Tea Partiers Target Smart Growth "Conspiracy"

Mother Jones magazine reports on how tea party hostility towards "big government" is now being levelled at Agenda 21 and other smart growth initiatives, in the belief that they are part of an international conspiracy.

Urban density and public transit funding are, according to some tea party activists, part of a wider conspiracy to herd Americans into "habitation zones" and deprive them of their freedoms. According to Mother Jones,

"Agenda 21 paranoia has swept the tea party scene, driving activists around the country to delve into the minutiae of local governance. [They] believe that Agenda 21-unveiled during the UN's "Earth Summit" in 1992-is really a plot to curtail private property rights and deprive Americans of precious constitutional freedoms. In reality, the document will do nothing of the sort, but it has nevertheless been the target of conspiracy-minded UN haters for years.

[Now some] local planning fights reveal a little-understood characteristic of the tea party movement: its inherently suburban nature. Not only does the movement's agenda derive from a hostility to what it sees as elites, but it's also hostile to the places those elites live-namely, cities and more densely populated areas-which makes sustainable development a natural issue for activists. Call them the newest pro-sprawl lobby."

The article points out that, while it may be easy to dismiss some of this as crazy conspiracy-mongering, tea partiers may well help to derail some of the smart growth agenda.

Full Story: The Tea Party Targets... Sustainable Development?

Comments

Comments

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

(re: Agenda 21) OK, it's absurd, but....

consider how smart growth is viewed by many environmentalists, illustrated by Environmentalists Torn Over Smart Growth. I only wish that these parties would react as strongly to the current set of local government planning codes, e.g. how many off-street parking spots are required with any development. I think there are more similarities there....Regardless, another revealing report by Mother Jones - thanks for catching it, Michael.

property rights, myth?

Does smart growth take away property rights? In other words, what are the clear and measurable impacts of smart growth on property rights?

--
Michael Cote
Environmental Urban Planner
3 Hampton Ave #47
Northampton, Mass., 01060
Phone: (206) 550-3034
Email: michaelcote@gmail.com
Web: http://umass.academia.edu/MichaelCote

SG and property rights.

You are going to get a lot of spam by posting your e-mail in that form here.

Nonetheless, I fail to understand how SG takes away property rights. What is it taking away? Large-lot single-fam. What dies it give? More development choices. How is that a lose?

Best,

D

Michael Lewyn's picture
Blogger

Smart growth and property rights

Re the impact of smart growth on property rights: It all depends on the meaning of terms like "smart growth" and "property rights", both of which are very fuzzy terms indeed.

is "smart growth" really sustainable?

As some of the previous comments have indicated, it is questionable whether endless growth directed into high density projects is really sustainable. I don't think it is. Additionally, it smacks of big brother style government by depriving people of choice when it comes to housing. This is one thing that I agree with the Tea Party folks about.

The sustainability of using scare quotes.

As some of the previous comments have indicated, it is questionable whether endless growth directed into high density projects is really sustainable.

Um, zero of the previous comments indicated such. Why are you mischaracterizing the previous comments?

Additionally, it smacks of big brother style government by depriving people of choice when it comes to housing.

Actually, it offers more choice..as you say... as previous comments have indicated.

But thanks for trying. Good job at trying!!

Best,

D

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