The tragedy of the hold Hoover’s rugged individualism continues to have on the American psyche in our increasingly atomized age is that his formulation risks presenting a false dichotomy between state control over an increasingly large swath of our lives on the one hand and society as comprised of individual and independent actors on the other.
Community Land Trusts, at their best, are less about development and more about stewardship, creating just places for the long-term. CLTs are thus the ultimate preservationists, the developer/landowner who never abandons the property.
Feeney’s book is a helpful antidote to the “go to college at any cost” mindset. But more importantly, it examines how this mindset can corrupt the forms of association that allow our communities to thrive and the humans within those communities to flourish.
While every people has a right to cultural solidarity and (peaceful and just) defense of their traditions and heritage, every moral person (especially every Christian) is also called to a deep sense of humility, forgiveness, and ultimately love of neighbor—even when that other raises the housing prices literally ten-fold in twenty years.
Fidelity to place needn’t (and shouldn’t) result in stuckness, a condemnation of ever moving at all. But we must beware falling into that second trap: rejecting roots altogether.