To summarize briefly, “traditional America” is anti-social, anti-traditional, anti-authoritarian, feminist, egalitarian, individualist and money-obsessed. Its successes at maintaining functional social structures were always in spite of its traditions, not because of its traditions.
Even the very designs of the cities before cars were anti-social and anti-human, being wildly out of scale and out of step with natural human impulses and feelings. The cities were always alienating, always atomic, always unreal. In a handful of select regions, the exceptions merely tested the rule and found it unassailable.
So much of American desire is to achieve a Jeffersonian agrarian ideal of an isolated nuclear-family home surrounded by a self-sufficient homestead acreage. This desire is not conscious, so it leads to weirdly stupid concepts like “urban farming” and “Transition Towns” at its worst and most leftist and suburbia/sprawl at its worst on the right-hand side of the aisle. This isn’t to say that some people living that truly agrarian way on a few acres is wrong and no-one should do it, only that it can’t possibly be the only way to live and understanding how deeply rooted this desire is to urban planning, home buying and general life choices in America is key to finding some of those other good ways to live in natural, normal settings.
This is being done as a static page because I want to work out this Very Big Idea in one spot rather than strung across blog posts. So it’ll evolve a bit over the next little while. I need to also cover the desire to not live near poor people and the general feeling that living densely is only for poor people because that’s the ancestral memory operating. That aspect also plays into the inhuman living arrangements of so much of America.
Also, bikability vs. walkability. The former is anti-poor because it discourages density, while the latter isn’t, because it can accomodate biking, which is not true the other direction.