By Ron Ewart
November 2, 2016
At the start of this great country, around 1776, there might have been 3 million inhabitants of the Continental United States, mostly concentrated along the East Coast in the original thirteen colonies, not including the native population. Now at 320,000,000, we are more than 100 times that 3,000,000.
The space between inhabitants in the late 1700’s was fairly significant. News was printed and sometimes took days, weeks, or even months to reach the far outreaches of the Republic. The country was mostly agrarian, as the industrial revolution and the corresponding rush to big cities had not yet begun. After the revolution secured America’s freedom, Americans took up the task of living as free individuals with the freedom of space to insulate them from the vagaries of abnormal human behavior. Americans were spread out, productive, creative, industrious, generous and mostly civil, the Hatfield and McCoys not withstanding. There was no government assistance available and yet they survived.
But agrarian living was sometimes sparse and did not provide predictable income. Weather, pestilence and erratic markets added to that unpredictability. Soon, new sources of power, like the steam engine, brought us the industrial revolution. As industries started sprouting up around big cities that provided the labor to keep those industries thriving and alive, people started moving off of the farms and headed for the big cities, where jobs were available and eking out a living was not quite as problematic. But for all actions, there are usually unintended consequences and such it was as city populations grew.
Sometimes the jobs would dry up as the industrial revolution evolved and technology, markets and fortunes ebbed and flowed. Sometimes large segments of the city populations would be out of work when a large manufacturer closed down. The Great Depression came along in the late 1920’s and large percentages of city populations could not find a job. City folk had no way to produce the food, clothing and shelter they needed to survive. In contrast, their country cousins could grow what they needed, had a roof over their heads and could live off of the land, no matter how primitive it might be. If they had a little extra, they would help out their neighbors, who by circumstances may have been a little less well off. Civility and mutual respect was the rural landowner’s creed and still is for the most part today.
Not so in big cities. The fact is, a hungry belly has nothing to lose by petitioning (or protesting) their government for a handout and civility is the last thing on their minds. If people are hungry enough, they have nothing to lose by resorting to violence. They either turn to crime or the government. The government was all-too-willing to provide that assistance in return for votes and thus socialism was born and socialism is where we are today. Way too many people live in big cities and are incapable of helping themselves when times get tough. Hurricane Katrina at New Orleans showed us that in spades. Government thrives and grows on big-city dependency.
President Franklin Roosevelt’s (FDR) popularity came from his willingness to violate the constitution in order to “feed” the helpless in big cities. In one of his fireside chats in 1944, not much before he died, he told the American people:
“This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty. As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness. We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all…”
“Among these new rights are the right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries, or shops or farms or mines of the Nation; The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation; The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living; The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad; The right of every family to a decent home; The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health; The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment; The right to a good education.”
FDR was not a good student of, or chose to ignore, our Constitution and the enumerated rights of the people it promised. In fact, FDR was a socialist. He further chose to ignore the limitations placed on government. FDR decided to expand the people’s “rights” well beyond the Constitution and government (the taxpayer) would provide the funds for those expanded rights. FDR was more a dictator than a President. Many presidents since FDR have followed in his dictatorial footsteps, to the detriment of freedom and the ultimate rise of socialism.
But the behavior of individuals living tightly in big cities produces its own share of problems. High crime rates and noise, air, water and human waste pollution are just a few of the consequences. Big cities require large police forces to enforce laws and civility. Big cities dump their concentrated pollution on the environment but then demand that everyone else comply with environmental regulations.
Big cities are also dangerous places to be in times of war and natural disasters. Earthquakes, fires, floods and rapidly spreading diseases find ready victims in big cities resulting in large losses of life. Most of the deaths occurring from the Black Plague, during the era of the Dark Ages, occurred in the cities where the concentrated garbage and human waste attracted the rats that carried the fleas that carried the disease.
During war, opposing enemies don’t bomb the countryside, they bomb big cities where the manufacturing plants build the machines and weapons of war and where large populations of men, women and children can be killed to bring the enemy to its knees, ala Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Man’s need to congregate can sometimes work to his detriment.
But the other consequence of high-dense urban living is the steady lowering of the bar of civility, respect and trust. Human behavior changes under the conditions of living closer together. It does so because of a basic human fact. No matter what the government, socialists, psychologists, or the environmentalists will tell you, people like and need “their” space and the space does not come in a 1,000 sq. ft. apartment in a 25-story building, surrounded by concrete on all sides, in a big city. Suburbs became a partial answer to the human need for space. But then the suburbs began to increase in density as governments got into the act of “planning” where we live and work. Environmentalists came along and lobbied the government planners to stop suburban expansion because it took up too much land that animals needed to survive.
We attended a conference of real estate folks several years ago in which a bunch of big city, over-educated planners were extolling the virtues of their profession; planned, high-dense big cities. At the end of their speeches we asked them if they were aware of the study of rats versus density and what happens to the rats as density is increased. We knew that the studies showed that higher densities produce hostile behavior, infanticide, suicide and cannibalism in the rats. This abnormal behavior increased as the density of the rat population increased. One of the planners responded that he was aware of the studies but he said the studies were flawed. We asked him why and he responded with, “because they didn’t give the rats parks”. His answer was not to be flippant. He was dead serious.
History has shown us that people don’t behave well when crammed together in big cities. Big cities are bastions of socialism, dependency and government control. Big cities, with their majorities, control the legislative process and give us legislators that support socialism, more laws and environmental extremism. The people who inhabit big cities are more apt to believe whatever the government tells them and act like mindless lemmings. The current propaganda and mass hysteria of man-caused global warming is a prime example. Yes, big cities are large markets of consumers and bring us commerce that helps to fund the country. But we wonder if the price is worth it.
There is now a determined social justice and environmental protection agenda by American policy makers to cram more people into large cities. Liberal, over-educated, government-paid planners spend all of their time drafting acts, laws, rules, restrictions, regulations and ordinances to direct the movement of populations ever tighter into big cities. Draconian environmental protection laws are purposely designed to drive more people out of the rural areas and force them into big cities. The rural areas are to be protected from humans at all costs, without regard to constitutional protections or the rights of rural landowners.
This purposeful design was first created in a 1992 United Nations policy paper entitled, Agenda 21. It was then codified into American law by presidential executive orders, without a treaty being ratified. This socialist policy now permeates every level of government and is taught in our K-12 public schools and our very liberal colleges. Government sanctifies this policy with soft sounding names like “Social Equity”, “Smart Growth”, “Sustainable Development”, “Endangered Species”, “Conservation”, “Biospheres”, “Wildlife Corridors” and “Wilderness Protection”. One of the motives for all of this propaganda is to drive more people into big cities, where government can more easily control large, dense populations.
Big government loves big cities, as they feed off of the occupants’ dependency and big-city voters continue to re-elect the handout providers.
But big government doesn’t give one whit about civility. If the population gets more uncivil, government just adds police to bring the people into compliance and increases taxes to pay for it all. In the case of the black ghettos on the south side of Chicago, the authorities mostly just let the inhabitants kill each other.
Big cities encourage the growth of corruption. As a result, government gets bigger, more corrupt and more powerful every day. The institutionalized corruption of big cities produce people like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano and a whole host of Congressmen and Senators. In the end civility, respect, trust, honor, integrity, honesty and freedom lose and corruption and avarice takes their place.
Unfortunately, this socialist mindset that exists in big cities controls the voting and electoral processes. The “Blue” states are “Blue” because of that “Blue” big city socialist mindset. Most of the big cities are concentrated east of the Mississippi River and that is why the presidential candidates concentrate their campaigning in the Eastern States. The Western States might just as well not exist, except maybe socialist California with its 55 Electoral Votes. (See: “The Makings of an American West Rebellion“)
Big cities are why Hillary Clinton will probably be elected president, unless the recent FBI or Wikileaks revelations finally take her down.
The truth is that big cities are hazardous to your health as well as freedom, but the Democrats don’t care. They maintain their perpetual power from the socialist, government-dependent big-city vote. As big cities become ever more dense, the political power of conservatives will be eroded into extinction, if it hasn’t been already.
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© 2016 Ron Ewart — All Rights Reserved
Ron Ewart, a nationally known author and speaker on freedom and property issues and author of his weekly column, “In Defense of Rural America”, is the President of the National Association of Rural Landowners, (NARLO) (http://www.narlo.org) a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington State, an advocate and consultant for urban and rural landowners. He can be reached for comment at email@example.com.