View Full Version : Why libertarians should hate suburban sprawl

Matt Collins
03-13-2010, 02:29 PM

Itís odd that self-described libertarians such as Stossel are so slow to grasp that government planning makes sprawl ubiquitous. You would think that libertarians would instinctively grasp the deeply statist nature of suburban development. First of all, with a depressingly few exceptions, virtually every town in America looks the same. That is, it has the same landscape of arterial roads, strip malls, and residential subdivisions, accessibly only by car. Surely, given Americaís celebrated diversity, you would also see a diversity of places. As it turns out, all but a few people live the same suburban lifestyle. Government, as libertarian assumptions would predict, is the culprit.

03-13-2010, 02:55 PM

Houston has no such zoning laws but megaproblems with sprawl.

One thing more than anything else creates sprawl: White people moving away from high-crime welfare recipients in rundown urban areas. They don't like gang graffiti and refuse and neglect or being robbed and they don't want their kids to deal with the "diversity" of the schools in those areas.

MN Patriot
03-13-2010, 03:25 PM
People gotta live somewhere. If you don't like sprawl, move to where there is no sprawl.

Zoning laws are supposedly to help make our cities more livable. Don't want the cattle yards next door to McDonald's, right? People are too stupid to figure stuff like that out without consulting with the almighty local government according to some people.

So when suburbs are built according to the pattern laid out by local or state government, some people don't like the fact that a person is able to look out their window and see another house, and has to get in their car to drive to the store.

So more zoning laws are passed, requiring a minimum lot size, like 10 acres to keep things rural. So fewer houses are built and prices go up. Then pass more laws to keep prices down. Then pass more laws to make more livable communities. Then pass more laws to attract people to live there.

Matt Collins
03-13-2010, 03:28 PM
Zoning laws are supposedly to help make our cities more livable. Don't want the cattle yards next door to McDonald's, right?Well that would be highly inefficient since there is no cow meat in McDonald's products!


(sorry, couldn't resist that one).