While I really don't want to encourage Ian Bicking and his new friend Adam Schildge to continue insulting and patronizing me in the comments, they do help move the discussion along by repeating Joel Kotkin's more annoying talking points. So now that I've dealt with "the independence of cars" and "you're anti-suburb," let's move on to "what the people want." And here's hoping that they'll comment with a bit less judgment and contempt, and a bit more benefit of the doubt.
Ian writes, "Joel Kotkin has a certain advantage: what he's saying has empirical backing. There are real desires (for home ownership, for the independence of a car) that are widely expressed in our country." Adam writes, "Many people do not enjoy the benefits of dense urban living because they may prefer to have more personal space and the independence afforded by a car for occasional trips." Kotkin himself writes things like, "It's widely understood there that many people move to places like Dallas, whether in closer areas or exurbs, largely to purchase affordable single-family homes." And of course Wendell Cox writes, "Americans, like people all over the world, prefer to live in single-family homes and like to have a little land they can call their own for gardening, entertainment, and play areas."
I'm well aware that many people desire larger homes and land. I myself am one of those people; I would love to have a large, sprawling old Victorian with a forest behind it where my son can run wild. I would also like to have a condo with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. And no commute. And I would like to eat nothing but Oreos, bacon and ice cream for the rest of my life and wash it down with beer and Coca-Cola, and I want to be slim and strong. I would like to have Love Hewitt available to satisfy my every desire, but not when I want to spend quality time with my wife. I want to be President and an inventor and an astronaut and a Solid Gold dancer.
Everyone has desires. Many of those desires conflict with one another. Nobody has enough time, enough space or enough money to fulfill all their desires. Not even Donald Trump - does he look like it? That's just the way the world is, and anyone who tells you that you can have everything you want is either a con artist or a nut or both.
That's just one person. When you put a bunch of people together, their desires will conflict. Some are in direct conflict, some are in competition for scarce resources. Something's gotta go. Eight billion people just can't have everything they want.
Jim Kunstler tried to say something similar to John Stossel and got attacked for it. That's what happens when someone tries to be the adult in the room and step out of fantasyland.
Kotkin, Cox, Stossel and friends - including Chris Christie - are like those fuckers who put out bread crumbs for the pigeons. Look at me, the great caretaker, saving the birds from starvation! But do you ever see them washing the pigeon shit off the sidewalk? Do they do anything to ensure that the birds are protected from the consequences of overpopulation? Of course not. All they see is their own role in giving the birds what they want.