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You say sustainable, I say social engineering manifesto

Viewers of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners meeting Tuesday were treated to a mini-debate on political philosophy.

Reacting to a presentation on a “Sustainability Report Card” created for the community by Sustain Charlotte, a nonprofit that researches and champions creating environmentally sustainable communities, District 5 Commissioner and self-described Libertarian Matthew Ridenhour suggested the report and recommendations were a “social engineering manifesto.”

He said some of the suggestions, like redesigning streets to create a network of bicycle lanes and discouraging suburban sprawl, push a lifestyle agenda on the community, “taking away someone’s personal choice about how they want to live.” Some may prefer living in the suburbs far from the city’s core, he said, “And, you know, that’s OK.”

When it was suggested that the smog created by large numbers of commuting cars also infringes on people’s rights, Ridenhour responded: “If you choose to live in the city, you give up certain rights.”

When it came his turn to speak, Chairman Trevor Fuller responded: “I don’t think individual liberty means selfishness…We live in a society, and that means that we can’t all do what we want to do.”

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