Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Joel Kotkin, whose massive hate-on for city living has been examined here before, has posted a Daily Beast essay under the headline “Progressives Have Let Inner Cities Fail for Decades. President Trump Could Change That.” Kotkin approves and apparently shares the cartoon portrayal of cities that Trump barnstormed with during the campaign (“If ya walk down the street, ya get shot”). For one thing, Kotkin reports, there’s more crime in Chicago than in Fritters, Alabama. But Kotkin knows urban crime’s not nearly as bad as it was back in the Archie Bunker era. Trump’s marks, whose idea of urban life is mostly based on Death Wish, neither know nor care to know, but they aren’t reading the Daily Beast; Kotkin clearly wants to sway housebroken neoliberals who are reading his essay but also live or work in big cities and haven’t been raped and/or murdered by Jeff Goldblum and his gang and have no reason to agree that cities suck.

So Kotkin tries gaslight and guilt: the “much ballyhooed ‘back to the city’ movement” is “mindlessly overblown by the national media” but only really “impacts basically the downtown cores” — so if you like living in Brooklyn or Silver Spring, you’re suffering from false consciousness, comrade. See, the grass is greener on the far side of the Walmart: “Roughly 80 percent of all job growth since 2010 has been in suburbs and exurbs.” Now doesn’t Fritters look good? Come on, you don’t want to be left behind as your peers are driven by economic necessity, I mean flock willingly to Fritters:
And with millennials now entering their thirties in greater numbers, these communities, generally safe and with good schools, seem to be growing in popularity much faster than the inner cities. These are unfortunate facts for Democrats, who have long celebrated, sometimes garishly, cities’ glaring problems—thus helping make Trump’s campaign comments sound that much more reasonable.
Stop garishly celebrating cities’ glaring problems, Democrats! You're just making Real Americans hate you. Oh, and plus you’re the Real Racists too because, unlike small towns and suburbs where the races live together peaceably so long as everybody stays where they're wanted, cities “force poorer, largely minority areas out of areas that, in essence, are considered too valuable for such populations… minorities and working class families are being driven into less desirable areas, often further from work locations” in “a kind of progressive apartheid.”

Don’t get it twisted — this has nothing to do with capitalism, still less with any endemic racism — no, it’s all caused by attitude, as evinced by “hipsters” of the “creative class,” sissy liberals who think they’re not racist but who actually enforce progressive apartheid every time they sip chardonnay and eat Brie (excuse, have to adjust slurs for contemporaneity: sip Kombucha and eat formaggio). Their high-falutin' tastes drive simple Mom and Pop businesses away. If only they could have enjoyed the culture and excitement of the city on a diet of Cheez Whiz, Ritz Crackers, and Michelob, it might have stabilized the local economy! But you know how selfish these people are.

Now, if these sissies worked with their hands and voted for Trump, their voices would certainly be more important than that of the minorities, because ours is The Day of the White Working Class and their judgment cannot be challenged, whereas the opinions of hipsters can be disregarded because they go to subtitled movies and voted for Hitlery Klintoon.

Kotkin admits (though politely, for obvious reasons) that Trump has “hardly built his career in fighting poverty,” and that his HUD Secretary nominee Ben Carson basically has no idea what he’s doing, but yet insists their “outsider” status “may prove something of a blessing” — because maybe that means they’ll go for unorthodox (or nonsensical, depending on your POV) approaches to urban policy. They might even “keep industrial jobs in what’s left of the manufacturing economy,” which would be easier to believe if Trump and Carson had ever given even a clue of a policy that might achieve this. Kotkin’s imagined Trump fixes only get slimmer from there — fewer HB-1 visas (that’ll help local minority software engineers out of the ghettos!), “deregulating some businesses, like in cosmetology” (yes, the famous Yglesias Libertarian Maneuver, back in fashion at last), and of course vouchers, a key grift in any GOP Administration. But it’s okay, hopeful noises will do — not to fix anything allegedly wrong with cities, or even to make them more Republican-friendly, but possibly to get Kotkin a HUD sinecure or at least some higher-profile editorial gigs — for in Trump Times, when consevatives howl that city-slickers’ votes are too contaminated to be counted, there must be opportunities aplenty for a city-hating urbanist. Maybe someday they'll put his name on a workhouse.

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