It’s pretty amusing to me that liberals today are still whining about being called “socialists,” considering the charge is at least a century old. Here one example from Robert Fogelson’s excellent Downtown chapter on height restrictions around the turn of the century:
The Post voiced especially strong objections to the argument that a height limit was necessary to prevent new buildings from undermining the profitability of old ones and to deter the business district from moving from one location to another. That was “Municipal Socialism,” it declared. The city had no more business regulating development than running a department store. Municipal authority was already encroaching on private enterprise in too many ways. “And if it be permitted to limit the economic development of the city it might as well buy the city outright and conduct it as a Socialist Elysium.”
And here’s another example later in the chapter about comprehensive zoning, with an extra “un-American” mixed in there:
In some cities, the efforts to impose height limits through zoning ran into strong resistance. Sometimes the resistance was fueled by the opposition to zoning, which, it was charged, was “unfair, undemocratic, and un-American.” It was unfair because it discriminated among property owners. As Horace Groskin, director of the Philadelphia Real Estate Board, declared: “By what right has a zoning commission to set itself up as the judge and distributer of property values? To take the value away from one property owner and give it to another, or not to give it to anyone but to destroy it entirely for the imaginary benefit of the community, strikes me as coming mighty close to Socialism.”
And while I’m in the mood to fill posts with others’ work, here’s another good (unrelated) quote from market anarchist Kevin Carson, as a Christmas Eve bonus:
As Ivan Illich put it, bureaucracies solve problems by escalation. For example, government builds subsidized freeways and provides subsidized water and sewer infrastructure to outlying developments — and then deals with the increased sprawl by proposing new subsidized roads to “relieve congestion,” or a sales tax on the public at large to pay for expanding sewer capacity. Before long, the local Growth Machine wonders why the new roads are filling up with new congestion from the strip malls and subdivisions that sprang up at every single exit.