Polemics & Exchanges

On Agrarianism

I enjoyed Mark Winchell’s “Tracts Against Capitalism” (Vital Signs, January) when it presented facts regarding the Agrarians, but I must take issue with a number of his opinions.

Peaceful Valley residents have more than two options regarding Wal-Mart.  They could, for example, form a corporation (non-profit or otherwise) to buy the land in question, or they could raise a ruckus with the zoning authority either to block the project outright or to impose costly restrictions that would render it uneconomical.  The former course is principled and conservative, the latter is just another way for government to steal the landowner’s rights without paying just compensation.

Setting up mean old Wal-Mart as a foil to introduce a conservative “counter-tradition” to bigness is highly unenlightening, to put it mildly.  Whether it is Wal-Mart or a neighbor who wants to build on any particular lot, the property in question is going to be developed someday.  For Peaceful Valley residents to declare that they have got their little bit of heaven—and to hell with the rest—is not admirable; it is typical Malibu I’ve-got-mine liberalism.  Is that what the Agrarians stood for?  

People have loved to hate big business for 200 years, and look at the result: The big...

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