Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Heat, But No Light, on Zoning

The following letter to the editor appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times just this week. It could have been written in Watauga County in 2002:

"Vote 'No Zoning' for Buncombe County. When the first people moved to the U.S., there was no zoning. But these first people settled on the land, formed roads, built houses and businesses and all without zoning. If these first people and their ancestors had done such a bad job of creating farms, suburbs and cities why is the government trying to save all the buildings, ideas and innovations that these first people created? If the first people did such a wonderful job without zoning, then why do people today have to be forced into accepting zoning? We don't need zoning because ancestors of the first people (also known as: individuals) are more than capable of planning for the land, roads, houses and businesses. We don't need a few government bureaucrats telling thousands of people how to live their lives. If you agree, call or write the county commissioners and tell them what you think."

The assumption behind this kind of "enlightenment" is a worm that burrows into the very heart muscle of our Republic ... the arrogance of "I am the center of the universe." The author wrote her thesis on a simple dunderheaded breach of reality: "The first people who moved to the U.S. were exactly like me." "The first people"? We realize she means white Europeans with a lust for acquisition and the sure knowledge that God wanted them to dominate nature. But that bland wiping out of memory and consideration for those who really WERE here first explains a great deal about the attitudes behind "no zoning, not ever, no way."

One also wonders, naturally, just how even those first white European RE-settlers would have dealt with Wal-Mart Supercenters and your garden variety asphalt plant, with industrial-sized hog farms and strip mining. They probably would have reacted very much like the writer of that letter would react, should any of that stuff come within a whiff of HER homestead.

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