The statue of Robert E. Lee recently comes down in New Orleans.
How did New Orleans move from being “the Queen City of the South” to a decaying minority slum ruled by crooked pols whose chief priority is taking down Confederate Monuments? A long-term resident explains on Quora:
New Orleans was still the Queen City Of The South until around 1970, but the seeds for its fall from grace came about in the mid 1960s when the unions that worked the port refused to allow for the creation of a modern containerized port foolishly thinking that they would lose their jobs, but they forgot to understand the nature of future business and eventually they lost all of their jobs.
The immediate result was that formally small ports like Gulfport and Houston suddenly modernized and containerized and became giant ports, while New Orleansâ€™ port became smaller and smaller and today is extinct and has been replaced by the Port Of Louisiana, which is far away from the filth and poverty of New Orleans.
Additionally, as the city developed a larger and larger dependent population and its educational system decayed, it reflected these changes with a terrible lowering of the quality of leadership that increased the cost of doing business, while leadership concentrated on keeping its dependent population satisfied with shiny trinkets and other diversions.
So, one by one, large employers either went out of business or got smaller and smaller and the economy became less diversified until today there is only tourism and no other diversification.
Continental Can, sugar, cotton, iron and steel, American Standard, trade with South America, aircraft manufacture, boat manufacture, etc, etc, etc, are all gone and have not been replaced with any other industry. City taxes in New Orleans went up from 3% to todayâ€™s almost 10%. The productive fled!
The same politicians who helped to destroy the economy are still in office and the city is currently loosing population and becoming more and more poor and now is #1 in the nation with percentage of people in poverty.
Since the percentage of those in poverty continues to increase and the same politicians are kept in office by the poverty vote, it becomes an endless cycle of increasing taxes and fees on the productive, who have left en mass to surrounding areas like Metairie and the North Shore towns of Covington and Mandeville and Slidell, where diversification of their economies is strong and education is first rate and the people live better lives than the remnant population of New Orleans.
The trend to lower the quality of New Orleans continues, as drugs and crime is beginning to affect the one trick pony of the remaining economy, tourism, that still sputters along. Unfortunately, once the number of injured and murdered tourists becomes unbearable, even that small flicker of life will kill what is left of New Orleans, when that industry folds.
And, that is why the Queen City Of The South has degenerated into the cesspool of poverty and ignorance and bad governance of today. It is a very sad tale.
San Francisco’s story is actually similar. Just like in New Orleans, the Longshoreman’s Union chased the port traffic out of town. Over time, normal productive middle-class residents were gradually displaced and out-voted by the homosexuals, minorities, rich liberal elites, and student Bohemians.
Pretty nearly every major American city lives under a thoroughly corrupt, appallingly mismanaged one-party regime, whose permanent grip on power is based on the block voting of a property-less, non-tax-paying, practically illiterate, welfare constituency, residing under what amounts to a permanent military occupation.
Herschel Smith looks at the Chicago demonstrations demanding that Rahm Emmanuel resign over the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, and notes that the Chicago police were trained in “stability operations,” i.e. controlling an occupied population by the Israelis. American urban police, he notes, treat certain people, in certain neighborhoods, like an occupying army enforcing martial law.
While we arenâ€™t dealing with millennia-old problems [as in the Israeli-Palestinian case], we are in fact dealing with at least fourth or fifth generation entitlement, with fatherless families, SNAP payments, welfare, â€œfreeâ€ medical care, and so on. Just enough government largesse to keep the inner city blacks on a leash, not enough (yet) to create revolution against it. And therefore the elites get their voting bloc, which is the intended outcome all along.
But the monster this created is ugly and difficult to control. Iâ€™ve read comments about the rioters in Ferguson, to the extent that any protest against â€œthe manâ€ (or the state) is a good thing and they must be our ally (Iâ€™m not sure who â€œourâ€ is). Such a view is a sign of lack of attention to detail, immaturity and weakness of mind. Most of the rioters in Ferguson would sooner gut you groin to throat with a knife and then rape your wife and daughter as to look at you. Anyone who feels an alliance with the rioters in Ferguson is a fool.
This is a monster the government and effete urbanite elitists created. The hive is coming apart at the seems, and the only way to keep it together is harsher and harsher stability operations. Make no mistake about it. The Chicago Mayor knows all about the tactics in use in Chicago and approves of them. The firing of the chief of police was a sacrifice to the masses.
The lesson for us is that police departments are more and more using stability operations as a model or paradigm for their work, with the approval of those in charge. As these tactics want to work their way into the fabric of American society like a cancer, one goal will be to kill the cancer before it takes over the host. This battle will be gradual, fought initially on the fields of town hall meetings, boards, blogs, and so on. If the battles are lost there, it will expand, and if lost entirely, dystopia (and maybe insurgency) will come to the American countryside.
The wars for the inner city cannot be won. America is going broke and the largesse cannot continue forever. Sooner or later, the riots will expand. The more important thing will be what happens to the medium and smaller towns of America?
As the financial burden of the Welfare State is bringing the economies of Europe and the United States to their knees, the Telegraph reports that the results of a British think tank’s investigation of public opinion on the issue of fairness strikes at its moral foundation.
As we report today, Policy Exchange â€“ supposedly the Prime Minister’s favourite ideas outlet â€“ has done a brave and unusual thing. Rather than polling the public just on policy and voting intention, it has put a far more abstract moral issue before them. It instructed the pollsters at YouGov to find out precisely what the public thought the most powerful term of approbation in the political lexicon â€“ “fair” â€“ actually amounted to.
The quite unequivocal reply that was received (with breathtakingly enormous majorities in some forms) came as no surprise to this column. To most voters, fairness does not mean an equal distribution of resources and wealth, or even a redistribution of these things according to need. It means, as the report’s title â€“ “Just Deserts” â€“ implies, that people get what they deserve. And what is deserved, the respondents made clear, refers to that which is achieved by effort, talent or dedication to duty: in other words, earned on merit.
As I have written so often on this page, when ordinary people use the word “fair”, they mean that you should get out of life pretty much what you put in. Or, as the report’s authors put it, “Voters’ idea of fairness is strongly reciprocal â€“ something for something.” By obvious inference, a “something for nothing” society is the opposite of fair. And this view, interestingly, is expressed by Labour voters in pretty much the same proportion as all others.
Imagine that. After all these years of being morally blackmailed by the poverty lobby, harried by socialist ideologues and shouted at by self-serving public sector axe-grinders, the people are not cowed. Even after being bludgeoned by the BBC thought monitors and browbeaten by Left-liberal media academics with the soft Marxist view of a “fair” society â€“ from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs â€“ they have not bought it. They do not believe that if people are poor, it is necessarily society’s fault, and therefore society’s duty to deal with the consequences.
No, they say, as often as not, poverty is a consequence of lack of effort or self-control â€“ and, therefore, the individual must accept the consequences. And they do not believe that such character failings and their consequences should be disregarded in the apportioning of welfare or help from the state â€“ help which they know is made possible by the efforts of those who do “the right thing”. They still have a firm and undaunted conception of the “undeserving poor” â€“ a term so unfashionable that no politician would be capable of uttering it â€“ and would like such people to be made to accept their reciprocal obligation to society in return for any assistance from public funds.
Government payoutsâ€”including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insuranceâ€”make up more than a third of total wages and salaries of the U.S. population, a record figure that will only increase if action isnâ€™t taken before the majority of Baby Boomers enter retirement.
Even as the economy has recovered, social welfare benefits make up 35 percent of wages and salaries this year, up from 21 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in 1960, according to TrimTabs Investment Research using Bureau of Economic Analysis data.
Mark Steyn argues that it can happen here, that the ideology of the left can alter the national character and turn a nation of self reliant individualists into whining clients of a socialist nanny state in terminal decline, and Barack Obama is here to prove it.
[W]hat are we to make of the British? They were on the right side of all the great conflicts of the last century; and they have been, in the scales of history, a force for good in the world. Even as their colonies advanced to independence, they retained the English language and English legal system, not to mention cricket and all kinds of other cultural ties. And even in imperial retreat, there is no rational basis for late-20th-century Britainâ€™s conclusion that it had no future other than as an outlying province of a centralized Euro nanny state dominated by nations whose political, legal, and cultural traditions are entirely alien to its own. The embrace of such a fate is a psychological condition, not an economic one.
Is America set for decline? Itâ€™s been a grand run. The countryâ€™s been the leading economic power since it overtook Britain in the 1880s. Thatâ€™s impressive. Nevertheless, over the course of that century and a quarter, Detroit went from the worldâ€™s industrial powerhouse to an urban wasteland, and the once-golden state of California atrophied into a land of government run by the government for the government. What happens when the policies that brought ruin to Detroit and sclerosis to California become the basis for the nation at large? Strictly on the numbers, the United States is in the express lane to Declinistan: unsustainable entitlements, the remorseless governmentalization of the economy and individual liberty, and a centralization of power that will cripple a nation of this size. Decline is the way to bet. But what will ensure it is if the American people accept decline as a price worth paying for European social democracy.
Is that so hard to imagine? Every time I retail the latest indignity imposed upon the â€œcitizenâ€ by some or other Continental apparatchik, I receive e-mails from the heartland pointing out, with much reference to the Second Amendment, that it couldnâ€™t happen here because Americans arenâ€™t Euro-weenies. But nor were Euro-weenies once upon a time. Hayekâ€™s greatest insight in The Road to Serfdom is psychological: â€œThere is one aspect of the change in moral values brought about by the advance of collectivism which at the present time provides special food for thought,â€ he wrote with an immigrantâ€™s eye on the Britain of 1944. â€œIt is that the virtues which are held less and less in esteem and which consequently become rarer are precisely those on which the British people justly prided themselves and in which they were generally agreed to excel. The virtues possessed by Anglo-Saxons in a higher degree than most other people, excepting only a few of the smaller nations, like the Swiss and the Dutch, were independence and self-reliance, individual initiative and local responsibility, the successful reliance on voluntary activity, noninterference with oneâ€™s neighbor and tolerance of the different and queer, respect for custom and tradition, and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.â€ Two-thirds of a century on, almost every item on the list has been abandoned, from â€œindependence and self-relianceâ€ (40 percent of people receive state handouts) to â€œa healthy suspicion of power and authorityâ€ â€” the reflex response now to almost any passing inconvenience is to demand the government â€œdo something,â€ the cost to individual liberty be damned. American exceptionalism would have to be awfully exceptional to suffer a similar expansion of government and not witness, in enough of the populace, the same descent into dependency and fatalism. As Europe demonstrates, a determined state can change the character of a people in the space of a generation or two. Look at what the Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population: Thatâ€™s what happened in Britain. …
In the modern era, the two halves of â€œthe Westâ€ form a mirror image. â€œThe Old Worldâ€ has thousand-year-old churches and medieval street plans and ancient hedgerows but has been distressingly susceptible to every insane political fad, from Communism to Fascism to European Union. â€œThe New Worldâ€ has a superficial novelty â€” you can have your macchiato tweeted directly to your iPod â€” but underneath the surface noise it has remained truer to old political ideas than â€œthe Old Worldâ€ ever has. Economic dynamism and political continuity seem far more central to Americaâ€™s sense of itself than they are to most nationsâ€™. Which is why itâ€™s easier to contemplate Spain or Germany as a backwater than America. In a fundamental sense, an America in eclipse would no longer be America.
But, as Charles Krauthammer said recently, â€œdecline is a choice.â€ The Democrats are offering it to the American people, and a certain proportion of them seem minded to accept. Enough to make decline inevitable? To return to the young schoolboy on his uncleâ€™s shoulders watching the Queen-Empressâ€™s jubilee, in the words of Arnold Toynbee: â€œCivilizations die from suicide, not from murder.â€
The Shiawasee County, Michigan Argus-Press reports that being the victim of international disapprobation has brought a Michigan welfare mom 15 minutes of fame.
An Owosso (Michigan) woman says she was recently denied permission to cross the Canadian border because she is on welfare.
Rose Kelley, 25, said she was trying to visit friends and family who live in Canada, but ran into many complications on the way.
She arrived at the Sarnia, Ontario, border May 1 with her children Xander, 5, and Onyx, 1. When she reached the customs and immigration office she was given a list of items she needed to cross the border – some of which included: evidence of citizenship, financial support, financial assistance, confirmed means of departure, and more. …
Because of this, she had to travel back to Owosso to get the necessary papers and then return May 3.
â€œI brought everything. My entire folder had every piece of paperwork that they could ask for,â€ Kelley said
However, she was once again denied entry.
â€œThey said I don’t make enough money and people on welfare shouldn’t take a vacation,â€ said Kelley, a single mother who has been on assistance for five years. â€œI was told that I wouldn’t be allowed to cross the border until my life â€˜drastically changed.’â€
She said she was stunned by the events. …
Because of the incident, Kelley said she filed a discrimination complaint with the agency Tuesday, but has heard no response yet.
Dozens of outraged liberal Canadian readers expressed indignation, reported the Toronto Sun, which also quoted Ms. Kelley observing indignantly:
It has been a terrible ordeal,” Kelley, 25, of Owosso, Mich., said of last Sunday’s trip to the Sarnia border crossing where she was turned back. “I have family and friends over there and I want to visit them.” …
“This trip has been a big ordeal for me and my children,” Kelley said yesterday. “I have never done anything wrong and have a squeaky clean criminal record.”
Amusingly, both American and Canadian press accounts strike poses of open-mouthed astonishment at the man-bites-dog bizarreness of those Canadian Border Service Agents actually looking upon being on welfare as a discreditable status.