Are Libertarians Socially Conservative on Land Use?

Bill Fulton thinks so, calling them to task for speaking out against density in Orange County when, he says, the market demand is evident.

"Left to its own devices, the market would probably produce more high-density housing, because a significant portion of the market either does not want or cannot afford a traditional suburban lifestyle. Meanwhile, local government regulation – zoning -- often interferes with the market by ensuring low-density development in many areas where higher-density housing would succeed in the marketplace. This is especially true in affluent conservative suburbs, where homeowners use regulation ferociously to protect their turf. In recent years, two Orange County cities -- Mission Viejo and San Juan Capistrano -- have blocked higher-density housing proposals because of public opposition. This is part of the reason SB 375 is necessary.

But this is an inconvenient truth for the [Orang County] Register and the rest of the libertarian-leaning anti-anti-sprawl crowd. It seems to me that these folks – including such pundits as Randall O'Toole and sometimes even Sam Staley, who I've worked with and like – are so tied to conservative social values that they can't tell the difference between what people want and what they should want. In fact, however, conservative social values and the free market sometimes part."

Full Story: Sometimes The Market Demands Higher Density -- Even If Libertarians Don't




I agree, but as mentioned before, O'Toole is not a real libertarian. Look at the backgrounds of these folks. Staley is educated in an Austrian School of economics and has a planning and policy background as well. Gordon is pretty close to a true libertarian. O'Toole just lives in Oregon and doesn't like their land use control system making a denser world, just because he doesn't like it. I don't think libertarians are socially conservative on land use, I just think O'Toole doesn't like density and has made a one man crusade against it. Staley and Gordon have no problems with density as long as it results from market forces including eliminating current policies that prevent it.

Wanting everybody to be like they think they want to be.

I agree as well.

In my view, these folks have bought in - for whatever reason - to the idea that their ideology depends upon every patriot-American wanting the American Dream of a single-family detached on a large lot, because by golly! everyone wants 2.4 children and a yellow lab puppy running around their 12,000 sf lot. Certainly their argumentation depends upon this premise.

Trouble is, how many patriot-Americans get tired of figuring out who picks up the poop and cuts the lawn and trims the shrubs and pulls the weeds and cleans the gutters and paints and powerwashes the deck and changes the yuppie banner from the football team to the pumpkin?

These issues are muddied by the Register employing trite fear phrases like 'authoritarian' and scare quotes around words like "infill". It is as if the best they can do is the scare quotes.



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