The Frontlines Of Freedom

by Matthew Sitman

At NRO, Stanley Kurtz (who else?) argues that the Obama administration's Sustainable Communities Initiative is both an attempt to "abolish" American suburbs and the "missing link that explains his administration’s overall policy architecture." Matthew Cantirino provides the takedown:

In being so dismissive of efforts to rein in suburban sprawl (oddly thrown into scare quotes like it’s some kind of code word and not a widely-recognized popular image of our postwar landscape) and think more broadly about how our interaction with the natural world, Kurtz actually cuts off a powerful conservative argument. Every attempt to roll back or rein in what are now widely acknowledged to be major missteps in our built environment do not need to elicit visceral anger, or cries of collectivism and redistribution.

Rather than fantasize about losing our natural right to three-acre lawns, those on the right ought to be embracing calls for more modest and—yes—traditional forms of living. We can certainly debate the most efficacious ways of going about things like combatting wasteful, atomizing land use; I even suspect the specific policy Kurtz critiques does tend toward bureaucratic know-it-all-ism rather than genuine community engagement (the proposal to scramble municipal tax revenues around a region could certainly be a localist sticking-point). But it’s rather baffling for people who profess to be concerned about culture to jumpily exempt large swaths of its constitutive elements (like, say, the physical arrangement and daily routine of peoples’ lives, jobs, and commutes) from any sort of real criticism.

More on the suburbs' relationship to Christianism here.