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« Market maker | Main | Enumeration vs cogitation »

Dec 14, 2011


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Bill Yaner

It has nothing to do with principles, Mr. Conservative Republican, and everything to do with money.

Abner Doon

How about the land sale for the Airport High school?

Andrew Brod

If the county official is a conservative Republican, what does he have against unregulated use of privately owned land?

He clearly doesn't like what's going on, but the principles being violated aren't conservative principles. It sounds like he's really talking about liberal principles, which are more likely to employ an expansive definition of property rights (e.g. giving neighbors some say over how private property is used).

There's an old witticism that defines a conservative as a liberal who got mugged. Perhaps in Pennsylvania, a liberal is a conservative whose neighbor sold mineral rights to frackers.

  Bill Yaner

It's about the money. Period.

David Wharton
... the principles being violated aren't conservative principles.
Yes, they are. Actually, it's just one principle, really -- the principle of subsidiarity, which is perhaps a more paleo- than neo-conservative principle. Still conservative, though.

Surly that was a misplace opinion piece.

Buried near the end was this quintessentially liberal reasoning for the actions that suddenly seem a bother to you folks:

Mr. Pitzarella, of Range Resources, said that only a small minority of towns in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale area — about 80 of approximately 1,800 — had, or were developing, regulations and that most of them were affluent. A strong set of state standards that people agree on would protect all communities, he said.

“It’s about having predictable and enforceable regulation that works for everyone,” he said.

Smacks of pulling influence from local communities or states and putting it in the hands of distant politicians far from individual control.

And that, Dr. Brod, is the concern of that local county official you referenced. He, like most conservatives, wish to push political power back toward states, localities, and, yes, the individuals who were robed of that power and influence over decades of liberal theft of influence, more commonly known as the centralization of power.


Two shakes for David.

Andrew Brod

David makes a good point. Having said that, the county official talks about property rights, not proper governance.

As for subsidiarity, it's fine for conservatives to claim it as one of their principles, but it's only fair to note that that particular gate swings both ways for both liberals and conservatives, depending on the issue. On this issue, liberals are applauding the county official's call for subsidiarity, while energy-independence conservatives wish he'd go away.

Moreover, as David's careful wording reminds us, there is a clear divide between paleo- and modern conservatism. Would this county official's concerns be allowed within the not-so-big tent of modern movement conservatism?

David Wharton

Thanks, poli. We agree on something!

Andrew, I don't think the divide between paleos and neos is all that clear. A vague term like "conservative" (or "liberal") can only refer to a grab-bag of loosely-related and often conflicting principles and interests.

And land-use issues tend to make ideological hypocrites of us all. Millions of green-voting liberals love to live in sprawling suburbs and will eagerly brawl with developers who want to bring enviro-friendly density to their neighborhoods. Libertarian private property-rights absolutists live happily with zoning laws that keep a Pump-n-Munch from opening next door.

When it comes to our own property, we all want to keep what we've got and principles be damned.

Andrew Brod

Right. The county official's objection has little to do with conservatism, and more to do with the instincts that you (and I) ascribe to everyone.

Ed Cone

I can't speak to the man's (possible) unexpressed motives, but his preference for decision-making at the local level does reflect an important strain of conservatism, just not the big biz/big gov model that wields so much influence.

The latter has shown some strength in Raleigh of late, which is one reason we need to pay attention to what's happening in PA.


You got a problem with Pump-n-Munch?

David Wharton

Junior: only when Spider's working.


... Actually, it's just one principle, really -- the principle of subsidiarity ...

Thanks for that link. I didn't know there was a formal organizing principle for something in my mind made 'common sense'.


Yeah, I appreciate the new term.

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