Dave Crockett is the mayor candidate who best reflects the ideas of local economy and free markets and who best reflects our unique analysis of the problems and prospects for Chattanooga.
It may be because he is the best travelled and the most International in the scope of his ideas that he can be the best lococentric and noogacentric mayor.
By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 101.1 FM
His candidacy has been difficult for us to analyze because of his environmentalism, his wide travels as consultant that make him a cosmopolite, his disdain for Tea Party critics whom we consider fellow travelers in the conflict with federal power in Washington, his support of a bullet train that seems feckless in light of mass transit’s general red ink status and his tendency to pragmatism.
Mr. Crockett puts on display the faults we see in a free market and constitutional analysis of office seekers and office holders as a class.
Independency & separation
Perhaps the perspective that helps corral our favor is Mr. Crockett’s concept of the independent city and independent city-state. This idea is a post-U.S. concept that accounts for the financial disaster ahead for the U.S. government and the debt-based American financial system. Mr. Crockett as mayor would elevate the practice of localism, local coherence and local identification that goes well beyond the tourism marketing at the Visitor’s Bureau or the long career of Bob Elmore whom even on his deathbed in 2010 was saying favorable things about the city.
Mr. Crockett does not speak in apocalyptic language about any coming U.S. financial disaster, for that would be a distraction in a tough run for mayor. His perspective is much nearer in time, and puts him in a hurry. He argues that Chattanooga and Atlanta and a mix of regional planners should press today for a high-speed train and that it be built during his term in office.
Mayor Andy Berke has ignored prospects of this project, and chief rival Larry Grohn scoffs at high-speed rail as not worth the mayor’s time and not really in his scope of authority, since it is a U.S.-funded project.
The city-state perspective is one that local economy lovers support. It views Chattanooga as potentially independent and self-contained, as a regional powerhouse economy with its own GDP and with a crucial blessing to offer Atlanta’s choked Hartsfield-Jackson international airport — namely, relief via Lovell Field.
Around the world decentralization and the digital distributed economy are taking hold. Factories are fading with the industrial age, 3-D printing economies are emerging. Centralized systems are collapsing and becoming unworkable. The digital economy is wrecking many Industries and the idea of a distributed economy is becoming increasingly possible. No candidate except Mr. Crockett speaks into this shifting paradigm, making the conservative Mr. Grohn look old-fashioned.
Mr. Crockett’s conception of the city-state puts into perspective the parts of his career and the argument that give me pause. If Mr. Crockett has been an environmentalist, it is not because he wants to bring the United Nations in the control of Hamilton County. Rather, it is his holistic sense of the proper use of means that seem to motivate his advanced thinking on energy-saving devices, green infrastructure such as porous tarmac and gardens-on-the-roof, new technology and green solutions if economically viable in a free market.
Tax reform favors city proper
If several Crockett positions don’t line up with my vigorous defense of free markets and constitutional obedience, it is because I am willing to overlook them on account of his person (not in rejection of principle), given his larger premises and confidence that he would be limited by circumstances and law in questionable interventions.
Last week Mr. Crockett’s proposal to have Chattanooga secede from Hamilton County made the argument that separating city from county would reduce city resident’s tax bills that now support county government and infrastructure in unincorporated areas.
“As Dave has outlined, we who live in municipalities end up paying twice for services,” says former mayor Ron Littlefield, “essentially subsidizing those who choose to live in unincorporated areas.” Mr. Crockett says a secession would reduce taxes in the city and make the city once again a magnet for the population because its taxes would be lower. For decades rural areas have drawn people out of cities for reasons of lower taxation. His proposal would reverse that process.
Mr. Crockett is a practicing Christian, though much of what he argues does not appear to be based on scriptural precepts and long, deep readings in the scriptures of biblical economics, such as the voluminous works of Gary North. But his Christian beliefs secure him in favor of marriage and the right to life, which Mr. Berke rejects in theory and in practice.
It appears that Mr. Crockett’s favor of a F$12 billion big rail presupposes the continuing financial strength of the U.S. government, whose many sins have not yet met their due reward. But here he is being pragmatic. It’s almost as if Mr. Crockett were saying, “We need to get that rail built before Washington goes under.” Not that he has said anything of that kind, but if the federal government is going to pay for the rail system, Mr. Crockett is happy to let it. And do it now.
Reminder of what free market means
Mr. Crockett has put a human face on the environmental movement. His environmentalism is part of his humanism and his localism. Care for the environment and desire to reduce waste are part of his care for human beings and not because he worships the planet as do some environmentalists. He knows who God is, and it’s not Mother Earth.
“What’s going to be required in the 21st century is resilience,” he says. “And this [centralized model] is not resilient. It’s highly vulnerable. Our food system.s Our energy systems. Transportation, that is so vulnerable and fragile. You can’t knock the internet down. Create your food within 75 miles of you rather than 3,000. You’re more self-sufficient. You’re more resilient. It also creates the jobs at the local level.”
Mr. Crockett, partly by personal persuasion and personal argument, forces me to question my general objection to activist government. Activist state rejects the free market. It tells a lie about you and your individual effort and self-interest, making out that these are petty and selfish and not productive of the higher good.
A Christian free market analysis views with great respect the individual and private decisions, and views the marketplace in terms of a harmony of interests rather than in terms of class conflict, as do Marxists and socialists and authoritarians. The Bible is the basis of capitalism, and the free market is envisioned there alone, though it is personal and not made impersonal (as it was by Scottish rationalism that withdrew the reformed faith from an interest in and care for the law of God and its specific application to civil society and the state).
Activism? In mayor’s office?
Is Mr. Crockett worth supporting if he promises to be an activist mayor, though using persuasion and conversation rather than compulsion and regulation?
Activist government is increasingly dangerous the further away from the citizenry it is. Activist government in Washington has ruined the republic. Activist thinking in Nashville has brought us commercial government (war on private business, private travel) and slavish obedience to judicially imposed act such as Roe vs. Wade and Obergefell vs. Hodges. The killing of the unborn and the deconstruction of marriage come from activist government rejecting constitutional law and God’s law in favor of the state and individualistic lawlessness.
Do we really want an activist mayor when so much perfidy and commerce and oppression have been brought to us by activist powers in Nashville and Washington and Brussels? Persuaded by personal interaction with candidate, I believe that Mr. Crockett will be an activist mayor in the direction he has outlined but that he will not work against the marketplace, against individual initiative, against the family or against constitutional government.
He is an old-school politician, a southerner, and a gentleman. He is superior to Mr. Berke who is a slick political functionary unwilling to make major commitments of time on unpopular but necessary projects such as the tax separation project which would liberate the city from the county.
Mr. Crockett is unlike Mr. Grohn, the Christian and Tea Party candidate, who is very detail-oriented, progressively favor of police law enforcement, and who lacks the scale of ideas espoused by Mr. Crockett. Mr. Crockett is also superior to Chris Long, the developer and architectural consultant, who is very rough around the edges, though he has good ideas.
It appears Mr. Crockett is open to policing reforms, though he has said nothing on the campaign trail. He is also open to arguments for local economy of the kind I make. So I can’t say definitively what sort of influence our arguments could have on a Crockett administration.
I believe that favor of the free market and respect of the individual are very much part of Mr. Crockett’s thinking and that he dislikes regulation greatly because that is the resort of slow thinkers and laggards.
Though Mr. Crockett is an environmentalist, he strikes me as someone who does not like compulsion and regulation because these don’t have lasting fruit, because they increase friction in the economy and in the society and reduce profit for everyone except the state.
We have asked very tough questions of Mr. Crockett. His answers are not always clear, and his self-styled rejection of ideology lets him avoid enunciating free market principles and ideas of Christian liberty. But of the four candidates, he is most closely aligned with our argument for local economy and a free market.