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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Boldly Going Nowhere

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Growth Addicts

An addict is someone who is obsessively devoted to something. People can become addicted to all sorts of things, such as alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, sweets or sports. They can even be addicted to community growth.

Most people with common sense realize there is an optimal size to almost anything. A garden won't flourish if plants are too close together or too far apart. A forest won't flourish if trees are too close together or too far apart. An animal herd won't flourish if there are too many animals for their range. Bigger isn't always better.

However, growth addicts are unaware of the ramifications of overpopulation. These are people who have some sort of inane behavioral quirk whereby they simply can't accept the size and scope of the community in which they live. They are compelled by some sort of neurological disorder to stimulate community growth.

If you ever ask one of these growth addicts at what point the growth should level off, they'll look at you as if you're nuts. To a growth addict, there never is enough growth. To a growth addict, growth is a way of life.

Many local politicians are afflicted with this disorder. They promise to lure industry into our area under the preposterous notion this would have a positive impact on everyone. Many real estate folks are also afflicted with this disorder. They travel to far away locations and attempt to persuade people to relocate here. Some local business owners are also under the delusion that expansion will benefit them.

The flaw in this thinking is obvious. As more industry is added to the area, more people will move here to take advantage of the expanding economy. Suddenly, you're back to the same old solution of adding more industry to support the growing population. Local business won't benefit from this ploy. As the area grows, new businesses will pop up, creating more competition -- a bigger pie with smaller slices. Nothing will be improved; there will just be more of everything, including more traffic, more crime and a need for more solutions.

Most people live here because they like it here. For those who yearn for a larger community, it would be easier to move elsewhere than scheme to make the area grow faster than it would otherwise grow naturally. Rather than move on, they insist upon spoiling things for everyone else. Bringing more business, more industry and more people here doesn't benefit anyone, including addicts who have an insatiable urge to hasten progress.

This area will grow at a nice steady pace without growth addicts forcing their will upon the rest of us. In all likelihood, growth addicts dislike their community because they subconsciously dislike themselves. Instead of taking responsibility for their own happiness they manipulate the world around them in a vain attempt to alter a reality they blame for their own perceived misfortunes. Growth addicts are in dire need of psychological help.

Some of my best friends are growth addicts. Even members of my own family are infected with this insidious malady. They can't seem to help it and don't even appear to be aware of their dysfunctional condition.

If you're not a growth addict, read no further.

An intervention is a confrontation, usually initiated by family and friends, directed toward an addict in an attempt to rid the addict of his or her harmful addiction. Consider this to be an intervention.

I am your friend. You have a serious mental disorder. I want to help you get well.

STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT. We don't need your guidance and control. Your obsession for growth only makes things worse. More industry means more people, creating more problems that will be solved by bringing in more industry. Then more industry will attract more people, requiring even more industry, which will again attract more people, and so on, and so on. This is a vicious cycle without end. Bigger isn't better, it's just bigger.

You have an unhealthy addiction. It's unhealthy for you and everyone around you. Get over it. Your problem isn't the size of the community; your problem is you. If you have a compulsion to make changes, look inward.

Stop and smell the roses. This is a nice community. We like it here.