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jdavidb (1361)

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J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Friday August 29, 2003
12:13 PM

No coercion!

[ #14394 ]

People who live in the most spread-out areas spend fewer minutes each month walking and weigh about 6 pounds more on average than those who live in the most densely populated places. Probably as a result, they are almost as prone to high blood pressure as cigarette smokers, researchers found.

"There are lots of other reasons why we should work to contain sprawl," said study leader Reid Ewing of the University of Maryland's National Center for Smart Growth. "This could be another important reason."

--Sprawl may be bad for Americans' health

Wrong! You shouldn't work to contain sprawl; just to discourage it. Containment implies coercion, the restriction of people's liberty to choose to live in sprawl or not. Nobody has the right to tell me I can't do this solely because it's bad for my health. Perhaps there are other health benefits that offset this disadvantage, like the benefit of living near my family and having a peaceful yard to work and play in. Perhaps I find the lower crime rate of my community to be an important health benefit. Perhaps there are other non-health related benefits that I find to be worth the tradeoff. That's nobody's business but my own.

Honestly, is there some reason the response to every problem has to be, "There oughtta be a law!"?

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  • There are people with an implicit faith in government. These are people who are vehement supporters of restrictions of just about anything. Whatever the problem is, laws are the best solution.

    Ice cream trucks annoy them, they want litigation. (No, that's not actually a joke, it's the truth.)

    Were the government a well-oiled machine, and were all these legal freaks in agreement, everything would be fine for them. It's all those other people with opinions that bother them.


    You are what you think.
  • Where in the two paragraphs you quoted did the person quoted say that sprawl should be made illegal? Nowhere.

    To work to contain sprawl could just mean to create incentives (governmental and/or otherwise) to discourage it.

    I think you're overreacting rather ridiculously.
  • There's an American assumption that you have the right to spread out as wide as you like because there's always going to be more. A left over bit of Manifest Destiny from the pioneer days. Well, there ain't no more land out there and we've got to start thinking compact. European countries don't sprawl, they've figured out how to manage their land well enough to survive for the last few hundred years without a frontier to expand into. At the rate we're chewing up land, we're not going to make it even until 2050.

    This is obviously done better by incentives than legality, but there's no God Given Right for one to have a big slice of the prairie anymore.

    PS This is a reaction less to what you said and more to how forcefully you said it.

    • Well, there ain't no more land out there and we've got to start thinking compact.
      There's always Canada...
      • There still is a LOT of land in the U.S. that could be developed on. I am not in favor of eating up all the available land, but there is a lot of land to be eaten up. Most of it is in the middle of the country where no one wants to live, though. :-)