John Stossel's recent column is a typical example of his generic, stark brand of so-called libertarianism. Herein his logic leads him to the conclusion that because "liberals" hate suburban sprawl, it's his duty as the anti-liberal to defend it, truth be damned. He sees sprawl as the natural result of Americans living as they want to.
While I recognize the need for land use regulations, I'm the first to admit that we are still paying for the mistakes made by our plancestors in the form of homogenized, low density development. I think it's important for planners to recognize that many of the growth patterns we bitch about are the result, among other things, of poorly considered, inflexible, and out-of-date Euclidean zoning codes. Thankfully, someone goes for Stossel's right flank in this American Conservative article.
To me, planning is one of those areas where the lines between right and left are incredibly blurry. Consider that the genesis of land use regulations was to prevent nuisance and trespassing; such policies are just as important in maintaining a traditional capitalist's view of property rights as they are in promoting a more liberal view of public welfare. One of my libertarian friends once summed up his belief system as such: "Your right to punch ends at my face." That makes enough sense to me, but what about other variations like, "Your right to pollute groundwater ends at my well," or, "Your right to run a kennel in a residential neighborhood ends when I can't get a healthy night's sleep."
I don't intend to start a flame war here by politicizing planning because, as I said before, I don't see Stossel's argument as libertarian so much as contrarian. My question for you all is, from a purely philosophical standpoint, is urban planning an inherently liberal or conservative concept? Furthermore, how does ones approach to planning differ depending on their politics? I know we have a handful of conservative posters here, and I'm especially interested in how you all deal with the planners as communazis meme that seems popular among some property rights zealots.