We should feel deeply concerned that many local Utah County politicians (including in both Provo and Orem) seek to implement so-called “smart growth” policies to redirect development from their town’s outskirts to its center in order to concentrate residents into walkable urbanesque mixed-use high-rises served by public mass-transit. It seems that these urbanization trends originated among socialists for ideological reasons, both to implement their practices and to encourage people to embrace their ideology, which we liberty-lovin’ Americans should both understand and oppose.
Enhanced urbanism was one of many techniques that the KGB used to subvert nations to embrace socialism. As KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov warned Americans in 1984 about this subject: “Very briefly on population distribution: urbanization and ‘delandization’ (the taking away of private land) is the greatest threat to American nationhood. Why? Because the poor farmer often is a greater PATRIOT than an affluent dweller of a large congested American city. Communists know this very well. The Soviets keep a very tight control over the size of their cities by the system of ‘police registration of residence’ called ‘propiska.’ They know perfectly well that the farmer will fight an invader until last bullet ON HIS LAND. ‘Underprivileged’ or urbanized masses on the other hand, may feel like meeting an invader with flowers and red banners. ALIENATION of people from privately-owned land is one of the very important methods of DEMORALIZATION.” And demoralization, by the way, is the first of the four stages of KGB subversion.
Such Soviet urbanization practices began gaining some popularity beyond the USSR during the 1970s, including in America under the label “smart growth.” “Smart growth” proponents advocated that their densification policies would increase choice, foster community, improve health, and protect nature, while opponents have criticized these policies’ tendencies to counterproductively exacerbate the same problems that they were purported to alleviate. “Smart growth” has since associated itself with the broader concept of “sustainable development,” which exploits radical environmentalism to falsely excuse socialism, including at the municipal level. And, aided by such excuses, socialists (whether overt or covert or unwitting) have striven to needlessly urbanize small-town America, and to incentivize their residents to needlessly abandon their privately-owned cars for inefficient public mass-transit. And these same collectivistic trends are now flourishing even in Utahn cities like Provo and Orem.
“Smart growth” policies rely upon central economic planning through municipal zoning ordinances, which originated among European socialists and (like “smart growth”) are innately counterproductive. Zoning overrides free markets as it curtails development, reduces competition, reduces housing supplies while raising housing costs, mandates false “order” and/or aesthetics over genuine human needs, excludes “undesirables,” wastes people’s valuable time with needless paperwork, retards economic progress, and lowers standards-of-living. Zoning is partly why Los Angeles’ skyrocketing housing prices are driving away residents while Houston’s highly-affordable housing is attracting them. Zoning originally focused on separating functions, but it has increasingly shifted to focus on regulating form also, and such form-based code is vital in helping cities to implement “smart growth” policies. Provo’s city council openly considered adding such form-based code to its zoning ordinances within this last decade.
Over this last decade or so, local municipal officers in both Provo (through its Vision 2030) and Orem (through its State Street Master Plan) have adopted some “smart growth” policies to attempt to gradually concentrate their residents into downtown areas served by public mass-transit. Provo’s officers have proven very successful at implementing their vision through central planning, while Orem’s officers are currently facing tremendous opposition about their attempts to redevelop a few intersections into urbanesque hubs. Perhaps liberty-lovin’ Provoans could learn a few things from their Oremite counterparts. And hopefully both will eventually learn to scrutinize their local candidates better and to only support those candidates who not only understand individual God-given (or natural) rights, including free markets over central planning, but who will also consistently champion those rights. Please start today to motivate, educate, inform, mobilize, and organize your liberty-lovin’ neighbors for victory.
- Frédéric Bastiat: “That Which is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen” (1850)
- Reason: “Land Use Without Zoning” (1974 Feb)
- Reality Zone: “Deception Was My Job – Confessions of a KGB Defector” (1984)
- Internet Archive: “Love Letter to America” by Yuri Bezmenov (1984)
- National Association of Realtors: “Making SMART GROWTH possible with Form-Based Codes” (2007 summer)
- Provo Daily Herald: “Proposed zone designations to help city planning” (2012 Jan 05)
- Libertas Institute: “The Fundamental Right to Use One’s Own Property” (2015 Dec 16)
- Provo Daily Herald: “Provo Municipal Council mulling new ways of zoning” (2017 Feb 02)
- Provo Daily Herald: “Provo looks at new urbanism, pocket neighborhoods at zoning summit” (2018 Dec 17)
- Mises Institute: “Like Most Government Central-Planning Schemes, Zoning Laws Raise the Cost of Living” (2019 Sep 12)
- Mises Institute: “The Economics and Politics of Zoning” (2019 Nov 04)
- ReasonTV: “Density or Sprawl? How To Solve the Urban Housing Crisis” (2020 Feb 28)
- Wikipedia: “Propiska in the Soviet Union”
- Wikipedia: “Zoning”
- Wikipedia: “Form-based code”
- Wikipedia: “Smart growth”
- Wikipedia: “New Urbanism”
- Provo: Provo City Vision 2030
- Provo: Provo City Vision 2050
- Free Provo: Problems: Violating Natural Rights: Property-Rights Violations
- Free Provo: Problems: Violating Natural Rights: Contractual Violations
- Free Provo: Problems: Proliferating Ordinances
- Free Provo: Problems: Envisioning Statism
- Free Provo: Solutions