Don't Fence Us In
|By James Anderson Merritt|
|Tuesday, 04 November 2008 06:29|
"The density of our population makes us all rats in a maze without a place to roam. Perhaps, rats in a frenzy is a more appropriate description." JoAnn Revoir
Unless you are talking about China or India, the density of "our" population in California is rather illusory. Not that you won't find people packed closely together in various places in our State or nation, but they are either choosing to live in crowded conditions voluntarily, or are PREVENTED from settling in vast areas of open space, usually by government.
Nearly half of California's acreage is owned by the Federal Government. The percentage of federal ownership in other Western States is even higher. Right there, the people are forced to occupy no more than half the State, and usually much less. In fact, the California population has tended to confine itself to the coast, and then usually to the cities or suburban areas. This is where the roads go, where the most services are available, and also where jobs and shopping are, so it is very natural for people - especially those who move here from elsewhere - to keep to the cities and suburbs.
Obviously, if you go where the people are, you will see lots of people, and perhaps come away with the idea that we are "too crowded." But take a road trip up and down the length of the State, preferably via Highway 5, and you will see vast areas where no person obviously lives (though a handful may live there, just out of immediate view). You will pass through numerous, widely separated towns and villages where few people live. Very rarely (in terms of miles traveled) will you encounter major settlements or full-fledged cities. Except in those urban areas, and definitely on the average when the entire state is considered, California is NOT that crowded.
Uncle Sam could open up maybe a 10% slice of his vast California holdings to settlement, with current California residents getting first crack at the "new" real estate, and the overcrowding in the cities and suburbs would soon evaporate. Would we miss the slice carved out of our federal preserves and parks? A small handful of people who use that area for hiking and camping might. But tens of millions wouldn't know the difference, except that their own lives would improve as the result of additional "living space."
We are like rats in a maze: the maze of government regulations that keep people from using land productively for housing, farming, commerce, and industry. It's a man-made maze, and men can unmake it.
Don't Fence Us In by James Anderson Merritt
James Anderson Merritt of Santa Cruz, CA is a technical writer who also writes on current events and political topics. For more information see his website at: http://home.pacbell.net/sinda1/ursid/home/