Surprising or inevitable?

Theres any number of unattractive habits in the behavior of the chattering class, those supposed pundits who declaim on television or in columns like this one, on subjects ranging from global cooling and stag-flation (those were hot topics during the 1970s) to global warming and deflation-prevention today.

One of those habits is the one which enables them to declare some previously unexpected and unpredicted event inevitable once it actually happened, as, for example, a few of the economic-analysis-challenged in our pundit group did after (but not before) Federal Reserve Chairman sent interest rates into the 20% range in order to destroy then-prevalent expectations regarding inflationary permanence.

With that background I must admit that I have no idea as to whether the recent foray of Waitsfields ruling class into townwide farmland control and perhaps even ownership-by-government comes as a surprise or as an inevitability.

My own first exposure to Waitsfield came in the mid-1950s, when dairying was the primary economic activity and milk was shipped in 40-quart cans from 10- or 12-cow barns. Waitsfield then had neither planning nor zoning, annual per-pupil school costs were in the $300 range, and the typical response to any proposal for land-use controls was Sonny, nobodys goin to tell me what I cant do with my land. Well, the 40-quart milk cans went out in the early 1960s, replaced by electrically cooled bulk tanks for a few of the farms, whose owners chose to make the major investment and milk a lot more cows to pay for it. The rest sold out for development, mostly in the new ski industry.

Back then, you could see Farm for Sale, $10 per Acre all along Route 100. Now Waitsfield has a new dominant demographic and it has different notions about the role of government in land management.

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