Let’s ‘stand’ for local economy; but do we want bright collectivist future?

This 4-minute video gives a good impression how very smart and important people want to create “plans” for local economy.

The theory of local economy arises from an attribute of God as seen through creation — through the thingness of physical creation and the irresistible ticking of the clock.

The scriptures teach that God is all powerful, with an endless potency and might (He is omnipotent). It teaches He is all knowing and totally searching in His knowledge of all things created and uncreated; He knows the number of hairs on your head. He is omniscient. And He is ever present; nothing can exist apart from His knowledge and presence (he is, if you will, omnipresent). You cannot outflank or surprise God. God is a most pure spirit, invisible and incomprehensible, and we thank Him for revealing Himself to us.

We don’t share in these attributes. But there are communicable attributes of God that He shares with us. We have souls. We are persons. We have relationships, as do the three members of the Trinity. To facilitate communication, the  Father gave us Christ the Son of Man, who shares with us in His body physical attributes — spine, nose, knees, side. Because we are physical creatures, we exist in only one place at a time. We are localist. Like every tree or like Lookout Mountain or the curve in the Tennessee River, we live in time, which like gravity pulls us across a continuum we measure with calendars and wristwatches. Our place is fixed. Our time is fixed.

The placeness, the lieu, the proximity, the geocentrism built into every person is the basis of local economy.

Local economy — an idea to ‘stand’ on

My duty at Nooganomics is to explore the idea of place and locale in the context of an ordered universe, with God at the ethical and moral center.

My journalism isn’t the usual fare. I’m not a blogger writing about myself and my life. I’m not a news site, covering business or political doings. I’m lococentric — nay, Noogacentric — but  I’m not a cheerleader in the Chamber of Commerce or the tourist service guild. I’m not about puffery or parks.

The tourist boosters and news sites concern themselves with people and place. My interest as a lococentrist is the universal, the ideal, the intellectual and spiritual constructs that underlie the particulars. The soul, in other words.

A person is not a body with a soul, but a soul with a body, as C.S. Lewis says. The soul is first and foremost, and separates us from animals. The body is second.

My explorations walk a fine line between the soul (the universal, the idea) and the body (particulars of our time and place in Chattanooga). My work is general enough for localists anywhere in the world to enjoy (I think). But my effort is particular to Chattanooga. Our daily journal finds a handful of Chattanoogans as its biggest grouping of readers. (So, how am I doing? Sir, ma’am, I would enjoy your feedback.)

Competing theories on collective bases

I stand or fall on local economy. But other people jostle for elbow room on the idea, too, with a perspective diverse from ours. Whereas our explorations touch on God, creation, family life, the church, the rule of law, liberty and free markets, other claimants to local economy offer a much different view.

They look at jobs, the environment, crime and public schools. Mining rich data from surveys of local people, these benefactors are part of a plan to create a level of commercial government beyond city and county, beyond even the borders of a given state. They seek more leadership, as they see it, more direction, and are building an aura of public consensus to further their desire to serve.

Time today doesn’t permit close examination of these erstwhile localists’ working to unify local people in the context of “economic development” and regionalism. But the scope of their labor is hardly provincial, in the sense we are exploring. Their scope of local action expands to 16 area counties. A note published with the video at the top of this page says:

THRIVE 2055 is a private-public initiative to engage people from across the 16-county, tri-state region of Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Top of Alabama in setting a course for our shared future. The objective of the three-year process is to identify regional values and goals along with a consensus on strategies that can be implemented for the long-term prosperity of the region.

Their proposal? “Stakeholders including local elected, business and nonprofit leaders are coming together in an effort to engage everyone in charting a course for our shared future.” As Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger says on screen,  “The idea is to engage citizens across the region in developing growth strategies we all can agree on.”

But why must we, in the age of the automobile, the PDF and the Internet, centralize decisionmaking about regional development — taking it from the uncoordinated and free-will operation of the thousands of actors who make up the marketplace? Why, in the name of “growth strategies,” do we have to come together in departments, districts, committees and, ultimately, bureaucracies? Why does the effort have to be political, and not simply the quiet and unassuming operation of free actors in a free market?

If anything, technology and the brilliance of local business owners should impel us in the opposite direction. Rather than stream toward unification, centralization and oversight of high functionaries, why not a breaking up of systems that are unresponsive and too big to manage? Why not break up cartels such as public schools? Why not allow the free market and private enterprise to determine where to build highways, parking lots, sewer systems and malls?

— David Tulis, a deacon at Brainerd Hills Presyterian church, is married and the homeschooling father of four.

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