08 Jul 2011

Progressivism and Urban Opportunity

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Walter Russell Mead discusses the failure of the political program of the Progressive haute bourgeois elite to leave room in its urban paradises for the unskilled poor to make a living (except by bussing tables).

The bien-pensant gentry politics that dominates political discussion in respectable circles has lost touch with the realities of American life and no longer really comprehends the issues at stake. To some degree this impoverished policy conversation reflects the declining financial and intellectual firepower of the private sector labor movement — itself a consequence of the automation driven transformation of American and world manufacturing. The “clean” wing of progressive politics has almost entirely driven the “smokestack” wing out of business, so that liberal policy discussions tend to revolve around quality of life issues primarily of interest to the upper middle class. …

“Progressive” policy now increasingly means policy that benefits genteel upper middle class liberals and public sector government workers; the resulting mix of complex and poorly applied regulations, high costs and high taxes throttles the only kind of job creation that could offer most inner city residents a feasible step up.

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Michael R. Brown

I’ll not soon forget the Mayor of the progressive enclave of Davis, California proposing a moat around Davis to keep out the bad element. This from a woman who regarded herself as a socialist.



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