Thursday, June 18, 2020

Is An Urban Exodus About to Occur?

I don't might a bit of urban edginess, but Daniel Henninger might be on to something.

He writes in The Wall Street Journal:
Urban dwellers are resilient, but these simultaneous events have forced people to face a hard reality. In just three months it has become clear that modern urban progressivism is politically incompetent and intellectually incoherent.

After the days and weeks of marches through cities, what has fallen out of it is basically one idea—defund the police. In New York, with blocks of stores boarded up and cherry bombs exploding nightly everywhere, the City Council has agreed to cut the city’s police budget by $1 billion, or one-sixth. How hard is it to connect the dots?

A shapeless mass declares multiple blocks of Seattle now belong to it, and when asked how long it could on, Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan wanly offers: “I don’t know. We could have a Summer of Love.” The first one was in 1967, also accompanied by massive urban unrest.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the weekend issued a plaintive request to the daily street protests: “You don’t need to protest. You won. You won.” Then the kicker: “What reform do you want? What do you want?”

Historically, the media and press have served an arbitrating function among competing urban forces. No longer. Through the pandemic and now the protests, much of the urban-based media have become bizarrely invested in apocalyptic story lines, picking at scab after scab and problem after problem, with not much effort at sorting substantive policy alternatives other than heading deeper into the progressive frontier.

The message being sent is that progressive governance is, at best, ambivalent about maintaining civil order. The net result the past three months has been a sense in many cities of irresolvable chaos, stress and threat.

I think many younger, often liberal families would stick it out if they thought there was anything resembling a coherent strategy to address this mess—the new health threat, the homeless, the rising crime, the filth, the increasingly weird school curriculums. But there is no strategy.

The quality of the response by both political and institutional urban leadership to the pressure of these two events has been so uniformly unproductive that it sends a message: The cost-benefit just isn’t working anymore, with incentives mounting to move out.

The unhappy result as young families and well-off retirees leave is that these cities will increasingly become more divided between upscale progressive singles able to afford the political incompetence and the residents of inner-city neighborhoods that will fall further behind.

For those who’ve always wondered what the 1960s were like, you’re living it, but this time without much love.
I'm sticking things out--for now.



  1. Be careful in the People's Republic of San Francisco RW.

  2. Let's start a pool: "When will RW bail on S.F.?"
    I'm thinkin' Sept. 1st.

  3. The young urban (useful?) idiots made their bed by keeping electing the progressives. They can have their cities. They are not wanted anywhere else.