Soft-Selling Agenda 21

Propagandists are tutored in the art of selling their agendas through the “soft” sections of the newspaper, usually the “Lifestyle” sections.  Generally these sections of the paper are far away from the dull vitriol of the political news section.

Agenda 21 is about as political as you can get, so to give it a “softer” side, The Bergen Record recently ran an article in its new “Signature” lifestyle section entitled, “Rethinking Suburban Sprawl.”

It’s your typical sales piece.  “It’s one thing to build a convenient, transit-oriented, environmentally-friendly community from scratch in undeveloped open space” – where incidentally, no one lives or has a business.  “But how do you do that in a place like North Jersey – an already mature, built-out, highway-girded, mall-strewn landscape, place developed in the [long-ago, old-fashioned, out-dated] post-World Ward II era, when everyone dreamed of escaping the city for their own detached home, patch of yard, and personal mode of transit, the car?”

How 20th Century of them!  The article goes on to assert that “cultivating an alternative style of development in North Jersey – one less dependent on the automobile and single-family house – may seem like a pipe dream.”  The authors can’t help betraying themselves with the word “alternative.”  They would have suburbanites trade their dependency on the automobile and the single-family home (notice they use the word “house” instead of “home”) for dependency on government mass transit and housing.

Yes; city people, including my parents sought to escape the crime and expense of living in New York City, and then the wealthy county to its north, Westchester.  They wanted their children to grow up in a better place, have a better education, and a better future.

Alas, the authors tell us, “New Jersey is a ‘home rule’ state – [notice the isolation of the phrase home rule in quotes, as though they were signifying a malignant or risible condition] – “where local municipalities and not regional entities like counties, control development.”

“Control” is another key word that indicates the authors’ true intent.  Anytime you hear the government speaking about controlling something (other than their spending) – watch out!  Your freedom is in jeopardy.

But fear not, denizens of the 21st Century.  “Changes in the local landscape are slowly taking place.  Construction of high-density housing has outpaced single-family homes in Bergen [and Passaic] county for about a decade, according to data from state building permits.”  So has the increase in minority populations outpaced the birth rate in those counties, and shifted the political map.  Crime is increasing and so is traffic, thanks not to single-family homes, but all the medium- and high-density housing that has sprung up in the hills of New Jersey.

“These communities,” the advertisement goes on to boast, “rely less on cars and more on public transportation.  They feature buildings that combine housing, retail and office space to encourage walkability, and design roads to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians, as well as cars.”

These communities will do no such thing as accommodate cars, as you discover in the next paragraph of this advertorial.

“Such development is often called sustainable because it reduces car emissions [because it reduces cars] and uses land, drinking water, fossil fuels, and other natural resources more efficiently.  It also accommodates a lifestyle that some might consider more appealing:  less time stuck in traffic, less isolation, easier access to amenities, a smaller carbon footprint.”

That bit about the “smaller carbon footprint” is an acknowledgement of the young hipsters who read the Lifestyle section and worship Al Gore.  In the New York-centric suburbs of North Jersey, public transportation is expensive and useless unless you work in New York.  Recently, the Port Authority announced a hike in transit fares for commuters to New York City.

The authors handily note that North Jersey’s population is getting both older and younger.  Older people can’t sell their houses in this market (thanks to CRA – the Community Reinvestment Act) and younger people, stuck in college mode, seek the clubs, bars, and shops of the city.  They’re still in the meet-and-greet mode.  They weren’t allowed to have cars on their college campuses and got used to ordering their lives around the campus shuttle buses and city subway systems.

Sustainable developers have their eyes on the abandoned factories and warehouses of eastern Jersey, which businesses our legislators conveniently taxed right out of the state.

“Can North Jersey significantly address this demand for development that emphasizes walking over driving?” the authors disingenuously posit.

I live in a sort of “sustainable community”.  I can tell you that it can be convenient.  The New York City bus is one minute away.  Only I couldn’t find a job in the City – or haven’t yet, anyway.  If I had, I would have had to demand such a high salary to account for the transit fare hike – a tribute to the unions – that I would have priced myself right out of a job.

I can walk over to the local shopping center and even the post office.  But there’s nothing convenient about it when it’s 20 degrees out and snowing.  Walking won’t get me over the hills and dales between me and my mother’s house, and the even more daunting trek to my brother’s house farther west.  Now that I’m working again, it’s even less convenient because I just don’t have the time or energy to waste walking.

Anyone attempting to ride a bicycle through the middle of this town is out of their mind; they’d get promptly run over by the New York City buses, of which there are a variety of lines.  If a commuter line goes through, that will be one more obstacle.

Goodness knows, I can’t understand the people who bought those gigantic McMansions with their gigantic, heat-hungry rooms, and exorbitant taxes.  We lived in a modest, three-bedroom split-level, turning a lower room into a fourth bedroom to keep my brothers from sparring.

On the other hand, I believe this should be a free country, and those who are of mind to live in a museum should have that right.  Those who more of a mind to live near a museum, in a cramped apartment that will not admit children or pets, that should be their right, too.

One should keep in mind that these sustainable communities are decidedly anti-family, anti-pet (we’re allowed two here), and anti-freedom.  Stacking people on top of one another, cheek by jowl will not create peaceful communities but crime-racked cell-blocks with neighbor fighting neighbor, and resident reporting resident for the infractions of the innumerable regulations that will inevitably crop up (our regulation manual is 25 pages; my crazy neighbor has the police on speed-dial, although they’ve got her number, too). 

Agenda 21 wants to recreate the very places from which people in the mid-20th Century wanted to escape.  High crime, high taxes, high prices, high rises are what they’re selling.  Their vilification of personal liberty (i.e., the single-family home [emphasis on the family], the personal car) is straight out of Marx’s Communist Manifesto. 

Will this upcoming generation listen?  Probably not.  At least, not until it’s too late.  They may never realize what they’re losing, so conditioned are they to the socialist agenda.  Frankly, the way people drive today, you can’t really blame them if mass transit seems more attractive to them.  However, the very same, angry drivers jamming Route 287 and Route 80 today, will be the very same, angry commuters jamming the buses, trains, trolleys, subways, escalators and elevators of the future.

God willing, I’ll be retired by that time.

 

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Published in: on January 13, 2013 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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