Tuesday, July 05, 2011

OOGA BOOGA, CONTINUED. I noticed earlier that conservatives are reviving the 70s-vintage idea of life in big cities as one continuous loop of scenes from Death Wish and The Wanderers. Crime has been plummeting in American cities for years, yet the brethren seem to have recently decided that our metropoli are jam-packed with depraved minorities randomly spraying bullets with one hand and pushing drugs with the other.

Walter Russell Mead is doing his bit. This is from his essay about LBJ's War on Poverty:
...even as Great Society era programs worked for some, conditions in the inner cities worsened for many who remained.

The result is the urban quagmire in which we now find ourselves. We are spending massive amounts of money and conditions are getting worse. Liberals recognize this as a problem in Afghanistan; they are more reluctant to see it in St. Louis — but it is true. What we are doing now isn’t working and while some of the reforms being tried (especially in education and perhaps also new ways of handling drug issues) offer promise, there is no light at the end of the urban tunnel.
"No light at the end of the urban tunnel!" Too bad newsweeklies are dying; this just screams for a cover image of little black children standing against a graffiti-scarred wall, crack vials and hypodermic needles at their feet.

The Mead article also describes cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Seattle, et alia* as "a holocaust of youth and hope on a scale hard to match" and "an unsustainable drag on the national economy"; bids us worry that urban drug gangs will team up with Al Qaeda; and wonders why Democrats want to take money from "poor children in the inner city" and give it to unions. (Not that the kids need it -- you will be unsurprised that Mead's solution for the uncontrolled turmoil of ghetto life is not increased spending, but bootstraps, charter schools, and stern-talkings-to.)

Even the tourists know cities aren't so bad anymore, so why are these guys bringing the old ooga-booga so hard? My guess is that they're trying to draw backwoodsmen to the polls for the next election. If a black President does not in and of himself make their blood boil, and if they consider our government's depredations a bipartisan thing rather than the fault of the socialist Othello, it may be time to break out the raw stereotypes. Surely nothing riles a redneck's blood more than the idea of fancy coastal cities full of welfare queens and strapping young bucks bullying the local whites into submission, not because they have to live in them but because they believe it reverses what they consider the natural order of the universe. If this doesn't work, maybe they can get Lee Stranahan and the Big Hollywood boys to remake Birth of a Nation.

*UPDATE. I should clarify that Mead doesn't mention these specific cities in his essay (except for a reference to New York's abortion rate "with higher rates among Blacks"), referring mainly to cities in general as a mega-blight; the only other city he directly cites is St. Louis, which is indeed troubled, though its crime rate has been declining. One may as well talk about the dynamic job growth in the United States today, defend the proposition with generalities, and cite Texas.

No comments:

Post a Comment