At the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, we spent quite a while — more than a year, anyway — looking into the the plans behind RhodeMap RI and related planning documents like Land Use 2025. The better part of the challenge was that the whole thing was designed to look like benign “we’re just talking, here” activity. It was like a friendly community game of croquet, but with intimidating guards standing around ready to unleash such powerful weapons as accusations of racism and conspiracy theorizing.
It’s beyond dispute, now, that the movement is national (if not international) and is at the very least incidentally (if not deliberately) concerned with eliminating vast swaths of our freedom, particularly those having to do with property rights. And it was always obvious that the intent was to keep the real import of the plan from being widely known until the trap was pretty well set.
This, too, appears to be national in scope:
The key exchange comes between 1:21:08 and 1:23:59 on the video. In response to a question from [Brookings Fellow Richard] Reeves about what “getting serious” about housing policy would mean, [Urban Institute VP Margery Austin] Turner cites [Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)], arguing that the rule could bring “incredibly important” changes to America. Slyly, she acknowledges that AFFH isn’t so much enforcing the original legal obligation to “affirmatively further fair housing,” as it is changing our understanding of what that obligation means. (In other words, AFFH is stretching a directive to prevent discrimination into a mandate for social engineering.) Turner then says that it would take decades for AFFH to fully transform society along the lines she desires. (I’d add that the rule won’t take nearly that long to gut local government in America.)
What’s interesting is that when Turner finishes her discussion of AFFH by saying that the rule “sounds very obscure, but I think it could be hugely important,” Reeves breaks in and says: “Perhaps it’s important to keep [the AFFH rule] sounding obscure in order to get it through.” (In other words, to get the AFFH rule enacted before public opposition and congressional Republicans can block it, we’ve got to keep its existence and importance quiet.) At this point, the audience laughs sympathetically. Then Reeves adds: “Sometimes obscurity is the best political strategy, particularly in this area.”
As the infamous Jonathan Gruber put it, with regard to enacting ObamaCare, “the stupidity of the American voter… was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”