The Hundredth Meridianrnby Chilton Williamson, Jr.rnHaving It AllrnYou could say liberalism is about squaringrnthe circle, if it weren’t for the fact thatrneven liberals don’t really expect to accomplishrnthis feat: They aim at creatingrnthe impression they can effect the impossible,rnand lying afterward about their successrnin having done it. hi between comesrnan impressive array or sequence of legislativernand bureaucratic initiatives —rnfudging and futile, as complicated asrnthey are incomprehensible, boring beyondrnthe limits of public attention —rnwhose purpose is to convince the voters,rnthe press, even the perpetrating politiciansrnthemselves, that Something Is BeingrnDone and A Solution Is in Sight.rnMonths, occasionally a few years, go byrnbefore a) everyone has forgotten the crisis,rnor b) the politicians and their mediarnapologists declare the victory of liberal ingenuitv’rnover the laws of mankind, and ofrnnature itself Nature, of course, knowsrnbetter, while even mankind can bernfooled only in the short run (dependingrnon your understanding of the wordrn”short”).rnThe process is necessarily surroundedrnby buzzwords, as a range carcass is surroundedrnby flies. In the old cowtown ofrnDenver, now a city of a couple of millionrnpeople, the majority of whom seem to berneconomic refugees from Old Mexicornand cultural ones from the Golden Statern(annually assuming a deeper bronzernhue), the loudest buzz being made by thernbiggest, most aggressive flies from the Republicanrngovernor down to the shabbiestrnenvironmentalist, the rattiest Democraticrnward-heeler, is “smart growth.” “Smartrngrowth,” like the “smart bomb,” representsrnan attempt at squaring the circle, atrnhaving it all; destruction without risk (tornthe aggressor), action without consequence,rnchoice without sacrifice. Overrnthe past two decades Colorado has doubledrnits population, most of the growthrnoccurring north and south of the Denverrnarea along the Front Range. The sceneryrnis (or rather was) lovely, the climate idealrn(before the L.A. smog was piggybacked inrnlike the chemical version of an alien biologicalrnspecies in the car trunks of arrivingrnAngelenos), the prairie an indefinitelyrnexpansive Eden awaifing completionrnby the travail of developers (until, spreadingrneastward, Denver butts up againstrnKansas City the way Los Angeles is projectedrnto bump into Phoenix, Arizona).rnAmericans all want the same thing at thernsame time (a dependable sign of massrnhysteria), and to live in Colorado is arncraze lasting already at least 30 years.rnAnd ever’thing at once as well: Californiarnfreeways in addition to Coloradornmountains, big-city convenience alongrnwith small-town access. West Coastrnlifest’les in a heart of the American heartlandrn—most importantly. Pacific Rimrnsalaries on an old buffalo pasture and Indianrnhunting-ground. “Smart growth” isrnan attempt at having it ever)’ which wayrnthrough land set-asides, easements, restrictionsrnon developers, and so on, withoutrnputting the brake on populationrnincrease and economic growth: by combining,rnthat is, virtue with greed, a programrnwhich reflects almost the whole ofrnthe national political, social, and economicrnagenda at the start of the third millennium.rnThe Denver Post, a liberal newspaperrncalling itself “The Voice of the RockyrnMountain Empire,” works hard to live uprnto its billing, boosting city and state withrnthe pep and zip of the Zenith Advocate-rnTimes. The Post’s Sunday edition isrnreally a giant promotional kit aimed atrnselling off Colorado to the highest bidder.rnThe editors are alarmed by what yournmight call “stupid growth,” but when itrncomes to corporafions relocafing in Denver,rntoo much is never enough. They’rernconcerned about loss of wilderness in areasrnsurrounding Colorado’s ski resorts,rnbut during the winter months give Vail,rni’^pen, Copper Mountain, and Telluridernwhat amounts to free publicity in the interestrnof pumping up these destructivernbehemoths to even greater size. The Immigrationrnand Naturalization Service announcesrnits intention of cracking downrnon illegal immigrants in Colorado, andrnthey protest that the ski industry requiresrnthese honest, hard-working people whorntake jobs Americans won’t do, and thatrnthe INS ought to be working to ensurerntheir civil and economic rights instead.rnThe Vail city council passes a resolutionrncalling upon Congress to enact legislationrnto stabilize population growth in thernUnited States, and the Posf s editorial policyrnis “no comment.”rnColorado’s largely Republican congressionalrndelegation and its state legislaturernhave been supportive of bills in Congressrnaimed at establishing new nationalrnmonuments, most of them in the West,rnand at upgrading the present SandrnDunes National Monument near Alamosarnto the status of a national park.rnWhen President Clinton in 1996 createdrnthe Escalante-Grand Staircase NationalrnMonument in Utah by executive orderrnand in January 2000 invoked the AntiquitiesrnAct of 1906 to designate a millionrnacres in Arizona the “Grand Canyon-rnParashant National Monument,” Republicanrnlawmakers were outraged. ColoradornRepublicans, though, have arnspecial consideration these days: theirrnstate’s suburbs which, in addition to beingrnlargely Republican, are populated byrnoutdoor reereationists driving $40,000rnfour-wheel-drive vehicles. If this developmentrnshould in time be repeated inrnother of the Western states, an eventualrnrealignment in environmental politicsrncould occur as environmentalism rediscoversrnits WASPish, upper-middle-classrnroots in the consenation ethic of Republicanrnprogressivism early in the ‘1900’s—rnwhich God forbid.rnPeter Huber, a senior fellow at thernneoconservative Manhattan Institute,rnmakes the case in his recently publishedrnbook. Hard Green: Saving the Environmentrnfrom the Environmentalists, A ConservativernManifesto, for a “conservative”rnbrand of environmentalism. “[T]o conservernwilderness legacies and to expandrnthem is not to abandon conservative principle,”rnhe argues, “it is to affirm it.” Wellrnand good. Reading further, however, onernAPRIL 2000/49rnrnrn