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Disband the mega-cities

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Jim Thompson

By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

If you think about most of the angst, crime and other societal problems, their genesis is the mega-cities around the world. Much of the worldwide population lives there and so do the politicians. They have no clue about the benefits of country living.

This is fresh on my mind, having just come from my semi-annual sabbatical with my Mennonite friends in Sugar Tree Ridge.  

I am not naïve, they have their struggles just like city dwellers do, but their struggles seem smaller and sparser than those in the city (not that said struggles are not important to them; all things are relative).

To illustrate the difference, let me share the trip home.  

I left Sugar Tree Ridge about 6 a.m. EST (they don’t do daylight savings time, a plus in their favor already). I stopped to see a friend on McNary Road in Paint Township, went over to JR’s on Ohio Route 41 (strongly recommend it if you have not gone there), came to Hillsboro, had breakfast with Rory Ryan at Bob Evans Restaurant in Hillsboro and then headed home about 10 a.m. (EDT).
I like to go down U.S. 62/68 to Lexington, Ky. Then I must decide what to do after that. It needs to be decided quickly, before I get to Tennessee. I strongly dislike going through Knoxville – a congested mess. I can veer west and go through Cookeville, Tenn. or go east through Cumberland Gap, down to Waynesville, N.C. and into home.  

I chose the Cumberland Gap route, for it brings me into northeast Atlanta, straight into home at Duluth, Ga. Going the Cookeville/I-75 route takes me into northwest Atlanta, near the Atlanta Braves stadium, where I would arrive about the time the evening’s game would be starting. One can count on that path taking from one half to one hour longer.

In a nutshell, if coming from the north, to decide the most expeditious route into my part of Greater Atlanta, you must be thinking about 250 miles ahead. From the south, the options are even worse.

Cities have gotten too big, too cumbersome and too fraught with problems. New York City, for instance, is a traffic nightmare, for it was conceived when people got around by boat taxis and ferry boats. Street traffic from borough to borough is ridiculous, requiring the use of high toll bridges or tunnels.

In ancient times, cities served a purpose. They were efficient centers for transportation and communication. No longer necessary.  

During COVID-19, Laura and I vacationed in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. They were experiencing an influx of new people, who having the ability to work from home via the internet, were moving out of the cities of California.  

Work in manufacturing? No problem. About 90 percent of the pulp and paper mills are in rural settings. Kia and Hyundai are in small towns. So is Honda and some of the Toyota plants.

Cities have become a breeding ground for dissent and violence and are a very costly place to live. People packed in like sardines are angry and in a constant state of turmoil.

I always remember back in the 1960s when my dad decided we were going to raise pigs in confinement. We penned off part of the barn and placed an unusually large number of shoats there to feed out to market. Within two weeks, they were literally chewing each other’s ears off. Good old Dr. Benner, our vet, said let them out into a large outdoor pen and they will be fine. He was correct.

What is going on in the cities is like those pigs. Highly confined, places like south Chicago have become killing fields, with high taxes to boot.  

Politicians love to have us in the cities, for they think they can control us there. It is like Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, 1682-1725. He built St. Petersburg in a swamp and laid out the streets in a wide boulevard web style with traffic circles at all the nodes. With the combination of drawbridges, which are still opened every night, at least up to the times of the USSR, cannons could be placed in the nodes, fired down the boulevards and keep the population in check with a minimum number of soldiers.  

It seems like our politicians would like our cities to be laid out this way today.

A few weeks ago, I decried electricity in this column. With the internet and electricity, however, we could disperse today’s population throughout the land and still provide gainful employment. Make electricity great again. 

Mega-cities are obsolete.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at


Matthew (not verified)

29 May 2023

I think I did the opposite of you Jim, the past couple of weeks. I landed in Sacramento, CA (my first time at that airport. It's way better than everything in and around San Jose). I visited family in Turlock (a few crazy street people there). We did spend a phenomenal day in Yosemite NP with all the waterfalls running wide open. The result from a larger than normal snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. A chink in the climate-nazis' faux-armor. Then we got gas in Merced (a few crazy street people there). Then we spent a few days in Salinas with family (a few crazy street people there). Then a Sunday afternoon seeing the coast near Monterey (a few crazy street people there). It's funny that there were no crazy street people anywhere near Pebble Beach... Anyway, I'm back in rural Ohio this weekend. A campfire or two, visiting Ohio family and friends, and listening to a nocturnal bird's call last night: Chuck-Will's-Widow (related to the Whip-or-Will, I guess. I'm not J.J. Audubon after all).

R. Ryan (not verified)

29 May 2023

Rather than disband the mega-cities, perhaps they serve a necessary and useful purpose as convenient enclaves for the politically connecteD (with a capital D). I was born in a mega-city. Glad to be far away from it.

Jim Thompson (not verified)

30 May 2023

Matthew, perhaps Sacramento is on the verge of becoming a mega-city, the other towns you delineated in California are not by my definition. Small town and rural California are as conservative as the rest of the country (go to Needles if you doubt me). There are two mega-city enclaves in California: San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland and Los Angles south to and including San Diego.

Matthew (not verified)

30 May 2023

JIM, The population of Salinas, CA is 165,000. The population of Dayton, OH is 140,000. Dayton has sky scrapers and an international airport, Salinas does not. Those are mega-cities to me. And I bet they're run by Democrats, and Monterey County and Montgomery County vote for Democrat Presidents. I was stationed in San Diego for 10 months twenty years ago. I could tolerate that area. I lived in a little Marine enclave right next to the airport. So, I was sheltered from the expense and exposure of horrid progressive policies...

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