Friday, August 15, 2014

Media Head-Scratching: Why Are There So Many Fergusons in America?

Let me start this post off by saying that, despite my criticisms of the folks of Ferguson, MO, I am firmly in sympathy with them over the militarized takeover of their community.  As a conservo-libertarian Randpublican, I am deeply suspicious of the militarization of local police forces and federal agencies that has been gathering apace over several years.  Seeing this tyrannical apparatus in action should give Americans pause.  First, we saw it shut down the city of Boston and surrounding areas in the pursuit of the Tsarnaev goofballs, and now we see it taking over Ferguson (the looting didn't help, but...).

Now on to my point.  This is typical of the media's teeth gnashing over the segregation that places like Ferguson represent and bring so uncomfortably to the fore again.
St. Louis is a region of division: The depopulated, deindustrialized city (mostly African American) is legally divided from the far more prosperous (mostly white) county, with the city ardently seeking a reunion that the county vehemently spurns. North St. Louis city (largely African American) is estranged from south St. Louis city (mostly white) in a city that is now 48% African American. The maze of suburbs that make up north St. Louis county, where Ferguson is, is mostly African American and estranged from the maze of suburbs that make up south and west St. Louis counties, which are mostly white.
'Why Oh Why?', seemingly is the media's lament over this overt racial balkanization.  The answer, of course, is quite simple albeit quite uncomfortable.    Blacks and whites want different things from government (of course this is generalizing, but generalizing fits the reality), and each tend to get what they want.  The result is racial balkanization because you can't have these things exist in the same locales.  Whites repeatedly vote for business-friendly/law and order politicians and blacks repeatedly vote for the regulatory state and redistributionist economics (they do this in concert with a coalition of white liberals).  The heavy hand of government is what blacks have said over and over is what they want.  For good or ill, whites have, by and large, said 'you may have it' and left places like Detroit, Cleveland, Newark, and ... north St. Louis to their own devices.  The predictable results have been the markers of racial division - a dividing line like 8 Mile, the suburban office parks west of Newark, and the difference between Ferguson and, say, Clayton, MO. 

This is the unfriendly truth and, of course, lefties will see this dripping with racism, but it has nothing to do with race, per se, but rather politics.  The politics that have guided places like Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Newark (soon we will add LA, Chicago and Philly to this list) simply do not work, and people, who turn out to be mostly white, don't stick around to see it play out.

I lament this situation, but I don't pretend - like the media does - that the answer is painfully elusive.  It is painfully obvious.

UPDATE:  Kevin Williamson says much the same thing here, but, obviously, it's longer and more nuanced.  For example, there is this nuanced truth...
This is sometimes known as “white flight,” but that is a misnomer: In Detroit, the white middle class got out as quickly as it could — and the black middle class was hot on its heels. Upwardly mobile people and those who expect to be — i.e., those with an investment in the future — care a great deal about schools, economic opportunity, and safety. And they know where the city limits are.
 Indeed, white flight was hardly confined to whites.


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