toady minions. There are people with money that would like to move next to you and put in a million chickens. They have the money and resources to move miles away and live in an airtight home, and they feel that privilege is something that is provided by the market. If you cannot afford to move, well it is your own fault.

99% of us need to understand that this idea does not work for us and, if we don’t gather an effective perspective here, we will accumulate the nasty results of unlimited freedom. Maybe not today, maybe your neighbors first, but the impacts accumulate. Have you ever known a gambler that only added up his winnings? You would think the casino would ask them to leave, but the casino does just fine because it understands math.

Special interests are ready to take advantage of communities because they only add up the bucks that go in their pockets, and dollars spent to keep water clean, to keep air clean, to protect legacy trees: that is , to protect the public interest are a cost to them.

But what about the commulative cost to our cities and our communities? How do you account for those costs? Well, you don’t- if you think through your wallet. What costs? Those  are not real costs. there is plenty of fresh air, plenty of fresh clean water, plenty of legacy trees, there is no problem and certainly no costs. We, the 99%, must learn to do the math, because we get to live with the problems left behind.

We need smart regulation. We need clean air. We need clean water. Saving bucks at the expense of the public good in the guise of freedom is not acceptable.

In a modern society, we have to watch out for the neighbors in the struggle between individual property rights and the community. We need fair systems to protect individuals. We must be wise in the implementation of regulations. But we must  allow communities- the cities of Texas- the leeway for providing  the most humane balance tween individual rights and the community interest for the protection, prosperity and pleasure of all the people- not just the individual.

Vision and Leadership required.

We must stand vigilant against stupid ideas bolstered by false framing. We don’t have to choose between the “Texas Miracle” and legacy trees OR the “Texas Miracle” and clean water and air” these are not mutually incompatible. We can have both and those who would say otherwise, want to exchange our clean air, and or clean water and our legacy trees and our uncluttered outdoors for their few more cents of short term profit.

Let take a moment to beat up on the collectivists who created the modern sanitation system.

Once upon a time the outhouse was invented and every homestead had one. Then the septic system was invented and improved things a bit. When modern municipal plumbing was created- a “collectivist” effort- public health was greatly improved.

Modern sanitary systems are taken for granted today but their development stopped cholera and typhoid fever outbreaks which killed millions. When modern plumbing began to penetrate the local communities, as local governments planned and implemented the modern utility system, property rights of the individual were infringed, and we collectively decided that property owners would give an easement for utilities, and- outhouses and septic systems were banned in cities.

We take for granted the public efforts over the decades to collectively create a safe public space for people and children. Every step taken, intruded on the property rights of individuals.

There were those who saw these sanitary developments as an infringement on their personal freedom- as a waste of the taxpayers money- as something that they should not have to pay for. These people moved out of town and back into a more comfortable setting. I would suggest that many of these people migrated to Texas, but I don’t want to be rude.

In modern times, this battle against the common interests of citizens is in the ascendancy because Texas has elected a governor that thinks personal property rights trump the community interest. He is wrong and his supporters are wrong.

The rest of us much watch this bunch like community policemen keeping an eye on the known criminal element. We cannot let them finesse, or filter the ability of local cities to promote the general welfare in cities. We need  tell the governor to mind his own business and to leave the freedom of cities, the freedom of local communities to determine for themselves what is best for them, uninfringed.

Who has a thought to add? We need to rouse the neighbors. We have a problem. We must act now.

1 comment:

  1. […] They equate the money they can make as good for Texas; the higher the profits, the higher the income generated, the better off Texas is. They are like gamblers who always add up their winning and never track their losses. The extractors inextricably link what is good for their wallets right now with what is best for Texas. They feel that they are building the “Texas Miracle” and that unnecessary worry about fracking issues, or air quality issues, or concern about legacy trees, are an endangerment to making money. I am taking words out of Governor Greg Abbott’s mouth. […]

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