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Author Topic: urbanization, city and country attitudes, pop density issues  (Read 70684 times)

Rearden

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Re:Ranking states by city and county populations
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2002, 11:06:23 am »

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Most people in large cities also may be more communitarian by their nature or temperment or they wouldn’t be living in a large city but would be in small towns instead - even if they have to commute. The individualist or libertarian culture may have stiffer resistance in large cities and in states dominated by large cities.

Joe, while I find your number crunching impressive I refute your premise.  I am certainly an individualist.  I am also an urbanist.  There are, I'm sure, plenty of other libertarians like myself in America's cities.  

Look Joe, by definition cities are concentrations of people.  The postives and negatives of our society are magnified there due to that concentration, so they are made all the more visible.  That doesn't mean that a higher proportion of citizens are necessarily statist, despite prevailing opinion.  It just means that the problems created by that state's statist attitudes are all the more obvious.  

Let me prove my point.  You describe Vermont as being the least urbanized state, at 6%.  Of the ten candidate states, Vermont has the 9th highest proportion of citizens receiving welfare, 2.55%.  You describe Idaho as being the 9th most urbanized state.  Idaho has the lowest proportion of citizens receiving welfare, .11%.  This is a far better indicator of the individualist/statist culture of a given state than the degree of urbanization.  Cities are not inherently statist, it's just not as long a walk between welfare cases as it is in Vermont.  

It is also my opinion that the cities of America, being the places most oppressed by zoning, health, and other regulations, are brimming with people like myself, people that realize that national overreliance on the nanny state is the primary cause of the disintegration of their communities.  Although I acknowledge that a given government reflects the desires of the population at large, there is a large number of people scattered throughout cities that realize that their freedoms are being stripped away one by one in the name of the greater good, and see where this road leads.  Do not discount this!  We can recruit as many FSPers from the cities as we can from the backwoods.  


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Re:Ranking states by city and county populations
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2002, 12:10:19 pm »

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Joe, aka, Solitar---There is a correlation of decreasing liberty as population density increases and as the population of the polity itself increases.

Will this not render the FSP moot in the long run?
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Rearden

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Re:Ranking states by city and county populations
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2002, 12:11:44 pm »

Irish in Baltimore,
As to your and my examples of cities in the candidate states, their people are likely far more liberty-minded and have more of such mind-set than in really large urban areas. That's why their states are candidates and places like Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and New Jersey are not.  

So you acknowledge that cities are not necessarily inherently statist?  Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and New Jersey are not viable candidates not because of their density, but because of their large populations and demonstrated big government attitudes.  My point is that density and urbanization is not an accurate indicator of the likelihood of success of the project.  You can have urbanized populations that are profreedom, as is the case in Idaho.  You can have rural populations that are socialist, as is the case in Vermont.  That's my point.  Don't judge the ten candidate states on their density.  Judge them on their demonstrated policies.  

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The FSP can certainly draw many liberty-starved refugees from the urban states but the FSP and a resulting Free State can not succeed in those urban states. There is a correlation of decreasing liberty as population density increases and as the population of the polity itself increases. That is why I give a ranking of our candidate states for size of urban communities and population of counties.

Um, no.  This is a gross generalization which my previous post addressed.  Idaho's population is more urban than Vermont's, but has a lower proportion on welfare.  This is demonstratable fact, not anecdotal folk wisdom.  

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for the FSP members who are voting on a state, the differences may affect their decisions - some for very large cities, some for states without such (and many of us may regard anything over 100,000 as a large metropolis - which is a mere neighborhood for those used to cities of millions.

All I'm saying is that we shouldn't hold cities and the percentage of urban population against the ten candidate states.  I've shown why -- it's a completely inaccurate indicator.  There are much better ways to judge the political culture of the states, like comparing actual policies.  Libertarianism and urbanism are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  

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Rearden

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Re:Ranking states by city and county populations
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2002, 02:03:57 pm »

Irish In Baltimore,
There is a continuum of statism, authoritarianism, and communitarianism. Some areas of people have it worse than others. The more populous and  more dense the city, the  more their people are afflicted with these ideas. Cities ARE inherently more statist and  more communitarian and their governments  more authoritarian.

If what you say is true, and I don't think it is, then, as Americans overwhelmingly choose to live in cities and their surrounding suburbs, our country is irretrievably lost forever and the FSP is completely moot.  Even if we succeed somewhere, our success will doubtless attract many others, resulting in rapid growth of our cities and towns.  We will become urbanized, and, you argue, inevitably more socialist.  

You say that a libertarian city is impossible.  I disagree.

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According to people who've moved here from Vermont and New Hampshire and according to others on this forum and elsewhere, the socialists in Vermont came from New York and other metropolitan areas...

The socialists who invaded Vermont were spoiled educated children of wealthy suburban families who were seeking to "get back to nature," which usually meant trying to grow the best quality pot possible.  Drawn there by freedom, they quickly set about erasing it.  In a very ironic way, Vermont's individualist culture resulted in its conversion to socialism.  

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My point is that density and urbanization are accurate indicators of the likelihood of success of the project.

I think we're going to have to agree to disagree about this.  My facts clearly show they are not.  Your own figures show that 39% of Idahoans live in cities of more than 25,000 people, a percentage second only to Alaska.  Yet Idaho has a _significantly_ less porportion of citizens on welfare.  Montana - 1.55%, North Dakota - 1.20%.  Idaho only has .11%!  That means that Montana has a welfare rate that is more than 14 times grater than Idaho! That is statistically significant.

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Even the policies they have implemented may not be true indicators of the liberty-mindedness of their residents. Vermont, for instance, may have a large proportion of conservative traditionalists who have given up voting in the face of the invasion of socialists. Thus we try to infer the liberty-mindedness of their residents as best we can using other measures.

I partially agree with this statement.  We cannot simply look at one date point, for that does not paint an accurate picture.  Vermont, for instance, has the most libertarian gun laws in the nation.  Looking at only this consideration would be horribly misleading.  On the other hand, if you look at a candidate state, and see that it has no sales tax, no income tax, no helmet laws, no seatbelt laws, has a low number of people on welfare, and spends the least amount in the country on government, well, that points to a culture of freedom.  Compared to that, your "low density=freedom" argument... well, I just don't think it holds water.  

I respect your opinion, Joe, and I sincerely hope we're neighbors one day.  But we're on different sides of this fence.
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Rearden

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Re:Ranking states by city and county populations
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2002, 03:11:08 pm »

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[qote]
Having lived about 25 years or so in one of the largest population centers in the US (LA area) I understand your perspective,
My sympathies.  While I've never lived in LA my friends that have uniformly describe it as a dehumanizing experience, surrounded by your fellow man but perpetually separated by the fact that you can't get a carton of milk without a car.  
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however I would rather suggest that such folks as are here are exceptions to the rule. For the most part, we folks who like liberty like to see it, which directly equates to having a bit of elbow room.

Hmm.  I'd like to see liberty, too, in conjunction with my choice to live in a city.  Do you, like Joe, argue that this is impossible?  I don't disagree that libertarianism is the exception to the rule in most cities, I'm simply saying that libertarianism is also the exception to the rule in many rural areas.  

Honestly, Mouseborg, in all those wide open states you advocate for, how many people really would support legalizing heroin?  That sentiment is expressed much more in cities, where the damage of the failed drug war is readily seen, than in the western wilderness.    I believe the state we choose will have to be a marriage of the values of both east and west, urban and rural.  

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I would also strongly suggest that the system set up by our Founding Fathers was not intended to work properly in our present situation of huge population centers.

To illustrate: how many here who intend to vote can say they have actually met, in person, and spoken with, the people attached to the names they see on the ballot (concerning local candidates of course)?

In cities this is rare (yes I know there are exceptions, but once more, those are precisely that - exceptions), but in small towns such as where I live, it isn't at all unusual.

Knowing who that person is, on a genuine basis, makes a world of difference, since most get their info on such from the media.

Actually, I personally know five of Baltimore's six state senators, twelve of our eighteen state delegates, and all of our eighteen city councilmen.  Not to mention the fact that I'm on a first name basis with the Mayor.  This is in a city of 650,000 people.  Now, I know I'm more politically involved than most, but I will argue strongly that the more dense the area in question, the more "face time" citizens are likely to get with the candidates in question.  This fall I ran five reelection campaigns in Baltimore, and we went door-to-door for four hours every night for three months.  My candidates talked to virtually all of their constituents.  In addition, they regularly attend community meetings, and have an open-door policy for any constituent.  They are not "Senator Smith" to those in the neighborhood, they are called "George."

Campaigning in rural areas, according to my colleagues who work in western Maryland and the Eastern Shore, consists of a series of rallies and "sign waves" over highway overpasses.  They just don't have the density to make "face time" feasible.  

MouseBorg, it's good to debate this issue again with you.  
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George Reich

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Re:Ranking states by city and county populations
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2002, 03:33:33 pm »

irishinbaltimore -

I know exactly what you mean about getting to meet and chat with candidates in a more populated area. Here in New Hampshire it is required for candidates to really "press the flesh" or they won't get votes. That's one of the arguments people always use to  justify keeping the first presidential primary in NH.

Some FSP-ers have made the argument that NH must be statist because John McCain won the primary. Far from the truth - they do not know what a perfect campaign McCain ran here (he must have had some good advice). He was all over the state in town meetings, forums, and many other venues where actual discussion could take place. Anyone who wanted to could have met and talked to him several times. Bush not only ran a lousy campaign, but New Hampshirites don't warm up to him easily to begin with.

As an amusing aside, here are a few I've met over the years with my personal observations: Al Gore (cold and creepy), John McCain (came across as quite thoughtful), Steve Forbes (very warm and personable - he just came walking up my driveway one day and introduced himself - very down-to-earth), Bob Dole (seemed crotchety like his image), Elizabeth Dole (very warm and friendly), and Bill Clinton (actually seemed like someone who would be fun to go have a beer with!).

 ;D
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Re:Ranking states by city and county populations
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2002, 05:02:56 pm »

Pedantic interlude:

Houston is actually the city with no zoning.  8)
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Re:Ranking states by city and county populations
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2002, 06:21:48 pm »

Oh, and nearly forgot, the Denver Zoo rocks!

Mousie!  As a small furry creature, you must know that zoos are evil.  >:(
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Re:urbanisation
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2002, 07:30:14 pm »

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irishinbaltimore wrote:
Urban libertarians like myself know that our cities have in the past been centers of freedom, and that nanny-style governments do not necessarily follow density.  We can have our urban lifestyle and live free.  For this reason I urge members to pick a state that is balanced, with a large amount of rural area, but at least one decent-sized city.

Glad to have you aboard, and I agree with you fully.  

Who remembers the movie "Footloose"?  Sorry, I just don't buy the argument that rural or small-town folks are natural libertarians.  Look where all the libertarian institutions are located: Reason is in LA; Cato moved from San Francisco to Washington, DC; George Mason University is in Virginia near DC.

Low-density Sweden is one of the world's most socialist nations, while high-density Singapore is one of the least.  But Singapore is only economically free? Okay, the Netherlands is Europe's most dense country (what a traffic nightmare), and yet has the greatest personal freedom.  We can have our cities and our freedom too.

Cities exist for a good reason.  Trying to avoid them completely defies laws of economics, and will detract from our prosperity, and thus harming our ultimate success.

We need to keep beating into libertarians' heads the concept of subsidiarity: people living together in a city, or gated community, should be free to regulate at the *local* level, just not at the state level.  If a community doesn't want alcohol, prostitution, or ferrets, fine.  I would hope that urban libertarians would at least retain the reflex to regulate as little as possible, but if they want to live in a particular environment (e.g. family-friendly, nudist, no-children) that is their business.  If they want a gun-free environment, that is their risk; I wouldn't live there.
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Re:urbanisation
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2002, 07:41:53 pm »

Was the movie Footloose based on fact? Unless it is I would not use it as the foundation of my argument. My only problem with the city issue is what you define as a city. Some on here seem to define city as over 25,000 while others define city as the eastern megapolis. I tend to go with the former.
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Re:urbanisation
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2002, 08:29:50 pm »

I grew up in a dinky farm community of 550. My HS graduating class was less than 100. I attended college in Des Moines, which was a major shock to this small-town girl, but not nearly so much as moving to Chicago 4 years later.

After 5 years in that place, I was quite happy to move to the 'burbs. During my sentence in Chicago, I witnessed some of the most socialist and least patriotic behavior; I was thoroughly disgusted. I have nothing against urbanization, but socialist thinking is often a symptom of it, in my experience. Even the 'burbs are not immune. I am quite ready to go back to my rural, country roots, so to speak.

- Lykaina
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Robert H.

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Re:urbanisation
« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2002, 02:38:44 am »

Government generally tends to grow for two reasons:  1) People refuse to govern themselves properly, leading to conflicts that require control lest they produce chaos, and 2) People think they know best how others should live, leading to government philanthropy, "paying your fair share," bowing down to the powers-that-be, etc.  

More people in less space equals increased competition for fewer resources, which in turn lends itself to the natural growth of monopolies, which in turn restrict freedom.  This increased competition for less return inspires some to take what they can get however they can get it, leading to either increased regulation and restriction to maintain control, or confiscation and redistribution in order to be "fair."  On the other hand, this increased competition for less return also causes those who do hold power and control to do whatever they can to keep from losing it, leading to measures that further restrict freedom and access to the system thus increasing dependency.  This is the urban dilemma.

The more people you place together in one location, the more their increased interaction with one another will increase either their interference with one another or their dependency upon one another.  It may take time to develop, but there is a consistent pattern that we can observe throughout history, including the history of our own country.  The most statist areas of the United States revolve around large population centers.  Can this all be just coincidence?  

As for libertarian organizations, etc., think-tank groups generally like to locate close to centers of government and policy so that they can lobby for maximum effect and for maximum exposure of their ideas.  But I would have to ask here, for all of those organizations that are so close to the large population centers, how much of an impact have they had there?  They may inspire followers from many different places, but their mere presence has not made those areas any more libertarian than they were before.  L.A., Washington DC, and Northern Virginia are growing increasingly more statist in spite of Reason, Cato, and GMU.

In contrast, more suburban and rural peoples already live somewhat separated from one another, which forces them to be more naturally independent.  There is less competition for greater resources.  Conflict still exists, but there is simply less of it, and thus less of the natural consequences of it as described above.

To build a successful libertarian society, I believe that you have to start small and work your way into the population centers.  For one thing, you need to prove that your ideas can work.  I don't know of anyone who builds a skyscraper before building a scale model, so consider suburban or rural reforms as a scale model for what you intend to do on a much grander scale.  Another aspect in favor of suburban or rural areas is that there is greater access to the system, thus a greater chance to actually get in there and build your scale model in a realistic timeframe and with less natural resistance.

We can stand back and say:  "Well, if we'd just apply libertarian principles, this would not need to be the case.  A city could be just as free as the countryside."  This is a fine notion, but it has some fundamental flaws:

1.  People tend to be creatures of passion and impulse rather than creatures of reason and deliberation.  We must deal with the world as it is, not as we envision that it should rightly be.  The greatest challenge to our long-term success will be to change fundamental aspects of the way people think about government and about their relations with one another.  This will take a tremendous amount of time and effort, and we may ultimately be successful, but we must first deal with the system as we currently find it.

2.  The more people that are gathered in one place, the more they tend to see one another less as individuals and more as "society."  This in turn encourages the belief that society itself is an entity with various "rights," an idea that ultimately destroys individual liberty.  We can argue that this is not a correct viewpoint to hold, but once again, we must face the reality that we do not live in a perfect world where reason always prevails.  We should not view each other this way, but this does not change the fact that we often DO.  This "society" mentality is the reason why someone who would not think of robbing anyone for money in an alley will still eagerly vote a statist into office to do essentially the same thing under the guise of law.  We de-individualize one another, and what was once unthinkable becomes perfectly acceptable because it does not impact any one person that we can identify.  It impacts "society."

3.  The necessary trappings of city life prevent you from being as free as someone in an urban or suburban area can be.  If I live in a high-rise apartment complex, can I drill a well for my own water?  Can I set up a windmill to generate my own power?  Can I install solar panels?  You may have multiple choices in who supplies you with water, power, gas, etc., but you do not have the choice to meet those needs for yourself and thus be independent of others.  You merely have a choice between multiple suppliers for your dependency.

If someone else's apartment catches fire or their pipes burst, does that not affect me in ways that it would not affect someone else who did not live in such an environment?  I'm not knocking city life per se here; some people enjoy living in close quarters with others and taking advantage of what amenities the city does have to offer, but there are also some things that you indisputibly lack in the way of freedoms as well.  If you choose to give up one for the other, that's your decision and more power to you.  I myself prefer to live farther out of the city, but still within reasonable reach of what it has to offer.

So all of this to say that I believe it is demonstrable that urbanization trends negatively with regard to freedom in general.  It seems that the best way to prevent people from interfering with one another, or from depending upon one another, in ways that facilitate the growth of government, is to spread them farther apart.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2002, 03:26:07 am by Robert Hawes »
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Re:Ranking states by city and county populations
« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2002, 03:59:05 am »

If what you say is true, and I don't think it is, then, as Americans overwhelmingly choose to live in cities and their surrounding suburbs, our country is irretrievably lost forever and the FSP is completely moot.  Even if we succeed somewhere, our success will doubtless attract many others, resulting in rapid growth of our cities and towns.  We will become urbanized, and, you argue, inevitably more socialist.  

Joe answers this well, I think.  The FSP, by handling smaller, more manageable and more easily accessible areas, can provide successful examples of libertarian ideals in practice, examples that might then appeal to more populous areas.  But they're not going to take us seriously if we don't first show them some evidence that we should be taken seriously.  Smaller population areas provide more in the way of access to the system, and more access to the system equals more opportunity to set our plans in motion, see them succeed, and thus provide that evidence we need.

Joe also points out that we can be, at the very least, a refuge for those fleeing statist areas in the future.  This by itself would make us far from moot.

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You say that a libertarian city is impossible.  I disagree.

It would not be impossible, but it would be extremely difficult in the long run.  Cities crowd more people together in tighter competition for fewer resources and exacerbate their natural tendencies to either interfere with one another or depend upon one another.  History teaches us that when society begins to crumble, it starts with the cities.  After all, how many examples have you heard of people "fleeing to the cities" in times of crisis?  They generally flee from the cities, "head for the hills," etc.

If the FSP succeeds, we will be literally changing the foundational basis upon which many people currently think, altering their view of government, and of their interaction with one another as well.  This will be a tremendous task involving tremendous amounts of time and effort no matter where it is attempted.  But it will be arguably simpler away from the major population centers.  For one thing, big city infrastructure is currently based on ideologies that support conformity and dependency.  Dismantling that sort of system could be a life's work just by itself.  I'd rather see us suceed somewhere else first, that way we at least have a workable blueprint to use in attempting to take our reforms to the big city challenge.

If we succeed in a rural or semi-rural area, and we begin to attract others, we will have a luxury that none of the current major populations centers possess:  the ability to build upward on a foundation of solid ideals.  Changing the big cities now would involve more of a tearing-down and restructuring process on a massive scale.  I think that it's far better to build the building right the first time than to tear it down and put it all back together again.  It will undoubtedly collapse in the distant future, as all human institutions inevitably do, but at the very least, it may outlast the competition.

Also, higher population does not automatically equal "big city."  People can still be spread out in a suburbia fashion rather than heaped together, and I think this would be preferrable as far as the future of freedom is concerned (if you don't have the luxury of dealing with a small population, that is).  But this still requires space, something in short supply out east.

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Re:Ranking states by city and county populations
« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2002, 08:49:51 am »

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Robert Hawes wrote:
They generally flee from the cities, "head for the hills," etc.

People generally flee from where life is bad to where life is good.  Crises tend to happen where the people are ("I rob banks because that's where the money is."), and the people tend to be in cities.

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After all, how many examples have you heard of people "fleeing to the cities" in times of crisis?
Lots.  

For starters, the overwhelming global trend over the past couple of centuries has been urbanization, as agriculture becomes more efficient, and people move to the cities to work in factories.

But if you want acute crises, people do flee famine and war in the countryside for the wealthier, defendable city.

In the US, blacks fled the rural South for northern cities.  Whites then fled the cities for the suburbs.

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History teaches us that when society begins to crumble, it starts with the cities.
I must have missed that lesson.  Perhaps I was in Russia, where the rural villages are decaying, as everyone capable moves to Moscow.

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Cities crowd more people together in tighter competition for fewer resources
You keep repeating that "competition for resources" bogeyman, and I just don't see it.  I live in a city, and I am not "competing for resources" more than I would be anywhere else.  Yes, some resources (e.g. land) are more scarce, so the price goes up (e.g. of parking spaces), but the cost of other resources (e.g. communication means) goes down.  Overall, life is more efficient, and the standard of living higher, so there is money to spend on the less-scarce resources (e.g. food).  Resources not found in the city (e.g. water and food) are brought in, same as resources not found in the country (e.g. manufactured goods) are brought out.

That line of argument is non-productive. If you want to argue that inherent weaknesses of human psychology turn us statist as we crowd together, I'll listen to that.  For example, it probably is the case that politically unsophisticated people who want to extend regulations appropriate to the local level to the state or national level.  I have observed this in Swedes, who think that the laws and welfare state model of a nation of 8 million should be used in the US, with 30 times the population.

If you want to argue that prosperity attracts parasites, I could go along with that as well.  The fight against parasites is unending.

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While I've never lived in LA my friends that have uniformly describe it as a dehumanizing experience, surrounded by your fellow man but perpetually separated by the fact that you can't get a carton of milk without a car.
I grew up in Simi Valley, a suburb of LA and now home of the Reagan Library.  There was nothing dehumanizing about having to drive for groceries; we had nice neighborhoods with good relations.  By the way, in rural areas, you have to drive your car to see your neighbors and friends, and also for milk (unless you have your own cow).  I spent two years at UCLA, and did not feel at all dehumanized as I biked to the beach.

What was dehumanizing was socialism in Russia, where I had to go from store to store in search of milk.  That I was on foot did not make it any better.

I am not insisting on a 100% urban state, and I wish you would just throw us urbanites a bone and accept that some people like cities (you don't have to understand or agree with it) and expect to have one nearby.  Even if what you say is true, that they necessarily breed statists, the risk to the FSP is outweighed by the lack of participation you can expect if we pick a completely rural state, and the lack of employment you can expect among those who do move.
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Re:Ranking states by city and county populations
« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2002, 11:33:14 am »

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Robert Hawes wrote:
They generally flee from the cities, "head for the hills," etc.

People generally flee from where life is bad to where life is good.  Crises tend to happen where the people are ("I rob banks because that's where the money is."), and the people tend to be in cities.

That's exactly the point.

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After all, how many examples have you heard of people "fleeing to the cities" in times of crisis?

Lots.  

For starters, the overwhelming global trend over the past couple of centuries has been urbanization, as agriculture becomes more efficient, and people move to the cities to work in factories.

But if you want acute crises, people do flee famine and war in the countryside for the wealthier, defendable city.

I wouldn't say that the trend has been toward urbanization so much as there are more people than at any other time in world history (so far as we can tell) and the cities in general are thus much larger than in the past.  The Industrial Revolution also helped to greatly increase urban populations.  In the past, the Industrial Revolution aside, most people would probably have lived in cities, or at least large villages, because they were safer from raiding enemy forces there.  With the changes that have occurred over the last few centuries though, we seem to have more people living outside of cities than at any point in the past.  It's simply safer for them to do so for one thing, and for another thing, wealth is no longer solely the property of kings and princes.  

More recent trends have shown a migration away from the most heavily populated areas, particularly in the U.S. where census results show people moving south and west from the north and east.

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In the US, blacks fled the rural South for northern cities.  Whites then fled the cities for the suburbs.

It would have made sense for them to do so because the North was a more industrialized society, hence a larger emphasis on cities.  And a large number of blacks actually went to Canada instead of stopping in the North due to the fugitive slave laws.

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"History teaches us that when society begins to crumble, it starts with the cities."

I must have missed that lesson.  Perhaps I was in Russia, where the rural villages are decaying, as everyone capable moves to Moscow.

Perhaps you were.  Russia, where everything is basically decaying, is absolutely no comparison to the U.S., rural or otherwise.  Russian society was extremely centralized for a very long time, and it makes sense that the bulk of resources and capital would still remain in the major cities.

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"Cities crowd more people together in tighter competition for fewer resources"

You keep repeating that "competition for resources" bogeyman, and I just don't see it.  I live in a city, and I am not "competing for resources" more than I would be anywhere else.  

Competition for resources is not a bogeyman, it's a fact.  No matter where you live, if there are available resources, and more than one person present, there will be some sort of competition for those resources.  If you've ever tried to do anything to further your career, enhance your pay, reduce your cost of living, or just "get ahead" in general, you have competed for resources.  The better pay goes to the person with better qualifications, etc...

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Yes, some resources (e.g. land) are more scarce, so the price goes up (e.g. of parking spaces), but the cost of other resources (e.g. communication means) goes down.  Overall, life is more efficient, and the standard of living higher, so there is money to spend on the less-scarce resources (e.g. food).  Resources not found in the city (e.g. water and food) are brought in, same as resources not found in the country (e.g. manufactured goods) are brought out.

Living has to be more efficient in cities because there is a large population living in a relatively small area.  Also, the standard of living is higher partly because the cost of living itself is higher.  Granted, there is also greater wealth and power concentrated in cities as well, so both elements have something to do with it.

And which would you rather be without?  The water and food that must be brought in, or the manufactured goods that you ship out?

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That line of argument is non-productive.

I don't see why.

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If you want to argue that inherent weaknesses of human psychology turn us statist as we crowd together, I'll listen to that.  For example, it probably is the case that politically unsophisticated people who want to extend regulations appropriate to the local level to the state or national level...If you want to argue that prosperity attracts parasites, I could go along with that as well.  The fight against parasites is unending.

All true.

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I grew up in Simi Valley, a suburb of LA and now home of the Reagan Library.  There was nothing dehumanizing about having to drive for groceries; we had nice neighborhoods with good relations.  By the way, in rural areas, you have to drive your car to see your neighbors and friends, and also for milk (unless you have your own cow).  I spent two years at UCLA, and did not feel at all dehumanized as I biked to the beach.

I never said that you did.  I was referring to a general principle of what seems to happen to people when they crowd together.  Again, most people will readily vote for someone to go to Washington, or the state capital, and take money out of other people's pockets when they would never think of doing it on an individual basis.  Viewing "society" in general de-individualizes people and makes statism more attractive or at least less threatening.

You also have to realize that, as a liberty-minded person, you have a fundamentally different way of viewing society and the individuals that comprise it.

And some people still have milk and groceries delivered.  I understand that this is more common in the cities.  As for driving to the store, I don't live in the sticks and yet I have to do that anyway.  For most cities that I've been in, it seems like you'd have quite a walk to the nearest store, and quite a haul on the way back.  Personally, I'd rather load everything up in the car than carry or push it back home anyway.

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What was dehumanizing was socialism in Russia, where I had to go from store to store in search of milk.  That I was on foot did not make it any better.

I'm sure it didn't.  But once again, comparing Russia to America really isn't a good comparison so much as it is a good contrast.  

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I am not insisting on a 100% urban state, and I wish you would just throw us urbanites a bone and accept that some people like cities (you don't have to understand or agree with it) and expect to have one nearby.  

I'm not insisting on a 100% rural state, and I wish you would just throw us suburbanites a bone and accept that some of us don't like the big crowds (you don't have to understand or agree with it).  Please understand that I'm not mocking you here, just illustrating that this statement is totally reversible.  

And just because we don't necessarily like the big crowds doesn't mean that we don't like to be within relatively close proximity to good-sized malls or good places to eat either.   ;D  I think that we sometimes look at this "urbanization" issue as a choice between either downtown Chicago, Illinois or Sticks, Nebraska.  There are happy mediums out there.

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Even if what you say is true, that they necessarily breed statists, the risk to the FSP is outweighed by the lack of participation you can expect if we pick a completely rural state, and the lack of employment you can expect among those who do move.

What about the risk to the FSP that those who don't like crowded places won't join?  And as far as lack of employment goes, there are definitely jobs to be had in the west, and we will create further opportunities wherever we go as well.  Locating to a western state doesn't necessarily mean living in a sleeping bag on the mesa and eating cactus.   ;)

I actually think that the greatest risk to the FSP is being marginalized by taking on too powerful and entrenched a system with too inexperienced a group of activists.

« Last Edit: November 06, 2002, 11:43:20 am by Robert Hawes »
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