DEVELOPMENT DOOMED IDEAL

Published: Monday, Aug. 22 1994 12:00 a.m. MDT

Thanks to Paul Parkinson and Karl Cates for their investigative journalism, which has better informed us all. No doubt Bill Doughty and Cleon Skousen will be criticized for their roles in so many families' losing their life savings, but these two men should be credited for having the insight to recognize that their view of the proper relationship between government and the individual presupposes an agrarian economy in which families "live off the land" in self-sufficiency and relative equality, and having the courage to try to bring about their vision.

Jefferson's famous dictum, "That government which governs best, governs least," was based on his ideal of a society of independent yeomen. Unfortunately, such ideal socioeconomic conditions were not universal even in Jefferson's time (Jefferson was a slaveholder, after all); and beginning with the Civil War the Industrial Age doomed this American ideal, ironically just after its quintessential expression in the Homestead Act of 1862.Development along the Wasatch Front has doomed this ideal in one of its last strongholds, Utah; today, developers in Utah build garish houses on lots not large enough to accommodate even a single fruit tree.

Doughty and Skousen should be commended for the integral unity of their beliefs; less insightful, or perhaps less honest, are those persons who continue to spout 18th-century political rhetoric while occupying positions of privilege in our late-20th century economy of interdependence.

Mark A. Riddle

North Salt Lake

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