Link sent in by a reader.
The piece comes off partly as a re-branding attempt for the GOP:
‘The Republicans’ abandonment of the city is good neither for their party nor for urban America. The GOP clearly needs a heftier percentage of the urban vote, but winning it by means of fiscal pandering or redistribution isn’t the way to go-partly because such a strategy would cost rural and suburban votes and partly because it would be wrong. A better approach is to offer the good ideas that cities desperately need. Republicans have plenty.’
Glaeser offers some fresh thinking on crime, education, and transportation, and suggests that Republicans get back in the game in our cities. He’s right in pointing out that if people find certain principles worth living their lives by, then the party offering policies based on those principles would likely get more votes, and presumably address certain problems in our cities.
Outcomes may vary.
To take a step back, though, I don’t know how you get any politics without fiscal pandering, various other forms of pandering, and well, politicians. Politicians move toward the incentives our system of laws and rules creates, and the incentives that the voting public provides for them. They can’t be seen as too far ahead of the people, and are always beholden to many voting blocs and interest groups. I favor understanding politics as a necessary evil, and as one of the last resorts to implementing principles in our lives. Our big city machine politics is often corrupt enough as it is, full of back room dealing, and used as a system of patronage. See Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York for starters.
Perhaps this is partially a response to the success of the Obama community activist model, which may be enough to make you depressed, but which can also sharpen your realism.
To back up another step, here’s a quote from P.J. O’Rourke:
‘When you look at the Republicans you see the scum off the top of business. When you look at the Democrats you see the scum off the top of politics. Personally, I prefer business. A businessman will steal from you directly instead of getting the IRS to do it for him. And when Republicans ruin the environment, destroy the supply of affordable housing, and wreck the industrial infrastructure, at least they make a buck off it. The Democrats just do these things for fun.’
Well, the Democrats do things for money and power as well, torn between their beliefs and the institutions and incentives they’ve created in the wake of those beliefs.
If you really want to become skeptical, and nearly anarchical for a moment, you could read Albert Jay Nock’s ‘Anarchist’s Progress.‘ I know that will sound a little radical for some readers, but it’s likely worth your time.
In addition, click through for how not to fashion a winning libertarian PR campaign in NYC under “Guns For Tots Revisited”, back in 2003. It’s interesting to see how our nuttily portrayed libertarian protagonist presaged the gun control debate and the consequences of Bloomberg’s nanny statism by cleaving to his libertarian principles. A fight was brewing:
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Guns for Tots Revisited|
Addition: In other words, win the culture first, and convince people by your deeds, which is not exactly how politicians think, I know.
Related On This Site: I will join the City Journal in highlighting the effects of liberal utopianism and the twisted incentives of the Welfare State: …Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘Radical Graffiti Chic’…Kay Hymowitz At The City Journal: ‘How Brooklyn Got Its Groove Back’…Repost-William Stern At The City Journal: ‘How Dagger John Saved New York’s Irish’
The people who promise solutions to poverty and homelessness seem to be engaged in a utopian cost-shifting exercise which favors their interests and overlooks crime, violence and personal responsbility…hardly a way to balance the budget: Repost-Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘The Sidewalks Of San Francisco’…
Trade and commerce aren’t just vehicles for nanny statism, equality delivery services and racial harmony…they are well…trade and commerce: Via Youtube: Ric Burns—New York: A Documentary Film – Episode One: The Country and The City (1609-1825)…Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’
Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? -From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar Man…From Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’
Is the same definition of ‘community’ connected with one that can stifle economic growth through political means?: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?