Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reason's commenters put Reason contributers to shame

Reason Magazine, the Reason Foundation, and Cato are generally pretty okay libertarian standard-bearers, but they lose serious libertarian cred when it comes to land use. In those areas, they've been completely coopted by hacks like Randal O'Toole, Wendell Cox, and Robert Poole, who take every opportunity to bash the budding New Urbanist movement over its support of anti-sprawl land use regulations, without recognizing that the biggest part of the New Urbanist agenda is to repeal the highly restrictive minimum density zoning laws, minimum parking requirements, and other regulations that limit the sort of unregulated, organic growth that we see in the oldest and most desired parts of American and European cities today.

So anyway, it was totally unsurprising to see this article by Cox referenced in's blog, where he blames the recent subprime meltdown on New Urbanism. But what I was surprised to see is the incredible outpour of knowledge in the comments section, where various commenters methodically rip Cox's argument to shreds. Reason ought to look into its land use and transportation coverage, and instead of relying on these tired one-trick ponies, perhaps hire some of the commentators. They, at least, recognize that New Urbanism is nothing compared to the already-entrenched pro-sprawl regulations that have been in place since the advent of the automobile.


Anonymous said...

Yes. These Cox-O'Tool people are paid to say that single-fam detached is what everyone wants! No, REALLY!

This is, of course, false. Their consternation is because their POV is false.


Anonymous said...

Also their viewpoint is the most distant from true Libertarian, or free-market ideals.

Regulations aren't the problem and they are the problem. The crux is when money backs one method or the other or limits choice. We'll never see free markets at work in zoning or transportation again in this country ( I dread ). But listening to them we just get more skewed results than we should.

What we need is balance that the markets would provide but cannot because of subsidies and other interference. Unfortunately that means finding zoning rules and regulations that balance out things but also a way to balance the subsidies funding transport modes. Without some balance we'll keep getting highly slanted sprawl verus urban growth.