19 March 2010

Sprawl vs Conservatism

Sometimes, when I read articles like this, I think that in an alternate universe wherein this was normal conservative writing, I could be a conservative... In that universe, conservatives are truly building strong communities, not just strong corporations, strong families of all types, not just families that fit a 1950s norm, strong transit infrastructure, not just more and more lanes of highways, etc..
...the rise of this hyper-ideological movement conservatism has many roots, but one important and oft-overlooked one is this modern American landscape of sprawl and steel, of suburbs and hour-long commutes, of strip-malls and vast concrete scissures. The distance created by sprawl is both a material and spiritual one. Something is lost when we tear apart the natural, organic community and replace it with long lines of indistinct houses, well-groomed lawns, and endless stretches of highway. The very wrong sort of ‘individualism’ which so infests the modern American left and right is spawned from such distances...
...
Conservatism itself is rooted more in the community and especially in the fertile soil of tradition than in the individual. In a land of strip malls and ten-lane freeways, of rampant materialism and unending competition, tradition and community become irrelevant – become skeletal ghosts on display behind panes of glass....
...
Sprawl is a result of massive statist interventions into our culture and society, and its symptoms are equally enormous. Everything that conservatism has historically stood for is undermined by sprawl. It is not only the physical manifestation of our decline, it is a poison which continues to contribute to that decline. Its repercussions can be felt in our discourse, in our speech, in our way of thinking. This is not merely a matter of aesthetically pleasing communities, but of communities which allow individuals to be a part of the whole. I doubt this is sustainable, this suburban maze – in any way: fiscally, socially, spiritually... - Trueslant

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you read Andrew Sullivan's blog? (Linked to at the top of this True/Slant entry; he helped inspire this one.)

His conservatism is refreshing, and really helps you to see the common ground. Of course, mainstream conservatives are likely to question such a person's credentials, but I think that's because mainstream conservatism has abandoned intellectual principles. Andrew is a scholar of conservative philosophy (especially Oakeshott), and hence knows what real conservatism is.

justforview said...

You might also like this.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/19/opinion/19brooks.html

Quim said...

A principle of old school conservatism appears to be a connection to agrarian roots. While some people might associate this to living in a recently deforested exurb community, I don't know if urban gardening & locavorism might be more in line with traditional conservative thinking on that point.

Radarman said...

I know what you mean. Before there were tea baggers, there were people who wanted to preserve, protect, and defend.