Monday, October 21, 2013

Liberals Driving People Away From City

One of the hardy perennials of our national political garden is the liberal piece about racist whites bailing out of the city.  Here's the latest, Jessica Grose's "Rich People Love Diversity, Until They Have Kids," from Slate.

Things are getting worse, of course.
According to an analysis of census data by Kendra Bischoff of Cornell University and Sean Reardon at Stanford University, the proportion of families living in affluent areas doubled from 1970 to 2009—it went from 7 to 15 percent. At the same time, the percentage of families living in poor areas also more than doubled—it went from 8-18 percent.
You see, what's happening is that these affluent areas "deliberately exclude affordable housing."  That's how they stay uniformly affluent.

Meanwhile over at Forbes Joel Kotkin is reporting on the baby boomers moving away from the suburbs.  They are not moving back to the city.
Perhaps no urban legend has played as long and loudly as the notion that “empty nesters” are abandoning their dull lives in the suburbs for the excitement of inner city living. This meme has been most recently celebrated in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
On the contrary, they are moving further out, everyone except the most affluent, the ones that can afford the high cost of inner-city living.

The indictment that liberals hurl at the white flighters is that the middle class is abandoning the poor to the inner city.  And that they are racists.  Meanwhile liberals are moving into the city because they like to live in a diverse community and they care about the poor.

Of course there is a germ of truth in the liberal indictment.  Most non-liberal whites think that living next to underclass minority communities is utter folly.  You just don't want your kids anywhere near the dysfunctional and violent youth of the underclass.  And now we have a report of a white couple getting beaten up by a gang of black kids in Brooklyn.  So we were right.

But liberals are only telling part of the story.  Middle class and affluent folks are not leaving the city just to get away from the toxic and dangerous culture of the underclass.  They are also leaving to get away from the toxic political culture of liberals.

You see, liberal political control in a city is a long-term marker for decline.  It means everything from the inconvenience of up-to-the-minute micro-bossiness about recycling and plastic bags and all the latest liberal nostrums in the schools.  And for some reason liberals see nothing wrong with overgenerous public pensions bankrupting state and local governments.

Even if they are not conservative, most people just want to be left alone to live their lives in their own way among their own kind.  And especially they want to raise their kids in a safe and friendly environment.  And safety in this context means safe from liberal social engineers.

Here's another idea from the social scientists.  Guess who drives the urge to go and live in the suburbs?  It's women.  Women may like to live in the cool city when they are single twentysomethings.  Why not?  Young people tend to congregate where young people tend to congregate.

But after women get married and start a family they want a nest.  Ever notice that you never see birds nesting?  There's a reason for that.  If you want to get your fledglings off the nest you need to hide them away from the predators.  Human females are no different.  Once they get into the family way they experience no need to strut their stuff on the sidewalks of the city.  Instead, they want safety and security for the children they bring into the world.

That's what really powered the move to the suburbs after World War II.  Affluence and automobiles meant that women could bury themselves in leafy suburbs and, for the first time since their ancestors came off the farm, leave the edgy city to the fashionables.

Maybe, as the trendspotters would like, women would like to return to the city when their nests empty out. But by that time women are anchored in their dream homes and their relationships in the suburbs.  And they really don't need to return under the tutelage of liberals that take politics with every meal.

The exodus from the city to the suburb has nothing to do with racism or with evil oil companies killing the old streetcar lines.  It has everything to do with women nesting, and liberals driving normal people out of the cities with their poisonous politics.

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