Monday, May 04, 2015

Black/White Balkanization Is Political, Not Racial

In a post I wrote last August titled "Media Headscratching:  Why Are There So Many Fergusons in America?", I posited that there is so much racial balkanization in America simply because blacks and whites want different things out of government - it is not so much racial balkanization as it is political (or policy) balkanization.   This post by Elizabeth Price Foley brings the contrast out quite well - it is sharp and across the board.

Blacks and whites simply have much different policy preferences, and when one prevails, it drives out the other.  Baltimore, like numerous other places, has achieved a critical mass of black influence in government institutions, and, predictably, those institutions have delivered what black constituents, by and large, want.  As a result, whites have left those places (and to a large degree many blacks as well).
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
While it may offend some tender sensibilities (of white liberals mostly), the racial balkanization we see in America is a result of the design of our system and, perhaps perversely, a sign that our system works.  Our federalist system ensures at least 50 fairly independent policy laboratories, and our multi-level structure (federal, state, city) ensures even more, almost exponential, policy variety.  Our system says you may have your policy views prevail right here and I will have mine prevail over there - you may have your high-taxes and lax policing here and I will have my low taxes and stricter policing over there.  The fallout has seemed to play out along racial lines although the design and operation of our government structure is purely political. 

That is not sinister, it is just a fact of life.  All groups have a political culture, just like they have an artistic or linguistic culture.  That is why you have Vladimir Putin, because no matter what you call the Russian political system, Russians have a political culture of czarism, they want/need a protective and nationalistic authoritarianism.  It's their culture.  People want to live under certain conditions, the problem becomes when only one group gets its way and imposes its way on others - this is playing out quite visibly in Ukraine and the Middle East.  In America, we are same except we have a system that prohibits, relative to the rest of the world, just one group from getting its way. 


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