Tuesday, July 13, 2010

David Crossley is Still Smarter than You

In March I pointed out that David Crossley, head of Houston Tomorrow (HT) thinks that he is smarter than you:
HT advocates, among other things, "smart growth" and "public transit". On both of these issues--and many others--HT advocates the use of government coercion to achieve what it regards as "rational" ends. To HT, compelling you to act contrary to your own judgment is ultimately for your own good...

If you conclude that your money is best spent on a private automobile, Crossley doesn't care--he knows best and he intends to take your money to prove it. If you conclude that a particular use for your property is best, Crossley doesn't care--he knows better and he will force you to include green space, set backs, and whatever else he deems necessary to create a "livable" development. 
Now Crossley provides us with a peek into the back room dealings that he uses to impose his vision upon the rest of the city. (HT: blogHouston)  In late June he gathered a dozen like-minded individuals to map out a plan for the city's transportation. Which means, how you will be forced to spend your money. You see, David Crossley is still smarter than you and he knows the best ways for your money to be spent.

Crossley tells us that the group developed a set of principles to guide regional transportation, one of which is "Go to places that are nameable." At the risk of sounding sarcastic, the tequila must have been flowing pretty freely for the group to regard this as a principle. What place isn't nameable? But lest I forget, David Crossley is smarter them me. This "principle" must have some meaning that escapes us ordinary folk.

Crossley states that his motivation for this rendezvous was a fear that regional transportation planning will not be based on "rational service goals." On this I concur with him. However, my reason is different: No government agency can ever develop "rational service goals," unless those goals are the protection of individual rights. And that is certainly not what Crossley proposes.

Government is an agency of force. Its goals are achieved by coercion. Its plans are implemented by compelling or prohibiting certain actions. Everything it does is backed up with a gun. Crossley wants to use government to impose his vision of regional transportation upon all of us, and he has the audacity to call this rational.

Man's rational faculty does not operate under compulsion. Nobody--including Crossley--can force another man to think, or to accept an idea as true. But individuals--including Crossley--can use force to compel individuals to act contrary to their own judgment. And this is what Crossley seeks. He wants to use the coercive power of government for his purposes. He wants to force you to act as he chooses, rather than by the dictates of your own mind. You see, David Crossley is, and always will be, smarter than you.


AMAI said...

Brian, the David Crossleys of this world have never had anyone seriously challenge their right to expropriate the citizens' property. Of course he thinks he's smarter.

I'm glad to see someone standing up to these gov't asses on all these so-called minor issues (I also just read the post about lawn waste mandates.)

Brian Phillips said...

Thanks AMAI,

Actually, David Crossley isn't a government ass--he is worse. He is one of those behind the scenes manipulators. He pulls strings, lines up deals, and pressures politicians.

What really irks me about this guy is that he wants to use coercion, and he claims that this is rational. He wants to negate my rational faculty.

AMAI said...

To him, coercion IS rational, if that makes sense. Once someone accepts & buys into altruism and sacrifice as moral, as the good, as the way things ought to be - well, their mechanism is gone, isn't it? It is practically a natural consequence that a bit of coercion is going to be needed and they aren't willing to understand why it's wrong. To do so would be to admit that there's something wrong with their basic premises, their moral code and how they view the world and everyone & everything in it.

Not sure if I've mentioned this yet, but I also just recently read with much interest the article you co-authored on Privatization of Waterways. The very idea of privatizing that kind of thing is alien to most people but to me - it makes perfect sense. There is a better way than the way things are now, and the road to it is paved with individual rights and private ownership of every man-made improvement. Thank you so much for your hard work.

I am keen to know where I can find more articles about the application of private property law to specific situations. I'm thinking a book containing a whole bunch of "caselaw" as it were would be an awesome addition to the Objectivist Library.

Brian Phillips said...

Thanks for the nice comments on the waterways article. I have actually been researching how the private sector provides many of the services currently provided by government. Examples abound.

AMAI said...

I've been working for a few years on the privatization of roads, and your waterways concepts fit like gloves, resolving some of the issues I had.

I am keen to hear more about your research.

As for the book idea, I see two distinct sections, both of which deal with situations with reference to objective law and properly defined individual rights and properly delimited government, on the basis of a morality of rational egoism/self-interest.

In one section would be various scenarios taken from "the future" in which the law is properly set up. The other section would be taking actual cases that were decided using today's non-objective law and methods and showing how those situations would have been decided under objective law.

Do you know of a book like this already in print? If not would you be interested?

Brian Phillips said...

I'm not familiar with a book such as that. It could be interesting, but it's not my area of expertise or primary interest.

I am more interested in demonstrating that the moral is the practical--that when individuals are free they find innovative solutions to problems.

AMAI said...

Then my other book idea may be of more interest. Its working title is The Myth of the Necessity of Tax. It sounds like the research you've been doing is just what I need!

Brian Phillips said...

My working title is Laissez Faire: Government Without Taxation.

Neal Meyer said...

AMAI / Brian,

If you are looking for existing literature on private provision of urban services, then one book worth looking into is The Voluntary City, which is available on Amazon.com.

Brian Phillips said...

Thanks Neal--
I have the book. There is some good information in it, though I disagree with its anarchist elements.