Blacks Leaving Liberal States
Two milestones in the long, painful decline of the blue social model were reached this week and reported, of all places, in the pages of the very éminence grise of the monde bleu: the New York Times.This story has some strong implications for the “social justice” crowd at places like Marquette.
The first was a piece of national and historical news: The Census reported that waves of blue state blacks fled the stagnant job opportunities, high taxes and rotten social conditions of the mostly blue northern states to seek better lives for themselves in the south.
The Census story is a shocker. First, according to the Times, the Blacks leaving tend to be the “younger and better educated.” Second, the three states Blacks left in largest numbers don’t just include snake-bit Michigan; the other two are Illinois and New York. Within those states, Chicago and the city of the New York (widely considered among the most successful cities in the country) are the places Blacks are deserting. 17 percent of the Black flight from Big Blue is from the Empire State; after almost a century of trailblazing social policy, New York State has succeeded in creating the most hostile environment for Blacks in the country.
It gets worse. One would think that the Blacks who choose to stay in the cold, unwelcoming North would cluster in the cities where more liberal and humane governance models mandate such generous policies as “living wage” laws and where all the beautiful features of the blue social model can be experienced at full strength.
But one would be wrong. Blacks across the North are fleeing the urban paradises of liberal legislation and high public union membership for the benighted suburbs. The Times interviewed a professor to get the straight scoop:
“The notion of the North and its cities as the promised land has been a powerful part of African-American life, culture and history, and now it all seems to be passing by,” said Clement Price, a professor of history at Rutgers-Newark. “The black urban experience has essentially lost its appeal with blacks in America.” [bold italics added]
When whites leave failing blue cities and states, the pundits call this racism: all those white Californians fleeing Nancy Pelosi’s utopia for less ambitious jurisdictions where ordinary people can do things like get jobs and buy homes are clearly pathetic trailer trash hicks too dumb, too selfish and above all too racist to understand the gloriously multicultural blue beauty of California today.
So what are we going to call the young, educated Blacks making similar choices? Dumb cracker racists?
The failure of blue social policy to create an environment which works for Blacks is the most devastating possible indictment of the 20th century liberal enterprise in the United States. Helping Blacks achieve the kind of equality and opportunity long denied them was more than one of many justifications for blue social policy: it was the defining moral task that has challenged and shaped American liberalism for the last fifty years.
The Census tells us that in the eyes of those who know best, these well intentioned efforts failed. Instead of heaven, we have hell across America’s inner cities. Blue economic policy has cut the creation of new private sector jobs to a trickle in our great cities, while the high costs of public union urban services (and policies that favor government employees over the citizenry at large) impose crippling taxes and contribute to the ruinously high costs that blight opportunity. All the social welfare bureaucracies, diversity counselors and minority set-asides can’t make up for the colossal failure of blue social policy to create sustainable lower middle class prosperity in our cities.
Most Blacks of course still vote blue at the ballot box, but more and more of them are voting red with their feet. They are betting in massive numbers that southern Republicans will do a better job of helping their kids get good educations, police their communities more fairly (see this article, where NYT columnist Charles Blow blames the Black flight from New York on the racist police), offer more affordable housing and create a better business climate. Over time, this is going to affect the balance of power in Black politics and pull the Democratic Party (and the national consensus) to the right. Reapportionment is already pulling political power toward the South; New York today has fewer electoral votes than it did at the start of the Civil War and it is going to lose two more House seats in the next division.
You claim to represent blacks (and Hispanics and other minorities), but the policies you favor — high taxes and government spending, strong unions, government educational monopolies, overbearing regulation of business — stiffle opportunity.
But, by some strange coincidence, they help people like you prosper.
Are your motives really so pure as you want to believe?