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Some Questions for the Arlington County Board’s Conservationists

Thomas Sowell’s column in Friday’s Washington Times is a must read for taxpayers who think the County Board spends too much on conservation projects, such as “green buildings,” “LEED certification,” or “smart growth” with far too little thought. Sowell writes, “When conservationists talk about "saving" this and "protecting" that, a logical question might be: Saving it from whom? Protecting it from whom? And why should the government force what you want on someone else who obviously wants something different, or there would not be an issue in the first place?”

He answers by writing, “Such questions almost never get asked. Nor do evidence or logic play much of a role in most conservation issues. Instead, we hear rhapsodies about "open space," sneers at "urban sprawl" and self-congratulatory phrases like "smart growth." Rhetoric has long since replaced reasons on this and many other issues.”

While Sowell focuses primarily on the San Francisco Bay area, there is some real wisdom in his column for the next time you’re confronted with the Board’s latest conservation scheme. [think lot coverage]