As populations freely grow and shift, they change the way in which land is used. Such changes may occur either through voluntary contractual interactions among free people or through coercive decrees from oligarchs—or something in between.
But it’s not the place of politicians to dictate how everyone else’s land is to be used—such decisions are rightfully made by individual landowners. Besides, if landowners can’t truly decide how their own land is to be used, then are they truly its owners, or are they merely caretakers of public land? It’s sad when politicians treat their constituents’ land as if it were their own land by issuing edicts about how it will be used. It’s not the proper role of public officers to reign over society like oligarchs, but only to help keep us free by expertly helping us to defend our equal God-given rights from others’ aggression. And those rights include property rights—the right to determine the use of our own property, provided that our actions don’t interfere with the equal God-given rights of others. It’s a basic principle that, whenever we violate others’ property rights through trespassing or theft or damage or other such means, we engage in criminal wrongdoing, which we may justly prosecute but not perpetrate.
Centralized economic planning is not only wrong in principle but it’s also impractical, as history abundantly proves. Highly centrally-planned economies like that of the former U. S. S. R. were parasitical economic basketcases that would have likely collapsed many times without regular infusions of economic aid from the West. Meanwhile, the West thrived economically due (in part) to relatively-free markets, in which both property and contractual rights are generally respected (as they should be), while decision-making remained dispersed among relatively-free people rather than concentrated in the hands of very-powerful oligarchs.
Unfortunately, Provo’s city council appears to have embraced the principles of central planning, as evidenced by documents like Vision 2030/2050, and its councilors remain eager to dictate development in west Provo. They met earlier this week on Tuesday evening to consider approving a new land-use map that will help determine what will get built where in west Provo. If you missed the meeting, then please contact your city councilor to let him/her know that you favor economic development planned by free people rather than by city officers. And let’s please strive to elect better city officers in 2019 who will respect your rightful liberty on their own without needing us to lobby them regularly.
- Provo Daily Herald: “Westside design to be added to Provo Master Plan’” (2018 Nov 12)
- Free Provo: Problems: Violating Natural Rights: Property Rights Violations
- Free Provo: Problems: Envisioning Statism: Dictating Development
- Free Provo: Progress
- Facebook: Free Provo