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International Journals

THE RADICAL RIGHT AND LAND USE PLANNING: A POLITICAL ECOLOGY OF CONFLICT
Author(s): CHARLES C. GEISLER
Source: International Review of Modern Sociology, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Autumn 1982), pp. 211-228
Published by: International Journals
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THE

RIGHT AND LAND USE PLANNING:


RADICAL
ECOLOGY
A POLITICAL
OF CONFLICT
CHARLES C. GEISLER
CornellUniversity

Reviewof ModernSociology
International
1982,Vol. 12(Autumn):
(Pp 211-228)
in the United
Thereare manyindicatorsof radical rightresurgence
situations.Such a resurgence
States, mostof whichoccurin conflict
signalsa challengeto state and regional initiativesin land use
to unabridged
, given the radical righs commitment
priplanning
. Research on
vatepropertyrightsand decentralizedlocal control
to resourceplanningwas conductedin
radical rightobstructionism
Wisconsinwhererecentfailures in land use planning have been
attributedto rightwing extremism.Local controlwaspositively
associatedwithmultiplemeasuresof extremism
, butextremism
failed to explainoppositionto land use planning whena measure of
political ecology and other backgroundvariableswerecontrolled.
The implications
areas such as
forpublicpolicy in conflict-prone
land use planningare discussed.
The lowermiddle class, the small manufacturer
, the shopkeeper9
theartisian, thepeasant, all these fightagainst thebourgeoisie
, to
save from extinctiontheir existence as fractionsof the middle
class. Theyare thereforenotrevolutionary
, but conservative.Nay
..
more, theyare reactionary.
Karl Marx (.19S9[1848]:332)
There is considerableevidencethat whatDurkheim(1964) referredto
as "shared normativeunderstandings'*
in societyare, in the contemporary
UnitedStates,no longershared. The reemergenceof the radical right,
and its polarizingeffectsin such nationaldebates as gun controland the
Panama Canal Treaties, abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment,
propertytaxes and omnibusland use legislationlend supportto thisview.
The liberal BrookingsInstitutenow has its conservativecounterpart,the
American EnterpriseInstitute,and the Jewishcommunity,
havingsponsoredmuch of the originalresearchon the radical rightthroughthe AntiDefamationLeague (Lipset and Raab, 1978),is itselfturningrightin both

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212

REVIEWOF MODERN
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SOCIOLOGY

Israel and the United States (Rosenbergand Howe, 1977). The titleof a
recentNew York Timeseditorial, "The Charge of the Right Brigade",
capturesthe mood of editorialsacross the country.
The scholarlyinterestin radical rightextremismis not new. It can be
traced to William Graham Sumner's concern for the "forgottenman"
of conservativeopposition to
(1918), to Karl Mannheim'sinvestigations
the rise of modern rationalism(1927), and to Ortegay Gasset's classic,
The Revoltof theMasses (1932). The mass psychologyof fascism and
the chilling effectof the McCarthyismhave promptedintensivesocial
science research on extremismduring and afterWorld War II (e.g.,
Fromm, 1941; Bettelheim,1943; Adorno,et al., 1950; Hofstadter,1955;
Kornhauser,1959; Upset, 1960; Shils, 1961; Reissman, 1971; Coser and
Howe, 1977; Steinfels,1979; Hunter,1980). Certainreviewsof scholarship
dealing withthe radical right,however, suggest that conceptualization
behind this epithet is in disarray. The studiesare markedwithinternal
inconsistencies(Abcarian and Stanage, 1965), with validity problems
(Miller and Reissman, 1961; Jackman, 1972; Lipsitz,1965), and witha
conspicuousneglectof structuralcircumstancesengenderingreactionary
consciousness(Zeitlin,1967).
The objectivein the presentresearch is to examine the allegedly right
wingnatureof local resistenceto non-localland use regulation.On the one
hand,thereis compellingface validityin thenotionthatthestridentcall for
local control is motivated by a politicalconservatismhostileto planning
in generaland to planningwhichabridgespropertyrightsin particular.As
such, right wing extremismmay underliethe perennialconflictbetween
privatelandownershipand thisexpressionof social control. On the other
hand,the incoherencyof muchradical rightexpositionleaves its influence
upon local belligerenceopen to question,if not to alternativeinterpretations. One such alternativeis thatpolitical ecology- a structuralcondition- delineates basic support and opposition for such planningand is
conflictin this strategicpolicy area.
thereforeessentialto understanding
The Radical Rightand Land U se Planning
To manyland use planners,rightwing extremismhas been the bete
noire of their attemptsto rationalizea balkanized,inconsistent,and environmentally
injuriouspropertysystem.Nationally,theFarm Bureau,the
the U.S. Chamberof Commerce
National Association of Manufacturers,
and stillmoreconservativegroups,such as the Liberty Lobby, have led
successful offensivesagainst nationalland use planninglegislationin the
1970s (Reilly, 1977; Popper, 1981).1 Reportson state land use planning
such as the Sabre in Wisconsinand the
lSeveralConservative
foundations,
anddocumentation
forsuch
provideresearch
HeritageFoundationin Washington,

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THERADICAL
RIGHTANDLANDUSEPLANNING

213

initiativesin such statesas New York, California,Utah, Vermont,Florida,


and Wisconsin suggest resistance by a vociferousradical rightas do, in
theirown fashion,the Sagebrush and Tundra rebellions in the western
states and Alaska.2 Invariably,the centralissues are the unfettered
pursuitof happinessthroughprivatepropertyrightson the one hand and the
on local jurisdicencroachmentsof federal,stateor regionalgovernments
tional domainson the other (Agger et al., 1964; Newby et al., 1978;
Geisler, 1979).
An exampleis the local opposition to regional land use planning in
Pennsylvania'sBrandywineRiverBasin. Some observersreducethisoppositionto "McCarthyism";hardened conservatismis attributedto opponents' status as "farmers and blue collar workers", to their lack of
refinement
("burlyand roughspoken") and to theirimpotence"to prevent
intervention'1
government
(Strong,1957:7). Similarportrayalsare made
past
of in-holdingpropertyowner associations in Yosemite and Yellowstone
National Parks and in New York State's AdirondackPark. In Wisconsin,
a statewidesystemof regionalplanningcommissionshas been challenged
in recentyearsbythe withdrawalof some 350 local governmentunits; at
least one faction instrumentalin thisdismantlingprocesshas been describedas rightwing"vigilantes"(Hoffman,1977:2).
An alluring question about the opposition to centralized land use
planning effortsis whetherits alleged radical rightcharacteremanates
fromstrictly
ideologicalsourcesor fromanticipatedmaterialjeopardy and
economic insecurityamong propertyownersshould such regulationtake
the radical righthas been viewedas "dispossessed"
effect.3Interestingly,
with
but
respectto loss of status,powerand culturalidentity
(Bell ,1962),
tendsto be
material
than
rather
dispossession. In otherwords,extremism
shared
or
social
a
viewedas
by socially
pathology psychologicalsyndrome
alienated individuals. The "social pathologists",as C. Wright Mills
efforts
position
papersexpress(see Sabre,1972andStitch,1974).One ofthe better
is by McLaughry
oppositionto nationalland useplanning
ing the conservative
(1975).
refertowidespread
in theWestand
andTundrarebellions
2TheSagebrush
support
lands-some90percentof which
offederal
inAlaskafartheconversion
government
- to private
domainsubject
tomarket
forces.
Conservative
states
lie n thefarWestern
ofthecause,has called for a "second
OrrinHatchiR-Utah'a champion
Senator
this conversion
in theWestwhichwouldaccomplish
Revolution"
Americ:n
(Webb,
1981).
willrecognize
controversies
thisas the
withlanduse planning
familiar
3Readers
owners,
usuallyformulated
amongproperty
"takingissue" that is, the sentiment
thatsuchregulation
to confiscato landuseregulations,
amounts
in legalchallenges
ofthe
Amendments
tion of property
rightsbarredby the FifthandFourteenth
see Bosseimen
et al., (1972).Theexpropriation
For further
elaboration,
Constitution.
in passingbyStrong(1975:7)andAggeret.ah,(1964:557-8),
threatis mentioned

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214

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INTERNATIONAL

(1943:170) noted a generationago, "tend to slip past structureto focuson


isolatedsituations",thus,seeingproblemsas "problemsof individuals".
The argumentdevelopedin the present research is one of political
ecology. Extreme opposition to social control over propertyrightsis
construedas a structuraldilemma- director indirectoccupationaldependence on a viableprivatepropertysystem-ratherthanas social pathology.
What is a transferof propertyrightsto a professionalland use planneris
perceivedas dispossessionand deprivationby the title holder; this sense
force behindstridentlocal
of dispossession is a seriouslyunderestimated
controland "reactionary"responsesto social control. The notable force
behindtherejectionof land use regulationis, in otherwords,the material
alienationof propertyrights rather than a generalized social alienation
looselyreferredto as rightwingextremism.
Hypotheses
Radical right extremismis a hydra-headednotion, the underlying
dimensionsof whichhave been enumerated and categorized in various
ways (e.g., Wolfingeret al. 1964; Abcarianand Stanage, 1965; Lipset and
and abstract.For some, itis an exagRaab, 1970). It is an ethos,ill-defined
gerated "private regarding" syndromewhose adherents disregardthe
greaterpublic interest;for others, it is a broadcognitivegestaltunifying
manyfragmentsof "middleAmerica" into a controversialsocial movement. Whateverits true nature, those exhibiting
one rightwing characteristicare frequentlyviewed as subscribersto the whole clothof right
wingextremism.Thus, it oftenis said that detractorsof centralizedland
use planningare characterizedby a range of traditionalbeliefs, lack of
sophisti :ation, workingclass status,powerlessness,and even authoritarian
personalities.
Failure to differentiate
thissupposed"family"of radical rightcharacblur
social
teristics may
the
dynamicsof land use conflictmore than it
illuminatesthem.Not onlydoes it bringa crudeand potentiallyunreliable
unityto whatare oftenquite disparatesocial dimensions,but it can divert
analyticattentionfroma materialbasisof local protectionism-theconfiscatorypotentialof certainland use planningpolicies.The firsthypothesis
to be tested,therefore,
attributed
questionsthe coherencyof characteristics
to the ultra-right.Specifically,
we hypothesizethatthe supposedlyunitary
radical rightconceptualizationinstead consists of multipledimensions
dimensionswhichbear littleor no relationship
to each other.
The second hypothesisundertakesa closer look at the association
betweenextremism
and local control before and after the influenceof
include
backgroundcharacteristicsis held constant. These characteristics
propertyownershipand a measure of politicalecology. The expectation
is that,givepthese controls,thereremains littleor no positiveassociation

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THERADICAL
RIGHTANDLANDUSEPLANNING

215

tetweenlocalismand radical right "alienation". Evidence in supportof


thisexpectationwould suggesta spuriousrelationshipand heighteninterest
in the contribution
of political ecologyto the rejection of land use regulation. The thirdand finalhypothesisilluminatesthe following question:
What is the relativeimpactof rightwingextremismon resistanceto land
use planningafteroccupationalrelianceon a minimallyregulatedproperty
system has been taken into account? It is expected that where this
reliance is high resistance will be greatest,and that an affirmative
test
of materialalienationversussocial alienationwill be possible.4
Data and Measures Used
Wisconsinis well suitedfora studyof the possibleeffectof right-wing
extremism
on aggressiveland use planning.5The statehas two well-known
mutuallyrepelling political traditions.On the one hand, there is an
acknowledged Progressivelineage extending back to the early 1900s
Wisconsinis the birthplaceof theRepublican
(Caine, 1970). Alternatively,
a
Party.And, only generationago, Wisconsinvoterselectedand reelected
JosephMcCarthy to the Senate. Subsequently,a varietyof studieshave
extremismas a source of public policy conbeen completedon right-wing
flictin the state(Adrian, 1967; Rogin, 1966).6 It is noteworthy
that the
case
vs.
Marinette
the
in
landmark
Just
the
plaintiffs
testing
legalityof
Wisconsin's shoreland zoning law were membersof a local JohnBirch
Society.7
In orderto testthe firsthypothesisquestioningthe unity of the radical
neednot be mutuallyexclusive.See, forexample,
4Theseformsofalienation
Torrence
(1977).
Court uphelda municipal
5In1923,theStateSupreme
zoningordinance,
predaCourtin
bytheU.S. Supreme
tingby threeyearsthe classic1926parallelruling
nowaccepted
Euclidvs. Ambler
bymoststates,had itsorigins
Reality.Ruralzoning,
in differential
in thelate1920s.Thestatepioneered
taxation
in Wisconsin
(use-value)
of landwithitsForestCropLaw(1927).In the1930s,thestatelegislation
beganthe
fromcontrolof
a formal
of sceniceasements,
separationof ownership
purchase
inthe 1960s.Wisconsinpassed its
was
a
that
greatly
expanded
program
property,
WaterQualityActin 1965,modelshorelandprotection
legislationchallengedas
in 1972(see below).
unconstitutional
radicalright
hasbeendoneon thetopic of fluoridation,
research
Considerable
American
viewedby the rightas an anti(Riessman,
conspiracy
1971).
supposedly
abandoned
fluoridation
in 1960
toAdrian(1967),Wisconsin's
cityofAntigo
According
itfiveyearslaterwhena stale
ofa conservative
as a result
onlyto restore
campaign,
had
healthdepartment
study showedtoothdecayamongAntigokindergartners
in theintervening
increased
years.
by92 percent
ofNortheast
Wisconsin
withDirector
7Basedon conversation
RegionalPlanning
theWisconsin
Courtruledin 1972 in favorof
Supreme
Commission,
April7,1978,
resources
toregulatewetland
underSections59.71 and 144.26
thestate'sauthority
oftheStateStatutes,

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216

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rightgestalt,a reviewof the literaturewas undertakenand producedthe


"traits":
followingultra-conservative
Nativism:Extremistsof therightare believedto focus nostalgicallyon
America. This accountsfortheir presumed relifrontier
preindustrial,
ance on simple conventionalwisdom and contractin preferenceto
sophisticated,highlyrationalizedexplanationsand exchanges(Abcarian,
197P. Nativism thus conveys a romantic longingfora social order
markedby naturalunityof humanwill,in essence, the "gemeinschaft"
conceivedof by FerdinandTonnies a centuryago. It is a rejectionor
phobicresponseto an Americathat has fallen from grace (Riessman,
1971).
Agrarianism:Perhaps no association is more widelyshared by analysts
of all disciplinesand persuasionsthan the notion thatruralinhabitants
are rustic, conservative,and provincial. Lipset (1960) bolsters his
argumentthat lower classes are authoritarianby citing cross-national
surveydata thatindicatefarmersare reactionary.Converse(1964) cites
Nazi appeal in ruralGermany; others argue that, wherethe agrarian
and intolerance
mythpersistsin America, so too is thereconformity
towardsinnovation,even where the well-beingof societyis concerned
(Cooper, 1970;Haer, 1952). Similar"hidebound" conservativestereotypes are frequentlyused in depictingruraland smalltown residents
(e.g., Bertrandand Corty, 1962; Taylor and Jones,1964; Knoke and
Henry, 1977).
AntiSocialism: Fear and loathing of depersonalizedgovernment
are
the
radical
hallmarks
of
Abcarian
and
right (Trow, 1958;
perhaps
Stanage, 1965). Big governmentconnotes bureaucracy, regimented
lifestyles,
dependencyon welfare statism, and planning,all of which
are ruinous to rugged individualism.These alleged losses in privacy
and self-relianceare indignities many Americans associate with
collectivism.
: Politicalaffiliation,
Conservatism
particularlywith known right wing
organizationssuch as the Young AmericansforFreedom,the Christian
Anti-CommunistCrusade, the Minutemen,the American Party,the
LibertyLobby, or withracial supremacy groups is commonlyaccepted
as emblematicof the Right (Abcarian and Stanage, 1965). More
withthe Republican Party is takenas a general
commonly,affiliation
conservatism
of
measure
(e.g., Koenig 1975).
Fundamentalism:The extremeright takes a puritanicalapproach to
work,welfare,and religion(Danzig, 1971; Miller, 1968; Hunter,1980).
doctrines
Thus, the radical rightmessageis mingledwithfundamentalist
usuallyof a Christian variety.Big government,particularlyin its

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THERADICAL
RIGHTANDLANDUSEPLANNING

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extremeform(communism),embodiesthe sinisterforcesof anti-Christ.


Judo-Christianprecepts, as recorded in the Bible, enFurthermore,
courageindividualappropriationof the land and itsbounty,individual
wisdomsufficing
to preventresourceexhaustion.
Alienation( twomeanings):The themeof social-psychologicalalienation
runsthroughoutthe radical rightliterature,oftenreflecting
divergent
uses of the term. Riessman(1971) sees alienationas impotencybefore
a changingsociety,an impotencyHofstadter(1955) identifies
as leading
to a pseudo-conservative
revolt. Lipset (1960) takes this powerlessness
to mean a lack of communityand occupational integration.Others
construealienationto mean isolationfrom politicallymeaningfulparticipation (Wolfingeret al., 1964) and fromthe power of elitesmore
generally(Wright,1976). It followsthat non-centristgovernmentand
localism are viewed as means of retainingor reclaimingpower over
one's life(Horton and Thompson,1962; Miller, 1968).
Authoritarianism:
People exhibiting"authoritarianpersonalities"have
vulnerable
to the demagoguery of fascism (Adorno, 1950;
proved
and
Fromm, 1941;
Shils, 1961) and McCarthyism (Trow, 1958;
Wilkinson,1972). Lipset(1960) has popularizedthe notion of working
class authoritarianism
attributableto low education,low organizational
isolated
participation,
primarysectoroccupations,economic insecurity,
and authoritarianfamilypatterns which are transmitted
duringchildsuch characexhibit
a
if
hood. By thislatterlogic,
person's parents
not
is
is
sufficient
teristics(what is necessary and what
clear), an
transferof extremistor "authoritarian"personalityis
intergenerational
predictable.
Data for the present analysiswere collectedbytheWisconsinsurvey
Research Laboratoryin a 1974 statewidesurvey. The samplingtechnique
was a multi-stageprobabilitysample,followingthe Kish (1949) procedure
forselectingrespondentsbyhouseholdunitwithin 26 selectedcounties of
the state. These 548 respondentsconsisted of adults 18 yearsof age or
older (housingunitson militaryreservationsand institutionalor group
quarterswere excluded).Surveyquestionsincludedmanyopinionvariables
expressiveof the rightwing attitudes just identified.Twentysuch items
are included in the present analysis and appear withtheirmeans and
standarddeviationsin Table 1. Respondents were giventhe opportunity
to agree, disagree, or to deferansweringforlack of knowledge. These
"don't know" responses, along with missing data, wererecordedto the
statisticalmean; and high scores ("agree") indicateconcurrencewitha
rightwingperspective.
These twentyindicators have been factor analyzed according to a

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218

INTERNATIONAL
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OFMODERN
SOCIOLOGY
Table 1 :- Meansand StandardDeviationsof Radical Right
ItemsSelectedforVarimaxFactor Analysis.
ITEM

(1) TheAmerican
wayis as closeas we can getto a
perfect
society.
lifeforman.
lifeis thenatural
(2) Agrarian
on
shouldspendpartoftheirchildhood
(3) Children
a farm.
(4) Thefarmis an idealplaceto raisea family.
thecountry
closeto
is bringing
(5) Federalregulation
socialism.
in thelossof essenresults
planning
(6) Government
tialliberties
andfreedoms.
ofpoliticalphilosophy.
(7) Selfidentification
to manandall it says
(8) TheBibleis God's message
is true.
happened
(9) All miracles
justas theBiblesays they
did.
thanany otheriorm of
truth
is higher
(10) Religious
truth.
to believethatone can inthinking
(11) It is wishful
fluence
whathappensin society.
(12) Theworld is run by a fewpeopleandthereis
littlethatcan be doneaboutit.
when they
interests
mypersonal
(13) I cannotprotect
withthoseofstrong
conflict
pressure
groups.
(14) I feelfreeto dropbyandvisitwithmost people
in theneighborhood.
in thiscom(15) I feel at home almostanywhere
munity.
(16) I knowthepeoplearoundherequitewell.
(17) I don't feel like a memberofthiscommunity
(reversed).
(totalyears).
(18) Father'seducation
(19) Father'soccupation.
at age 18.
placeofresidence
(20) Respondent

S.D

2.49
2.73

.99
.92

2.58
2.48

*98
.97

2.74

.87

2.78
4.05

.88
1.14

2.22

1.00

2.68

1.10

2.28

1.08

3.17

1.03

2.72

1.17

2.82

1.00

2.20

.92

2.25
2.43

.95
1.00

2.17
9.21
-

.84
3.43
-

varimax procedure in Table 28. Six independentfactorsemerge, and


factor labels selected from the previousdiscussionare assigned. In the
case of variablesone ("The Americanway is as close as we can come to a
perfect society") and seven (respondents' self-identified political
whichprovidesresearchers
a means
^Factoranalysisis a statistical
manipulation
on dataaccording
to variouscriteria.The varimaxcriterion
structure
ofimposing
maximizesthe varianceof squaredloadingsof factorsundertheorthogonality
or dimensions
whichresulthave eigenvalues
of at least
Thefactors
restriction.
is equivalent
Theeigenvalue
tothetotalvariance
loadings.
1.0,thesumofthesquared
bythefactor.
explained

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RIGHTANDLANDUSEPLANNING
THERADICAL

219

philosophy),thereis no evidentclusteringwithothervariablesin thefactor


analysis. Thus, the overallpatternwhichemergesis one of heterogeneity
and diversity.Policy prescriptionsamong land use planners and other
resource managers which assume a unidimensionalradical right may
thereforeoverreactor improperlydiagnose the natureof local resistance
to theirinitiatives.
Table 2:- VarimaxRotationProcedureof PrincipalComponents
Factor AnalysisforRadical RightItems.
Variable
Numbers
(from)
Table1)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

(I)

(2)

.23
.07
-.09
.13
.08
.06
-.17
.87
.84
.77
.04
.07
-.20
.07
-.12
-.15
- .06
.15
.04
.16

.00
.71
.78
.65
.21
.43
.05
.15
- .12
.04
.21
.21
- .04
.09
.18
-.16
.09
.21
.22
.00

FACTORS
(3)
.35
.21
-.03
.19
.79
.73
.16
.03
.41
-.11
.10
.02
.18
.31
.04
-.05
-.06
.00
.10
.12

(4)
.30
.00
.04
-.26
.09
.00
.22
.10
.01
-.03
.56
.58
.57
.4i
-.03
-.20
.14
.18
-.12
.06

(5)
-.12
.04
.14
-.02
.07
.16
.29
- .04
.09
.26
.08
-.07
.00
.81
.80
.76
.73
.12
.04
-.01

(6)_
-.25
-.10
.17
.21
.06
- .01
-.12
.00
.16
-.36
.04
.14
.15
.03
.30
.19
-.16
.50
.71
.<*_

The Wisconsindata asked two questions of respondents which,when


combined9,permitteda rigorous test of the relationshipbetween local
ordisagreement
totheir
"Somerespondents
werefirst
divided
agreement
according
the
of
favor
in
be
shifting
powerfrom
with the following
"Would
you
question:
federal
to stateandlocalgovernment?"
Nearly60 percentfavoredsuch
government
andto tie
a shift.To distinguish
preferences
betweenstate andlocalgovernment
into two
divided
further
was
suchsentiments
this60 percent
to landuse planning,
"Wouldyou be in favorof the state
categoriesbased on thefollowing
inquiry:
and zoningofland use in your
rolein theplanning
a stronger
government
playing
is leftwithlocal government?"
area,or do youfeelit is betteriftheresponsibility
identified
andwerethereafter
274outof the totalsampletookthislocalistposition
as "localists".

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220

INTERNATIONAL
REVIEW
OF MODERN
SOCIOLOGY
Table 3:- Zero-Orderand Partial CorrelationsBetweenLocalism
and Measuresof Radical Right.

RadicalRight
Measures
Nativism
Agrarianism
Anti-Socialism
Individualism
Conservatism
Fundamentalism
Powerlessness
Isolation
Authoritarianism

Correlations
Zero-Order
.127*
.143*
.120*
.163*
.111*
.115*
.017
.156*
.038

Partiala
.082*
.112*
.151**
.100*
.073
.081
.006
.099*
.044

forage,Education,
andProperty
Controlling
Center-Periphery
at a = .05level
*Sgnificant
at a=.01 level,or greater
Significant
on the right.The results,shownin Table 3, suggest
controland extremism
that a positive relationship,in fact, existsat boththe zero and higher
order correlations.Here, radical rightis measured using the resultsof
the factoranalysis in Table 2. Note thatthefirstand seventhvariables
now appear as separate dimensions of extremismand that the antisocialism factor (a combinationof variablesfourand fivein Table 2) is
brokeninto its component parts for closer observationin the testingof
hypothesestwo and three.
Seven of the nine measuresof rightwingextremismare significantly
relatedto localismat or below the criterionlevel of .05 and in a positive direction. This pattern is not seriouslyalteredin the accompanying
partial correlations,where five out of seven of the measures retain
statisticalsignificance.The control variables in thissecond analysisare
age, education, real propertyownership,and a measure of political
ecologyexplainedbelow. To summarize,the more a respondentis identified as ultra-conservative,
the more he or she tends to oppose non-local
land use planning. The highest partial correlation is with the antisocialism measure, as might be expected in an analysis featuringthe
opposingpoliticalspectrum.The lowestcorrelation,on the other hand,
is a measure of alienation (powerlessness). But for this finding,the
resultsof Table 3 do not support the predictionthat the relationship
betweenlocal controland rightwingextremism
is spurious.
The Political Ecologyof Conflict
Until thispoint,the roots of resistanceto non-localland use planning
have been examined onlyindirectly,
usinga compositemeasureof local

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THERADICAL
RIGHTANDLANDUSEPLANNING

22 1

control which incorporatesa question on the preferredlevel of such


regulation. In theinterestof testingradical rightinfluenceon land use
planning more directly,a scale of eightland use controlitemscoveringa
broad range of land use managementinitiativesin Wisconsin was constructedand appears in AppendixI. Respondents were asked to state
thirsupportor oppositionforeach policy. These responses were standardized to "equalize" the dissimilar responsecategoriesofferedon the
survey. Missingdata weretreatedas zero, the standardizedmean, and
the Cronback's Alpha measure of internal consistencyfor the scale
createdfromthesemeasureswas .62.
AttitudesTowardAssortedLand Use PlanningPolicies
in Wisconsin,1974
LandUs*Policies
Do youthinkthatmotorcycles
andsimilar
vehiclesshouldor shouldnotbe keptout
of recreation
areas in stateandnational
parks?
Howaboutsnowmobiles
. . . shouldthey
be bannedfromrecreation
areasornot?
Thestateandfederalgovernments
should
createmoreparksin Wisconsinwithan
on preserving
landin its natural
emphasis
state.
Howdo youfeelaboutpassinglawswhich
lands frombeing
prohibitagricultural
uses?
converted
to other
value of highwaybillTheinformation
the blightthey
boardsdoesnotoutweigh
puton thelandscape.
Do youfavoror oppose zoningfor the
of singlefamilyhomesfrom
separation
dwellings?
apartment
Do youfavoror oppose zoningfor the
separationof mobilehomesfromother
typesofhousing?
Do youfavoror opposemorezoningreson privatelakes and riverfront
trictions
property?

Respondent
Disposition
Favoror
Oppose
Agree Neutral orDis(N)
agree
(%)

(%)

(%)

57

15

28

(530)

45

22

33

(530)

72

15

13

(539)

50

15

35

(530)

57

13

30

(533)

60

30

(530)

79

17

(538)

56

35

(484)

Political ecology, as used here, refers to the politicallysignificant


relationshipof human populationsto theresourcebase from which they
make their living. Conservatism,by this logic, depends at least in part

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222

INTERNATIONAL
REVIEW
OF MODERN
SOCIOLOGY

on a respondent'sprincipalsustenanceactivity-the way a person provides forbasic needs and reproducestheirfamilyand larger community.
Threatsto basis sustenanceactivitiesmay lead, as the quotation at the
outsetof the paper suggests,to reaction- that is, to ultra-conservatism.
Where social controlsover privatepropertythreatento reduce an owner's
income opportunitiesby restricting
sale or use options, concerted opposition may be expected. This is particularlytruewhen social controls
are nonlocal in origin, in which case the influenceof local property
ownersovervariancesand otherexemptionsare greatlyreduced.
In thepresentanalysis,political ecologyis operationalized by separating the twentysix counties sampledin Wisconsin into two subregions.
The first("Periphery")includesthose countieswhich, according to the
U.S. Department of Commerce,have a highproportion(average 25 percent) of self-employed
personsin theirlabor force. It is thisconstituency
10 willbe
who, as proprietors,
keenlyaware of the economic consequences of curtailingpropertyrights and who would be expectedto resist
land use planningon principle.The second subregion("Center") groups
those countieswhichhave a lower average proportion (11 percent) of
self-employedin their labor force. The inhabitantsof the center,by
similarlogic, are more likelyto conformto basic modificationsin their
propertyrights.Indeed, people employed in manufacturing,services,
and the high technology sectors have far less at stake occupationally
fromrearrangements
in real propertyrightsthan do the self-employed.
The relative impacts of center-periphery,
localism, property, and
land use scale are compared
background variables on the comprehensive
throughthe use of standardizedregressioncoefficientsin Table 4. Propertyownership,while consistently
negativein its influence,as expected,
is of littlestatisticalconsequence. In all but one instance(individualism),
the measuresof rightwing extremismmake negligible contributionsto
themodeland are erraticin theirdirectionof influence.This ambiguous
showing by measures of social alienationstandsmuch in contrastto the
performanceof "center-periphery"
(enteredin the regressionas a dummy
variable,withcenter=0, periphery=l). As proposed, the directionof
this formulationof politicalecologyis consistently
negative. The magnitude of the measure,moreover,is in generallargerthanother coefficients
throughout the table, including those of age11 and education. Thus,
andproprietorship
are roughly
10Self-employment
as Wright
equivalent,though
andSingleman
is imperfect
in so foras various
(1978)properly
warn,theequivalence
ofprofessionals
categories
(e.g., doctorsand lawyers)are self-employed
without
stakein unaltered
havingan occupational
property
rights.
are inversely
correlated
Thoughage andeducation
(r = -. 415)a wellestablishedpattern,
relatedto theland useplanning
scalein each set of
age is positively
coefficients
regression
associated
with
displayed.The factthat age is positively

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THERADICAL
RIGHTANDLANDUSEPLANNING

223

Table 4:- StandardizedRegression


Coefficients
of Land UsePlanning
Scale on Radical RightItemsand OtherIndependent
Variables.
Dependent
Variable

Variables
Independent
CONTROLS
- Age
- Pro- LocalCenter
Educa
RadicalRightIndicator Perition
ism
perty
phery

LandUse
Planning
.006
Scale
(Nativism)
(Agrarianism)-.023
-.039
(Anti-Socialism)
-.086*
(Individualism)
-.052
(Conservatism)
,,
(Fundamental-.017
ism)
(Powerlessness) .009
-.046
(Isolation)
(Authoritari,,
.048
anism1)

.226**
.221**
.228**
.227**
.225**

.183**
.184**
.190**
.189**
.197**

.202**
.196**
.199**
.199**
.200**

-.010
-.010
- .037
-.007
-.005

.082*
.085*
.086*
.095*
.086*

.225** .187** .197** -.009


.226** .185** .204** -.010
.229** .196** .205** -.003

.084*
.082*
.087*

.218** .184** .182** -.005

.081*

at a=.05 Level
*Significant
at a = .01Level,orgreater
**Significant
whereas little support was found for the second hypothesisof interest
when an indirectmeasureof social controlwas employed,strongevidence
is apparenthereon behalfof the thirdhypothesiswherea directmeasure
is present. Not only is spatial context- a proxyforoccupational clustering- importantin shaping public attitudes towardsland use planning,
butit would appear to overridethe importance of social pathology as
expressedin measuresof rightwingextremism.
Table 4 offersan anomalous findingworthyof note. Localism relates
positivelyto land use planning and retainsstatisticalsignificanceeven
afterall otherindependentvariables are controlled. Despite the counterintuitivenature of this finding,given the priorlogic of the analysis
and the depiction of local control as a forcedirectedagainst land use
regulation,evidencecan be adduced showingthatsocial controland local
controlare not in all instancesantagonistic(Geislerand Martinson, 1976;
Geisler, 1979). At anotherlevel,the reader may wishto know if whatis
termed"center" and "periphery"in the presentanalysisis merelya sizethanthe one provided.
of-place gradientopen to other interpretations
is severely
of property
ownership
(r =.291) mayexplainwhytheinfluence
property
scale.
on thelanduseplanning
diminished

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224

REVIEWOF MODERN
SOCIOLOGY
INTERNATIONAL

The bivariatecorrelationbetween center-periphery


and size-of-placeof
residence(whichwas asked of each Wisconsinrespondent)is .505, lending
initialsupportto such concerns. The correlationsof each variable with
the land use planning scale relay differentmessage,however. As is
shownin Table 5, center-periphery
maintainsthe strongerassociation at
both the bivariateand higherorderof correlation. In the second set of
associated with
partais presented,where the variablesare concurrently
the land use planningscale, place-of-residenceis no longer statistically
is. Hence, there is littlereason to
significantwhereas center-periphery
assumethat the lattervariable is merelya reworkeddensitygradient.
BetweenLand Use PlanningScale
Table 5- CorrelationCoefficients
and 1) Place-of-Residence
and 2) Center-Periphery.
Association
With
LandUse
Scale
Planning

Variables
Independent
PlaceofResidence
Center-Periphery

Zero-Order
.211**
.179*
Correlation
Partial
.214**
.179**
Correlation
(l)a
Partial
.081
.143**
Correlation
(2)b
**X 2 significant
at > + 001
income.
andfamily
landownership,
age,education,
Controlling
in(a), above,pluscenter-periphery,
orplace-of-residence,
all variables
Controlling
as appropriate.
Conclusion
This paper examines the empirical support for the propositionthat
extremism,on the right,engendersopposition to extra-local control of
land resources. Not onlyare thereapparentfrailtiesin the global radical
rightconstructitself,but theseparate radical rightindicators show little
net influenceon social control. Radical rightassociationwithlocal control is clearly positive. Yet, its effecton social control may well be
spurious,largelyattributableto background factors and to a political
ecology context bearing on one's propertyinterests.Reticenceand reaction to land use planningappear to be mattersof vested property rights,
mostsalientin the periphery.
What, if anything,is the relevance of the foregoinganalysisforthe
managementof land-userelatedconflict? It is one thingto contend that
right wing extremism,if suchcan be unambiguouslydefined,accentuates
localism. It is quite anotherto assume thatoppositionto land use planning comes exclusivelyor even principallyfromthe politicalright. This

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RIGHTANDLANDUSEPLANNING
THERADICAL

225

particular extension of conventionalradicalrighttheorizingfallswithin


what RichardHamilton (1976) has termed"restrainingmyths," i,e., the
persistenceof a theory restingon unfoundedclaims. Policies based on
such theory perpetuate thesemythsand may verywell prolongthe conflictsemanatingfromthem. Radicals, on the right,and grass roots opponents to land use planning are not, based on the evidenceat hand,
interchangeable.
From a conflictmanagementstandpoint,resourcemanagerswishing to
know in advance wherelocal resistanceto land use planning is likely to
occur might consult the same Department of Commerceemployment
data employedin the presentanalysis. It existsforall statesand is regularly updated. A political ecologysimilarto thatdevelopedhere can be
approximatedin statesotherthan Wisconsinas one step in an effortto
identifypotentialconflictzones. It is feltthatsuch an exercisewill prove
to "map" social pathology
to be a more reliablethancomparableefforts
and will, in the process, better acquaint land use planners withthe
essence of conflictin theirprofession.
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