Equitable Inconsistency: Criticism of the City's Master Plan - TribPapers

Equitable Inconsistency: Criticism of the City’s Master Plan

Photo by Maick Maciel.

Asheville – Buncombe County says its 20-year comprehensive draft plan is supposed to be a document brought about by a democratic atmosphere of consensus while representing the residents’ wishes on the whole. Instead, it reads more like a manifesto written by socially-empowered people, virtue-signaling a particular perspective on the country’s history as a foundational presupposition for justifying the appropriation of lands, resources, and economic incentives—in short, a revolution. Read the City Plan.

The document starts out by declaring they are “acknowledging our past” by calling the land Buncombe County sits on “occupied” territory from the “indigenous people … acquired by European settlers through violence, oppression, and coercion, as well as legally and illegally executed treaties.” It fails to acknowledge how those “indigenous people” might have acquired the land from other indigenous people. In its efforts to rectify historical wrongs, it fails to accept that all of history is comprised by means to power. All cultures share a checkered history of “violence, oppression, and coercion.” The council seems willing to take on the responsibility of drawing a line in the sand as to when the righting of wrongs will be determined, in what century, in what place, and regarding which cultures.

Underpinned with long-winded passages about the pursuit of sustainability and equity, it is begging for a co-dependent and socially-centric community rather than one built on sovereign preservance, personal and familial accountability, and collaborative entrepreneurial achievement. This plan defines “equity” as “the state of being just, impartial, and fair.” Sounds wonderful, right? Reading right off the page, it is a wonderful concept, albeit static in a dynamic world. More importantly, it is an unattainable ideal, which is a necessary component for holding positions of power for an extended period of time. However, just as this country and all countries have a difficult history, there is more precedence that centralized government efforts to institute or impose equality have resulted in some of the darkest chapters in our histories.

The main drawback is that a selected few determine what is “just,” “impartial,” or “fair’ for all. In the striving for equality, it takes a vanguard to realize it; more poignantly to enforce it. Our city council may not wish to be regarded as a vanguard, but its behavior is becoming more and more indistinguishable as it presents premises that the citizenry might feel obliged to agree with in light of recent social trends. It should be noted that none of the socialized nations that attempted to offer “equitable” success for their citizens ever actually did so. Look at Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Castro’s Cuba, and Mao’s China. Read their founding words; they too sounded wonderful but were not implementable; that’s a feature of a revolution, not a bug.

We have all seen these past leaders who worked for equity and cajoled others to do so. The masses loved it; how could they not? The tongue, however, is the most potent weapon. I know you think this is different. So did everyone else before. Council’s good intentions, will devolve to good necessities, that in turn manifest as the good we must achieve. Once the citizenry sees the limits of this manifesto and its implementations begin hurting people, it might prove too difficult to undo or let alone stop.