Thursday, March 16, 2006

If at first you don't succeed, count your blessings and run like hell.

Well, I didn't get elected to the planning board.

According to a show on New Hampshire Public Radio today, there are two kinds of people on planning boards in New Hampshire right now: those who want to stop all development and those who want to permit all development.

That's a gross oversimplification, of course, but planning drives people to opposite extremes the way all disputes seem to, these days. The pro-development side complains that any efforts to restrain development and make it more deliberate and thoughtful violate landowners' rights and confiscate their land without just compensation. The ever-hungry land pimps are happy to help drive property values higher and higher, aided by the fertile populace. The more people there are, the more you can charge each of them for a place to stand.

If I had any selfish sense I would wash my hands of the whole thing. But I've lived in enough places to know that I will simply be walking into a worse place or waiting for the problems to follow me to a better one if I cut and run from here. I want to stay here and continue the efforts I have helped to start. I hope I am allowed to do that. The really important things do take precedence over pleasure on demand, and the entirely personal pursuit of happiness.

It is equally, if not more, foolish to give up all personal pleasure for some Great Cause. But you have to do what you can, when you can.

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