Some people want our county government to centrally plan our county’s economy, and they are already making progress toward that goal. More details are provided below—but, first, let’s overview some of the principles involved…
Anytime people remain sufficiently both free and virtuous, they tend to enjoy various blessings, including progress both as individuals and as a society. Such advancing free societies develop without any obvious central guidance—and yet, despite that absence, somehow people still build homes and grow crops and mine ore and teach school and cure disease and supply countless other products and/or services that people demand, and do so more efficiently and effectively with each passing year. Such orderly activity not only occurs spontaneously without any centralized direction, but central economic planning would actually harm it; one reason for this is that it’s impossible for any tiny oligarchy (even in the Information Age) to effectively oversee a vast complex system in which each person plays such a highly-specialized role. In any case, the more advanced a given civilization becomes, the harder it becomes to centrally plan it, and the worse it fares whenever some would-be oligarchs attempt to harness it to serve their will.
Some people crave such power, though, and delude themselves into believing that the world (or their nation or their state or their city) would become so much better (or even “perfect”) if only they could subjugate their neighbors to their will and then reign over society with kinglike powers, directing everyone where to go and what to do. Such power-hungry people are naturally drawn to politics, and even to public office, in which they strive to corrupt our political systems away from their proper role of defending rights toward a perverted role of controlling society. Such centralized command-and-control essentially involves enslaving society, which practice is innately evil—and such evil means always lack the power to produce good ends, regardless of their intentions. And this is why, although many statists may genuinely intend to create heaven-on-Earth, they almost invariably create hell-on-Earth instead to the extent that they’re allowed to implement their respective visions.
Statism isn’t only found in past horrors like Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany, but it has found favor among some Americans, as well. It’s what reduced Detroit from a rich thriving metropolis to bankrupt crumbling ruins. It’s why the middle class is currently fleeing California in droves. And it’s even taking root here among us in Utah County. Some Utahns might find that last statement surprising, considering Utah’s well-earned reputation as a highly conservative state—but it might make more sense to those who understand that very few Utahns actually bother to vote in local elections, while the few who DO bother to vote don’t necessarily represent majority views.
A small percent of Provoans supported John Curtis to win election in 2009 as Provo’s mayor, after which John quickly began working on Vision 2030/2050, which arguably became his most enduring legacy. This document is more than a mere vision statement for what our political elites (after considering public input) decided that they want Provo to become, but it was intended from its inception to serve as a central-planning guide for our city council, and to become slowly transformed into city code. Although this vision includes many relatively-benign provisions, it does include some rather alarming ones, such as dictating development, subsidizing politically-favored businesses, expelling renters, running monopolies, censoring communication, and even implementing a mini-Obamacare at the city level. All of this from a former Democrat who seemingly never changed his views as much as his label. And his successor, Mayor Kaufusi, seems well poised to perpetuate his legacy.
Mayor Kaufusi is now rallying Provoans to participate in developing a central economic plan for our entire county, as well, so that we can help “figure out where growth should go” as we “ensure Utah Valley grows the way the people who live here want it to.” This visioning process is being overseen by a group of wealthy and/or powerful Utahns called Envision Utah. Envision Utah has criticized Utah County’s past relatively-free-market growth as being “chaotic” and “accidental”—and, as such, they are seeking to subjugate our local economy to our local politicians, who will override the free market by imposing their own political plans for our economy. Rather than develop this central plan entirely on their own, Envision Utah has deigned to allow public participation—and, so, we local residents can visit their Valley Visioning website to complete a survey about what sort of future we want for Utah County. One of this survey’s many interesting questions (which Mayor Kaufusi was seemingly referencing above) is about what percent of Utah Valley growth should be allocated to which cities—and, so, if we want 100% of new move-ins to come live in Provo, and 0% of them to live anywhere else, then we can tell Envision Utah so, and perhaps they’ll decide to decree it accordingly. But why are we choosing where other people will live? State-controlled-and-assigned housing may be perfect normal in communist nations, but it’s not a practice that we should accept here (or anywhere).
Please actively oppose this effort to develop a central economic plan for Utah County (and to continue the plan for Provo). Please urge both your neighbors and your public officers to do likewise. And, if your public officers choose to support central economic planning, anyway, then please rally your neighbors to uphold better candidates in next year’s local elections—candidates who will help preserve free markets by defending our equal God-given rights to both property and contract.