Apparently, even out here in America the trend is that urbanization is the wave of the future. To the extent that if you live “in the country” you are increasingly “on your own” as far as being able to get from point A to Point B. Mobility, ease of movement, transportation infrastructure in areas outside the cities is increasingly less important to the Sovereign States, it seems.
Case in point is Iowa, where it appears limited budgets, or at least priorities, are making it more difficult for rural folk to get around and for commerce, as well as a freer style of living, to be maintained:
The state’s largest city, Des Moines, is spending millions to repair or replace four downtown bridges. Planners also want to broaden the last section of U.S. Highway 20 into four lanes spanning the entire state.
But amid the orange traffic cones and construction signs, something surprising is happening to Iowa’s transportation system. It’s actually getting smaller as state and county agencies quietly give up on maintaining many rural roads and bridges to spend on bigger, more essential projects in busier areas. The same pattern is playing out across the country, provoking growing fears in rural areas and elsewhere that the trade-off could make it even harder to eke out a living in many places where opportunity is already limited. “There’s only so much money, so you need to prioritize,” David Carroll, engineer for Warren County, just south of Des Moines, said of the roads and bridges built decades ago.
If you stop and think about it, in state governments (and least of all the federal government), state agencies, state universities, private NGO’s, social welfare groups, anywhere you might look, not to mention the mass media and entertainment outlets, is there ever any attention paid to promotion and maintenance of the suburban and rural infrastructures and amenities? No thought is ever given to easing the congestion and the hustle and bustle of the cities and metropolises by making it easier for people to live and work and enjoy a non-urban lifestyle.
Does no one ever stop to think about how much money, some of which could go to helping the rural folk in Iowa and elsewhere get around and get things done, is wasted on programs, services and trying to combat the ills and woes of city life where people are bunched up together and have limited freedom of movement and where associations are often forced upon them, creating awkward, chaotic situations, crime, disease and tumult?
For sure some think about it. That quest to get away from the rat race and have a modicum of independence and freedom led to the exodus for suburbia in the fifties and sixties. And of course the Great Westward Migration in the nineteenth century fostered the development of the greatest nation, the most free and prosperous society the world has ever known.
So why is the push always now to constrict, to herd people back into the city to live in multi-family dwellings and have them use public transportation and be forever at the mercy of one another, and the rulemakers? A lot of it is ideological. Those of a Statist bent know that populations are easier controlled when they are confined in a limited space. Where rules and codes and goods and services can be more easily enforced and distributed at the whim of the “officials”.
What the Socialists/Statists want is the ultimate Nanny State. Can you imagine the Mayor of Podunk, Iowa issuing a proclamation banning the consumption of “large, sugary sodas” as Michael Bloomberg did in New York City? And of course it’s almost trite to mention the restrictive gun laws in place in the metropolitan areas (where of course people are murdered at astronomical rates with “illegal” firearms compared to small town America where people commonly have weapons within reach when travelling or at home or on the street.)
Urbanity has it’s recommendations, to be sure – the magnificent architecture, the museums, the multicultural delights, the on-demand entertainment, cuisine and fashion. It is also, as anyone who is awake knows, always ripe and ever ready for corruption, waste, fraud and the other social ills we mentioned above. The propaganda put out there by media, academia and the power-seekers is to accentuate the former and obscure or ignore the latter. And the mindset and the legislation accompanying that mindset is geared toward “We have limited resources, so we have to pour those resources into where the population is concentrated.”
This is true in Red States as well as Blue States, in Republican precincts as well as Democrat precincts. We have all been taught the same things in our different schools and fed the same information in our common media venues. And when you couple this issue of infrastructure maintenance with the federal push to limit public access to and use of “federal” lands in the western half of the country, plus all the “environmental” rules and regulations, you begin to envision a scenario where people will be increasingly forced to gravitate to the urban centers for all of their needs, basic as well as the niceties.
When they do that, they will be forced to adapt their lifestyles and give up more and more of their freedoms. It’s just a fact of life, especially in the America that is well on the way to being “fundamentally transformed”, which was the goal and dream of our current President and those propelling him.
It is perhaps for the individual citizens across America to have an epiphany about where we are headed. They can do much to help themselves by some meaningful dialogue with their state and local political class on quality of life, indeed maintenance of life, issues in the rural climes. But there could also be some valuable leadership from in front by the much ballyhooed “Freedom Caucus” within the House of Representatives in DC. If these folks are really about freedom, then besides having a realignment of the House Rules and the relationships in their political party they could show they care a whit about freedom in flyover country and stop a whole big passel of federal spending, discretionary or otherwise, destined for those urban environs and maybe force a dialogue about encouraging a new outward migration of people, with the accompanying resources necessary for needed roads, bridges and other infrastructure necessities to keep them employed or in business and connected to, but independent of, the big cities and hubs.
Centralization is more than just federal control of health and education. And as noted above, even many of the individual states have geared their budgets toward the social arrangements dictated by the political elites and the pop culture. We know that the truly conservative faction in not only the federal government but within the state political arrangements is a minority. But if they ever want to be a majority, they need to come out with some bold colors instead of the pale pastels we are continually presented with as public policy. One such statement would be a recognition of and a course of action toward decentralizing all aspects of Life in These United States. Freedom, including freedom of movement and freedom from the concentration camp cities will help to ……Make America Great Again.
Oh, and by the way, those farmers in Iowa and other Midwestern and western states feed a lot of people. So there’s that.