Monday, July 6, 2009

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be....

Remember synergy from a few decades ago? Well, now I have a new term for you emergent . This is the idea that in a complex system, cooperating entities can produce unpredictable, novel benefits that would not have been possible if each part acted alone. That's kind of revolutionary! Who would have thought 13 colonies acting in concert without a single king (leader) could produce such a governmental system as interesting and beneficial for its citizens as the United States is turning out to be.

I'm looking for the bravery to join and allow emergent behavior to just happen in the National Heritage Area for the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. I guess this week, with the holiday over, a meeting will be in order to finally determine the Map of the National Heritage Area for the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. I am not on the committee or employed by the Parks Service so I will not be privy to the details of working this out. But I want them to all have a tee-shirt to wear- "Emergent Behavior Happens". Let's not be afraid to be out of control every now and then.

Here's my concern. I understand, from what I have heard from some folks, that every NC county cannot be in the heritage area. But I disagree.

We have precedent in that Tennessee is its own National Heritage Area for the civil war if I remember. Let me double check that...yes, Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.

Also, I believe that if it would delay this act of Congress to suggest adding certain other remaining counties of SC to the bill, not to mention some counties of Virginia and Georgia, those counties in those states should not be added.

Given that prospect, I do understand the urge to be "fair" and force NC also to not include all its possible counties at this time. I just disagree. An urge and a thoughtful consideration are on opposite sides of the spectrum of human intellect.

Not including all possible NC counties would be "fair" because all the counties of SC with possible assets are probably not named and the bill did not generalize the possibility like it did for NC. It would not be "fair" to exercise NC rights given the wording of this bill if SC was not given the opportunity by the wording of the bill.

However, Consider this. Did you know that humans have a "fairness" gene unlike some other primates which causes them to act sometimes against their personal best interests? So, Committee, I urge you to consider that the desire to be "fair" may only be a response to a biological urge and maybe not to what is truely fair- that is, to go ahead and include every county in NC that can produce some Revolutionary assets while we have the opportunity given the wording of this bill and which in turn really, really does serves to enhance the importance of the national heritage area itself as a whole.

There is no reason that the remaining counties of SC cannot be reconsidered and perhaps some in Virginia and Georgia with another act of Congress. I think additions would be appropriate. In fact, it is odd to me that the map as it stands right now even shows at least one SC county where there was confirmed revolutionary military activity that was failed to be included - I guess by some human mistake.

But this bill should not be delayed because of wording or the result watered down because of wording in the attempt to be "fair".

Putting all the NC counties in the map today because it is allowed in this bill would leave it up to SC to open a new bill at a later time for the rest of their counties so as not to delay the outcome of this one. I think SC should agree to continue to pursue that idea and possibly ask for some support from Virginia and Georgia while it benefits from her counties already named and all NC counties possible.

Do I see a sticky wicket here?

Funding runs out in 10 years for a NHA . In fact, its purpose is to create revenue producing experiences and to conserve fragile and historic environments and only secondarily, make the NHA self-sustaining if it proves useful. With this current NHA, that process starts with the Congressional Approval of the area as the bill explains it, specifically to certain SC counties and generally to the counties of NC found under the study to be worthy of inclusion.

A new NHA proposal including additional counties will take another period of time to study and establish and by that time, the current NHA will be half way complete with success stories of its own and with self-sustaining organizations and businesses. But a new bill with a new NHA will have the opportunity to extend and build upon the resources established and marketed with by the first NHA. That should be a good thing.

So, I think if all the NC counties with revolutionary assets, developed and yet to be developed, are not included at this time, there just will not be enough momentum to create another opportunity. We will just live with what we have because its "fair" and appeals to our biological "fairness" gene without thinking too much about it.

Secondly, if all the counties with stories to share are not included, that will reduce the mass of the whole NHA and thus reduce the ability to sustain or conserve resources. Smaller really is sometimes less important than bigger. A bigger NHA should help SC as well as NC.

Now- a message to you counties in NC and SC not included thus far...Don't panic completely.

Even if the map does not change from this point at all, the effect of a NHA will be beneficial to you. Without you, it will be a loss to the NHA, but with the NHA, it will still be a benefit to you.

It is comparable to the effect of merchants of similar items all congregating in the same area. This is seen very clearly in the garment district in New York City. If you want buttons, there are button stores side by side... or fabric of course, ... or hat shops with notions for building all kinds of hats. There is a plant district or a flower district. If you go very early in the morning you see scads of flowers at market and from that one area they get distributed by buyers from all over. Buyers prefer to come to areas where there are many choices.

And, tourists, hearing about the NHA will seek out Rev. War sites here in the Carolinas as opposed to say, the Rev. War sites in Florida or New Jersey and then also find you - if we just stay in touch as a state tourism initiative or even a two-state initiative. It just pays to be nearer a big tourism area than to stand alone and that's why the NHA is important to you even if you are not included.

This is the purpose of the High Point Furniture Market twice a year and the market for the public in the Hickory Furniture Mart. This Hickory Mart is a tourism and a commerce spot precisely because of the availability of so many different furniture makers located in one place.

Mass has weight of its own- relatively speaking,a bigger mass always carries bigger weight than a smaller mass.

Therefore, more tourists will come, even to counties not on the map, just because they are visiting the state to see the National Heritage Area.

I'm just saying the whole value of the NHA itself will be greater than the sum of its parts and would be greater still with all of the available parts - which should help SC as much as it helps NC.

So, I will not start my own revolution if you do not include all the counties of NC, but I would be the advocate of that proposal. Be Brave and Have Courage. Just do it. Its only fair. Emergent Behavior Happens. Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.

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