Once population gets to a certain density, it’s game over – for liberty. I mean, for real-deal, live and let live, do-what-you-want (provided you’re not physically harming anyone else) liberty.
You know – what most of the founding fathers (Alexander Hamilton and his proto-Reoublicans excepted) had in mind.
The best analogy I’ve found is traffic.
You live in a very rural area, let’s say. Very few other cars are on the road. So, when you roll up behind some old geezer doing 33 in a 55, it’s easy to just pass the old dude – and no hard feelings either way. He’s able to trundle along at his pace without cars (and angry drivers) stacking up behind him; you’re free to drive around the old coot and continue at your speed.
No tensions; no problems.
There are very few traffic lights – and when you come to a stop sign, you’re almost always the only car around and it’s just a minor, momentary interruption of your travel.
You can pull right onto the main road from sidestreets, usually – with just a quick glance either way to be sure no ones coming. If you need to park, you just pull into a spot.
And there is always an open spot.
In winter, you can usually get where you need to be because there’s no one else causing wrecks that block the road or interfering with your momentum.
Driving is a joy.
Contrast this scenario with the situation that’s become typical in and around every major population zone in the United States circa late 2010:
All it takes is one inept/fearful/reckless driver to gum up the entire works; everyone is stuck behind the old coot up ahead in his ’87 Buick doing 33 in a 55 – because there’s no way you can pass with all that oncoming traffic plus you’re 12 cars behind the coot anyhow.
Huge SmooVees with distracted hausefraus chattering away on their sail fawns blast through red lights, turn into your lane or don’t notice the light changed green until it’s on the verge of turning red again – just in time for you to get stuck in another cycle of waiting.
Worse, there are more per capita bad drivers to deal with – so they become inescapable, a constant hassle. You’re thwarted (or threatened) by them at almost every turn – literally. Get by/past one and there’s another one 20 yards ahead. The conga line of cars barely moves an inch. At every stop sign, there are scores of cars lined up awaiting their turn. Cars are backed up for blocks at traffic lights. Merge lanes are choked. You have to circle every parking lot like a shark, waiting for a spot to come open – and ready to fight for it.
It takes forever to get anywhere. No one smiles. Everyone’s tense.
Might as well give up and turn on the radio.
The unwritten rule of The Least Common Denominator comes into play. Every driver – the good along with the bad – is forced by the laws and the realities of the situation to drive (if it can be called that) at the level of the least-able, most fearful/unskilled people available.
Driving has become the equivalent of being a mouse in a Skinner Box.
The same dynamic operates in the political realm.
In a frontier-type, low-density environment, people are independent-minded and self-sufficient. To a great extent they self-police – and are happy. They earn their own keep and expect to be left alone in return.
Because people are not constantly rubbing up against one another, there is much less social friction. Resources abound; useful work is easy to get. People are largely free to do what they want, within reasonable bounds – and to enjoy their lives.
This is how America was – and it’s the reason for what America a great place to live – until about the late 1960s, at which point the population began to ballon at an almost unimaginable rate. 170 million suddenly – and 40 years is suddenly – became 300-plus million.
An almost doubling of the population it took more than 400 years to achieve in the space of my own short lifetime (I am 44).
Suffocating, omnipresent traffic – formerly an isolated curiosity you experienced on field trips to NYC or LA – was unknown to most Americans when I was a child in the 1970s. The suburbs were still pleasant, affordable and peaceful places to live and rear a family, yet still an easy drive into the city.
One could easily access solitude in the nearby woods, on a forest trail – or local park. People and cars and noise were not everywhere – yet.
Even air travel was nothing like the hateful, demeaning experience it has become today.
What has changed? What’s the common denominator?
Too damn many people.
Worse, most of these are not even American people. Deliberate policy changes (the Immigration Act of 1964, specifically) have unleashed upon this land a literal tsunami of humanity – most of it Third World humanity. Is it any surprise that America is increasingly coming to resemble a Third World country as a result? With the same horrid pathologies – from a seething (and growing in size) permanent underclass to the despoiling of formerly magnificent natural vistas to the relentless lowering of our political discourse to simple-minded catchphrases and childish images marketed to a peasant (and peon) mindset?
This is an obvious, even elementary consequence of adding tens of millions of Mexican peasants and Central-South American stoop laborers, Somalis, Pakis and Afghanis – the whole polyglot stew.
But we aren’t allowed to notice this – unless we “celebrate” it. Though why such ought to be celebrated is something that’s not easy to understand. By every measure save perhaps the profusion of electronic gadgets, Americans are miserable today whereas they were mostly pretty happy in the not-so-distant past.
Yet it is still in our power to halt the bum’s rush toward the Third World future our “leaders” are laying the groundwork for. We have it in our power to say, “enough.”
We do not need more people.
We certainly do not need more people from the Third World.
And if we can just get a handle on this mess, maybe one day going for a Sunday drive will be enjoyable again.
This is a very late reply and you probably won’t even notice it, but in this article it almost sounds like you’re in favor of population control measures. I would consider policies such as China’s “one child” program to be immoral outright, however I do agree that we need to close the immigration floodgates until we’ve found work for the people who are already here (and are supposed to be here).
I think part of the problem is that, yes, all the old spaces where you could go to get away have filled up – and new ones haven’t been opened to compensate. See, it used to be, we could handle population growth because the country itself was expanding and conquering. Now, we’re constantly told there’s a land shortage and that suburban sprawl is going to choke everything. It’s not. There’s plenty of open space. I seem to recall that someone has even run the numbers and found that you could fit the entire population, not just of the US but of the world, into the state of Texas, and everyone would still have an acre of land.
The problem isn’t a shortage of space, it’s a shortage of available space. Some places way out in the boonies where you could go to get away from it all, hunt, fish, trap, or just rip around on an ATV, whatever you wanted, have been closed down or regulated in the name of saving the environment. Others have been casualized with parking lots and fee stations and groomed campgrounds so that anyone can go out an “experience” the woods without having to become a person of the woods. Property developers home in on scenic, curvy, deserted backroads and strangle them with houses (or, worse, bletcherous detached fourplexes), while the bicyclists and hikers overrun the ones that, for whatever reason, can’t be built on – although perhaps that appearance is more a function of any road that isn’t already built on getting straightened and bypassed for reasons of safety and efficiency. Of course, when you start to build “out” you are going to build on the existing roads unless you’re a rich, eccentric car guy/property developer hybrid and deliberately build your residential areas away from the road.
Much of this is, of course, the government’s fault. Some places the federal rate of land ownership is relatively benign, somewhere in the 10% range. Others, it’s crushing – I seem to recall that the federal government owns something like 89% Alaska’s land area – and that’s not even getting into land owned by state governments for similar purposes. Of course you can’t do anything with the areas that the government doesn’t directly own either, especially productive things like mining and logging – or, if you can, you have to jump through a million hoops to do it because environment.
That’s why we suffer from the effects of overpopulation. Not because we don’t have room for all these people, but because we aren’t allowed to use any of it. Reduce government land ownership and take away the onerous regulations on what people can do with their land, and there will be a lot less of a problem.
I live 60 miles southwest of but travel weekly to Chicago. You have described the situation perfectly.
I’m a mile from RT. 83 and 290 and I hear ya buddy!
Especially the proliferation of clovers,who move into the the rural areas and try to turn them into exclusive gated communities,where the natives have to change thier lifestyles to accomadate the frightened newcomers-Kevin
Yeah – that’s the worry I’ve got.
Everytime I spot a new McMansion going up, my dread notches up.
The only upside to it is that if the Yankee Clovers do manage to ruin this place (by my standards) it’ll be “trendy” and “popular” (by their standards) which means our house/land will be worth a fortune. We’ll sell out to some Yankee douche at top dollar and use the proceeds to buy 200 acres far, far away….