June 8, 2008

Hanna Rosin in The Atlantic: "American Murder Mystery"

My new VDARE.com column is about an Atlantic Monthly article that's entitled:

"American Murder Mystery: Why is crime rising in so many American cities? The answer implicates one of the most celebrated antipoverty programs of recent decades."

Here's an excerpt from my essay:

Social Engineers Move Inner City Crime to Suburbs (Developers Delighted!)

By Steve Sailer

Following the demolition of inner city public housing projects in some cities, the murder rate has dropped in the now-gentrifying downtowns, only to soar in previously peaceful suburbs. In the new July / August 2008 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, a long article by Hanna Rosin, "American Murder Mystery" (not yet online), explains why.

You can probably guess the reason. Yet, needless to say, The Experts never saw it coming. Rosin writes:

"Lately, though, a new and unexpected pattern has emerged, taking criminologists by surprise."

Her article resolves a long public debate over the causes of crime between, on one side, the academic establishment, the Main Stream Media, libertarians, moderates, and liberals—in other words, basically, all respectable members of polite society—versus the limited number of realists who will say out loud that they believe their own lying eyes.

The winners: us realists.

One of the most popular excuses on the center-right for the high black homicide rate (seven times the white rate, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics) is that it’s really the fault of the government for putting up housing projects in inner cities back in the post-WWII era.

Everybody now agrees now that piling up poor people in soulless modernist architecture was bad social engineering. Accordingly, ever since Bill Clinton signed in 1998 the $6.3 billion "Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere VI" (HOPE VI) bill, federal policy has been to fix all that through good social engineering.

Namely: Knock down the projects and give their residents Section 8 rent subsidy vouchers so that they will disperse into the suburbs. There they will, of course, through "the great, slow, mysterious absorptive alchemy of assimilation," turn middle class, just like their suburan neighbors.

Just believe in the magic of the market, baby!

A few killjoys, though, have quietly suggested an alternative theory: while federal housing projects were a bad idea, their worst problem was neither their architecture nor their policies, but their residents.

After all, the Los Angeles area never had high-rise housing projects, and not even that many low-rise projects. Nonetheless, LA was home to the two most feared and emulated black gangs, the Bloods and the Crips. And LA was the site of two of the three most murderous race riots of the second half of the 20th Century. Indeed, in the Florence and Normandie neighborhood, where the 1992 South Central riot broke out, five out of every eight residences is owner-occupied, a higher-than-average rate for LA—typically a small but pleasant-enough single-family home.

Moreover, when I moved from LA to Chicago in 1982, I paid a lot to rent an apartment in a post-WWII Le Corbusier-style high-rise in a neighborhood that was physically similar to Chicago's Cabrini-Green housing project. (Cabrini-Green was the most notorious project in the country because it squatted on potentially invaluable real estate just a 20-minute walk from the Loop). Yet, despite the equally soulless modernist architecture of my 24-story building, remarkably few of my fellow tenants shot each other.

One summer day in 1983, I noticed on the map that Clybourn Avenue, running diagonally through Cabrini-Green, provided a shortcut to my job downtown. Why hadn't any Chicago native, I wondered, bothered to tell me to zip down Clybourn to work?

Unfortunately, when I reached Cabrini-Green, my short cut turned out to be impassable, due to a crowd milling about in the street watching an automobile burn. ...

Rosin should be congratulated for taking 12 pages in the Atlantic Monthly to demonstrate that the fundamental problem with public housing projects was that they were full of public housing project residents. And, when the government finally blows up a housing project, the ex-residents just take their felonious folkways elsewhere.

[More]

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh man, you nailed it in this piece

Especially about inner cities being gentrified, which makes the inner suburbs unlivable until they too are gentrified and the outer suburbs become unlivable. The circle will be complete when the inner city becomes unlivable again. This cycle explains why the US spends entirely too much of GDP on real estate.

Anonymous said...

Except that the constant roiling of the population Steve, and the movement of people, cannot continue without these factors:

1. Cheap oil to fuel longer commutes to work, from the ever-expanding exurbs.
2. Rising real income to purchase a new house and pay for the still long commute, etc.
3. Cheap credit and low interest rates.

Take any of those three factors away and people get "stuck" and you have a situation guaranteed to demand racial conflict.

The Black Underclass and it's tribunes, Sharpton, Jackson, etc. will demand no police enforcement. The "stuck" inner suburbanites will demand heavy police enforcement and sending the Black Underclass to jail, evicting the rest ASAP. It's guaranteed political conflict like forced busing of white kids in Boston to inner city schools.

Pols like payoffs, hate conflict. Particularly when it's a no-win situation, someone is going to be
unhappy and make the pol unhappy by backing an opponent.

We are probably at the end of #1, cheap oil, for a long while. We probably won't see #2-3 either. So while pols might want to team up with developers but it's just a fantasy. Like rolling back time.

Instead we'll get a raw battle for political power, as the personal mobility of post WWII fueled by rising incomes, cheap credit, and cheap oil comes to an end.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in tenements throughout Asia that were much, much worse than any ever put up in America.

They were filled with (usually) hardworking, decent people.

Anonymous said...

I saw this article in the Atlantic, and the first thing I thought was, "this lines up with everything I've read on Steve Sailor's blog."

Ron Guhname said...

Let me help criminologists concoct their next story, I mean theory, for Section 8 black crime: "Blacks experience more racism with so much proximity to whites. This fuels black rage and hence crime. What is needed is mandatory sensitivity training for neighboring whites."

Anonymous said...

Just like the actual residential buildings don't explain the woes of the residents, the physical school buildings (and their teachers for that matter) don't explain the outcome of the students. By the way, NYC's Stuyvesant Town looks an awful lot like projects, but today people pay a pretty penny to live there.

C. Van Carter said...

The asininity of HOPE.

TGGP said...

You didn't think libertarians would take your dig lying down, did you? We're as over-represented on the internet as we are irrelevant in real life! I'll admit that many view everything as a nail that the hammer of the free-market can fix, but there's a major point you're missing. The main libertarian argument about crime is not that it results from housing projects but the war on drugs. The weakest argument you've ever written on the "perils of legalization" justifies it on the basis of not wanting people to be lazy and watch tv. Is that worth all the chaos it has wreaked? As some have pointed out the drug war has massively destabilized Latin America, sending refugees (often as criminalized as the L.A gangstas that planted Crips and Bloods all over the country) northward. It has also affected the demand side of immigration by making the pre-existing black underclass repellant to elites, who seek to replace them with our new "hardworking" and "vibrant" underclass.

Anonymous said...

The physical building I live in now would be considered a slum in the US.

It would fail numerous health and safety codes including lacking a fire escape and sprinkler system. The kitchen is about 40 years old and I have to light the stove with a match.

Yet, it would cost you US$750K (or more) due to the strong Euro and is in one of the best sections of town.

agnostic said...

Are people still this clueless? Given that at least some of the mainstream voices are Ashkenazi Jews who have heard stories about their immigrant ancestors, wouldn't at least one of them remember that their ancestors were crammed into dilapidated Lower East Side tenements? So, how many crime waves did they cause?

Holy shit, solved the mystery right there. (Chinatowns seal the deal.)

TGGP said...

agnostic, that actually may be part of the problem. They remember how their ancestors came in on the bottom but rose up. They assume the same must happen to others through the "magic of assimilation". Also, there were a good number of jewish gangsters in the beginning. "Dutch" Schultz was actually Dutch.

Anonymous said...

tggp -- Legalization or near-legalization of narcotics (no real enforcement) in the UK or Netherlands has resulted in even worse hell-holes. It merely provides more re-inforcement for the worse part of the minority crime population -- single motherhood.

Blacks and Hispanics in the US under Jim Crow Segregation had higher crime rates than comparable White populations, but it was not out of sight like now. It was marginally higher, but nothing like the war-zones today. Why?

Because the two-parent family was intact, and kept young boys/men in check. Women chose responsible, stable men for husbands, and did not have three kids with separate fathers based on whoever had the most dominant position on the corner.

Legalization of narcotics is likely to simply increase sexual selection for physical dominance in minority and poor white communities (the white illegitamacy rate is around 30% and rising) and make things worse. Culture matters. A lot. It is probably dominant.

Central Avenue in LA was a place where it was rough but people would still come from the good part of town, under segregation, to hear guys like Big Joe Turner play. Or maybe Nat Cole. I have relatives who told me stories about visiting. This is within living memory -- Black Los Angeles that was not gang ridden or so crime ridden that it was worth your life to visit.

Regardless, the pattern of moving people around is not going to happen any more.

High sustained Oil Prices + expensive credit + declining wages (driven by immigration) = people stuck. And one hell of a political fight.

It will make the response in Boston to forced busing in the 1970's look like a picnic.

Anonymous said...

TGGP,

You're missing the point about the 'war on drugs'. If you legalized drugs, the black underclass would still commit crimes; the difference would be, the police wouldn't be able to lock as many of them up on slam-dunk possession charges, in lieu of the violent crimes they can't get anyone in the neighborhood to testify about.

And the war on drugs doesn't sent most Latin American immigrants here; the promise of higher paying work does. Their American-born kids become gang-members because they lack their parents motivation to work (because they grew up in a country with generous public assistance) and because they don't have the aptitudes to succeed in the legal economy.

Second Anonymous

Anonymous said...

High rise public housing did have a role in breaking down working class social structures and inflating crime rates here in the UK. It may be though that once those structures are broken, moving the population to low-rise housing doesn't magically mend them. Of course I'm talking about the UK white working class. I have seen white low-rise slum areas here in the UK too (notably in Belfast, Edinburgh, and Coventry), marked by burning and burnt-out cars, but not many guns.

Anonymous said...

Great piece, Steve. It must gall you that the Atlantic will pat itself on the back for only now publishing the sort of thing that you've been writing about for years. Take heart - there is honor in being a prophet without honor.

An interesting perspective on the sub-urbanization of America can be found at James Kunstler's site:

www.kunstler.com

He's a proponent of the "New Urbanism", and spends a great many pixels decrying how god-awful ugly America has become (about which he is right), and how unsustainable suburban, exurban, and meta-urban development has become. But his liberal soul prevents him from making the connection - why did people move out of the cities? Why do they now move out of the inner suburbs? That it was due to the white middle-class's desire to avoid minorities behaving badly, is something he can't quite grasp.
He also has it in for southerners and rural people generally, and thinks they will respond to the coming economic crack-up by electing some kind of corn-pone Hitler. Actually, my observation is that many southerners would be far better able to make do with less, than would the sort of cab-sipping swells that Kunstler hangs out with. Many southerners aren't far from their rural roots, and still know how to plant, hunt, fish, and reload. Against that, liberal yuppies know how to recycle and order Sushi. We'll see which skills are of greater use when the lights go out.

It's also amusing to read his self-congratulatory prose about how important he is, and how he spends all his time jetting around the country to tell people that they can't go on consuming oil, like, well, like he does.

agnostic said...

That's not what I'm talking about, though -- going from poverty to prosperity. There, they've at least perceived their own past correctly, but are simply drawing a bad analogy to current Mexican immigrants.

I'm talking about going from causing crime waves to becoming law-abiding. Ashkenazi Jews started off poor in New York, but did not mug, rape, or kill people at a rate greater than their fraction of the population.

So here, they have just completely blanked out that part of their mental history of the Jews, as it thoroughly undercuts the belief that "poverty, or overcrowding, or bad housing causes crime."

Anonymous said...

I recently read something about the main thrust of Apartheid being putting a check on black-on-white violence and poaching of cattle.
What's the deal with Jim Crow? What was the main motivation for it? Also to check crime?

Anonymous said...

The main libertarian argument about crime is not that it results from housing projects but the war on drugs.

Anyone who's ever personally known a drug addict knows the unlikelihood of that. Drugs cause chaos whether they are legal or not - they alter behavior in ways that make living responsibly all but impossible. And don't free market libertarians believe that the cheaper something becomes the more widespread its use will be?

Take painkillers: I've been prescribed them several times in my life, and they're goooooood. I'd never attempt to acquire them illegally but if I could buy them OTC I'd be awfully tempted, and there's lots of people who couldn't resist that temptation.

Following the demolition of inner city public housing projects in some cities, the murder rate has dropped in the now-gentrifying downtowns, only to soar in previously peaceful suburbs...Everybody now agrees now that piling up poor people in soulless modernist architecture was bad social engineering. Accordingly, ever since Bill Clinton signed in 1998 the $6.3 billion "Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere VI" (HOPE VI) bill, federal policy has been to fix all that through good social engineering.

And afterwards the liberals were partying for days. The GOP truly is the stupid party.

Conservatives once actually lived in the cities. Then along came integration, forced busing, lax law enforcement, and "the projects," and conservatives fled to the suburbs. To try to fix the cities the feds poured in money by the boatload. Now upper middle class liberals dominate the cities, lifestyle and property prices heavily subsidized by the feds, and they get to get rid of the underclass and ship them where? Off to the conservtive 'burbs, to do disrupt their settlement patterns yet again.

And conservatives are too stupid to figure it out.

I don't think this country's ever going to regain it's footing (or culture) until things like "equal housing opportunity" go out the window and people are free to discriminate as they wish. Fighting racism and discrimination has become the justification for eliminating just about every freedom in the Bill of Rights - assembly, speech, property, and even religion.

Anonymous said...

Rather than concentrating the criminal element in a few notorious locales, now a large number of neighborhoods have been pushed past the tipping point where the police lose control.

I lived in Memphis in the early to mid-90s, in the area of the Hickory Ridge Mall, out on the east edge of Memphis and just south of an upper middle class city called Germantown. Back then it was basically middle & working class whites. When I stopped through to visit some friends a few years ago (barely a decade after I'd left) the mall and many of the businesses around it had shut down, because the area had gone black and all the money was gone.

It seems a short time for such a rapid change. A victim of the 1998 law?

Anonymous said...

Of course, there is a simpler, more powerful explanatory model: privately, everybody except the most naïve academics understands that the black underclass is not composed of victims of circumstances who are sure to get their act together as soon as we spend some more tax dollars on them.

The columnist/retired psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple has written eloquently on this. His 2 books "Our Culture, What's Left of It" and "Life at the Bottom" are brilliant and worthy reads. He's writing from an English perspective, having worked in a hospital in the slums, but it applies well here, too.

Anonymous said...

My theory: much of this relentless churning-about of the American population is intentionally driven by public policy. That's because population change benefits developers, who are politicians' close personal friends

Hmmm...cheap labor, larger market, and churn. The last is one I never thought of, but one more reason to remind me to take glee in the housing downturn, and to hope it lasts for a good, long time.

Antioco Dascalon said...

Here's another headscratcher:

"But the factors driving HIV were still not fully understood, he said.

"The impact of HIV is so heterogeneous. In the US , the rate of infection among men in Washington DC is well over 100 times higher than in North Dakota, the region with the lowest rate. That is in one country. How do you explain such differences?"


Gee, I don't know. What could the difference be between DC and North Dakota? And what similarities do DC and Sub-Saharan Africa have? Hmmm. Tough one.
From:
http://tinyurl.com/6fwtxz

Anonymous said...

Real estate developers have a natural interest in population growth, from immigration if necessary and from illegal immigration if the legals are not enough. I am not so sure, however, that they have, on a net basis, an interest in the 'uncreative destruction' that shifts populations around. The profits from construction of new towns somewhere else must be set against the losses on the properties -- stores, offices and apartment buildings -- developers still own in the collapsing old neighborhoods (Losses on homes in the old neighborhoods are of course borne by homeowners, not developers.) Maybe a more sophisticated version of campaign finance reform would require that politicians have a balanced portfolio of donations from both old-town and new-town developers.

Or are we getting distracted from the main problem here? Some developers' interests naturally coincide with politicians interests' in dealing with problems by never taking anything away from anybody, like welfare, food stamps, housing subsidies and job preferences, and never saying anything unpleasant to any large section of voters, like we first have to establish the basic norms of work, family responsibility and non-violence, or nothing else will work.

Anonymous said...

Steve, don't lump "confused" libertarians with "real" libertarians. Bill maher is a good example of a leftist "confused" libertarian. I myself am a conservative libertarian (I consider bush far left) and am sick of being grouped with those goofballs. Otherwise keep up the good fight

Anonymous said...

"Cabrini-Green was the most notorious project in the country because it squatted on potentially invaluable real estate just a 20-minute walk from the Loop"

It also was famous because the local TV stations could hop into their vans and in 2 minutes they could be getting some really juicy live footage of shootouts and other mayhem. The other neighborhoods where this was possible were all places where the news crews would have to make long drives through really dangerous neighborhoods. There was just as much going on in the projects in these areas but Cabrini Green was so close and an easy ride through nicer areas. Another reason it was famous was because it was the setting for the TV show Good Times in the 70s.

Anonymous said...

"the mall and many of the businesses around it had shut down, because the area had gone black and all the money was gone."

Its this fact which makes me wonder why everyone is rooting for Obama. Its obvious his platform will lead to ALL of America looking like this. Did I miss something?

Anonymous said...

Can you believe it? A man called De Cock now tells us Threat of world Aids pandemic among heterosexuals is over, report admits

Anonymous said...

Lancaster, PA is another prime example of exurban blight. You might think, coming from outside, that Lancaster would be a thriving quaint German influenced town. 30 years ago it still was, sure ain't now...

Anonymous said...

I recently read something about the main thrust of Apartheid being putting a check on black-on-white violence and poaching of cattle.
What's the deal with Jim Crow? What was the main motivation for it? Also to check crime?


I think the best part of Obama's first book is the section about a community meeting he organized where a group of older residents of the Altgeld Gardens housing project reminisce about their lives in the south prior to their migration north. I find it amazing, and sad, that they considered life less harsh in the Jim Crow south than on the southside of Chicago. But that's what they said.

I'll share something that's been on my mind for a while. Nothing big -- just memories. You know, my folks weren't rich or nothing. We lived out in Altgeld. But when I think back on my own childhood, I remember some really good times. I remember going to Blackburn Forest with my folks to pick wild berries. I remember making skating carts with my ... buddies out of empty fruit crates and old roller skate wheels and racing around the parking lot. I remember going on field trips at school, and on the holidays meeting all the families in the park, everybody out and nobody scared, and then in the summers sleeping out in the yard together if it got too hot inside. A lot of good memories ... seemed like I was smiling all the time, laughing --"

Will broke off suddenly and bowed his head. I thought he was preparing to sneeze, but when he raised his head back up, I saw tears rolling down his cheeks. He continued in a cracking voice, "And you know, I don't see kids smiling around here no more. You look at 'em listen to 'em ... they seem worried all the time mad about something. They got nothing they trust. Not their parents. Not God. Not themselves. And that's not right. That just ain't the way things supposed to be ... kids not smiling."

He stopped again and pulled a handkerchief from his hip pocket to blow his nose. Then, as if the sight of this big man weeping had watered the dry surface of their hearts, the others in the room began speaking about their own memories in solemn, urgent tones. They talked about life in small Southern towns: the corner stores where men had gathered to learn the news of the day or lend a hand to women with their groceries, the way adults looked after each other's children ("Couldn't get away with nothing, 'cause your momma had eyes and ears up and down the whole block"), the sense of public decorum that such familiarity had helped sustain. In their voices was no little bit of nostalgia, elements of selective memory, but the whole of what they recalled rang vivid and true, the sound of shared loss. A feeling of witness, of frustration and hope, moved about the room from mouth to mouth, and when the last person had spoken, it hovered in the air, static and palpable. Then we all joined hands, Mr. Green's thick, callused hand in my left, Mrs. Turner's, slight and papery to the touch, in my right, and together we asked for the courage to turn things around.

Dreams from My Father (177-178)

Anonymous said...

IF libertarians are to enact their agenda, drug legalization should be the last thing they do, not the first. First they'd need to remove all social welfare. Because they'd be engineering quite a collapse in the underclass and periphery of the middle class. Basically it'd be a Darwinist experiment, a jettisoning of genetic dead weight.

Nothing libertarian about handing out suicide pills and making the non-suicidal foot the resulting bill.

And doesn't the war on drugs also keep plenty of foreigners at home, making lots of money off artificially-inflated crop prices?

Anonymous said...

Somewhat apropos of this topic, today's Krugman column might have points of interest to readers.

Anonymous said...

Heather MacDonald took an ax to the "Minority crime is bad because of the war-on-drugs!" meme
http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_2_criminal_justice_system.html

This hit my zip code. Immediately after we bought our house, a charming '50's house, custom built back in the day, with a rose garden and nice yard, we got notices in the mail that our zip code was selected to offer people government money to help pay rent if they were poor enough. It was the worst feeling ever. We did not want to be stuffed in a vanilla, soulless development and thought we had found the area and place of our dreams... My advice: check out the FBI page and do not live in "metropolitan counties". *Any* place in those, especially working-class and starter home neighborhoods, are vulnerable. My husband works in Tampa and we ignorantly decided to find a rural place within Hillsborough county. Had we gone north to Pasco county, we wouldn't be facing this problem.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if islam has played a role in keeping underclass birthrates down in Europe. Say Afro-Carribbean illegitimacy rates vs. Pakistani or Black Muslim ones?

Anonymous said...

We bought a house in a suburb in Lancaster, a fixer-up, that we would rent out.

After we remodeled, someone in our family suggested letting a section 8 tenant move in, since I lived over an hour away, and our rent would essentially be government guaranteed, with a government prequalified tenant, and we'd be doing our part to contribute to the community by helping someone who couldn't ordinarily afford our house, to live there.

We ended up renting to an african american woman with 5 children. One child was hers, the other 4 were her sister, who was a crack addict. Her sister had been in government ordered rehab 5 times. She was unable to care for any of the children, as she was homeless, her sister didn't want her, but saw fit to legally adopt all of the crack addicts kids. All by different men.

When I met the woman, who stopped by to visit one day, she was 5 months pregnant, by yet another man.
This woman had fairly expensive furniture, a large screen television, stereo, ect. All were leased for some silly amount of money. I didn't know about her family matters completely until she'd already moved in.

On my monthly visits to get the rent check (and check up on the place) the renter always had the house clean and was very polite.

One day, I noticed a little old lady watering her lawn next door. Unbeknownst to our renter, I decided to introduce myself and ask how our renter was doing.

She went on to tell me that one of the children (a 10 year old boy, son of the crack addict) had been arrested recently for burglarizing the house next door.

Our renter's "boyfriend" had also had the police circling the house with helicopters the week before. Seems like he was a regular at a crack den that had developed across the street, thanks to an elderly african american lady who agreed to allow her son to live at her house after he got out of prison for dealing crack.

She said police cars had surrounded our house, and had our tenant and her boyfriend spread out on the lawn, and finally arrested.

After they got out on bail, the knocked on this old ladies door, accused her of calling the police, and threatened her with bodily harm if the police ever came to their house again.

Our tenant never shared all this information with me.

Long story a little longer, I realized I was some sort of slum lord! I was the guy I hated! The guy who rented to unqualified people who went on to trash a neighborhood, and strike fear into a community.

Soon after, when our tenant broke her toilet for the second time, which sprayed water for an hour before she figured out how to turn off the water, I gave her notice and moved her out, and sold the property.

Just one of my experiences with Section 8 housing. I'll spare you from the others. They're just as bad.

I've had 4 experiences with section 8 folk, and every single one of them was a tragicomedy.

What it all comes down to, from my repeated experience is Section 8 has inadvertently become a fiscal prop-up device to service, and support drug dealing, squalor, and the "unconvential social structures" in otherwise functional communities.

It is an abject failure, completely mismanaged, and should needs a complete reorganization.

If Jesse Jackson and the like were truly interested in the plight of poor african americans, I believe he would be on the forefront of the rewriting of the rules regarding section 8.

From my experience, the only outcome it achieves is to keep African Americans in their self-perpetuating hole.

Anonymous said...

Still, I'll bet there is some not unsubstantial negative network externality with putting all of the public housing residents in one giant unowned building.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me the Parisians have it about right. I'm sure that our underclass could be managed much better than it is, but it seems unlikely that this is going to change much. So the question is simple: where do we pay them to live? We can either pay them to live in our cities, or put them somewhere else.

Suburbs are better, since there's less stuff within walking distance for them to steal, and fewer people in walking distance to rob and victimize. Of course, the exurbs would be even better, and the distant countryside probably the best we can do, short of exiling them to the moon. (This is the basic idea behind modern prisons, after all.)

It's true that due to mistakes in our past, class-cleansing in our cities is going to take a while. But once we get that done, I think it will be a much more stable arrangement that at present, because the natural arrangement is for the cities to hold all the wealth, and for the wealth producers to live close to their jobs.

Put another way, there's a fundamental asymmetry in where you put people, based on commute times. Welfare recipients and the unemployed don't commute, so they are insensitive to where they live. Whereas working people of all classes want to live close to their job. So, it makes sense to concentrate workers and jobs, whereas it doesn't matter whether the underclass live in high density areas or not.

Anonymous said...

tggp said,

The main libertarian argument about crime is not that it results from housing projects but [from] the war on drugs[... which makes]the pre-existing black underclass repellant to elites

The relatively recent "War on Drugs" makes the black underclass repellent to elites or anyone else? Non sequitur. They were repellent (in the sense of people wanting to put distance between them and themselves) to almost everyone even during their "pre-existing" days, tggp. And not on account of irrational prejudice. If anything, drug legalization would only increase their bad behavior.

No, the hard truth is that the "War on Drugs" - as admittedly fascist as it is - keeps a very large percentage of that underclass behind bars, out of your neighborhood and mine. Google prison rates, young black men - and see what they were put in cages for.

william said,

Fighting racism and discrimination has become the justification for eliminating just about every freedom in the Bill of Rights - assembly, speech, property, and even religion.

You're damn right. Freedom requires a certain level of intelligence and responsibility in a population. You can have freedom... OR ... you can have police helicopters circling "da 'hood" - aka diversity. Not both.

henry said,

Real estate developers have a natural interest in population growth[...]I am not so sure, however, that they have, on a net basis, an interest in the 'uncreative destruction' that shifts populations around.

What businessperson considers that he has a "an interest on a net basis" (i.e., it's in his interest to lose sometimes) in anything at all? It's called competition, which means the other guy be damned and Adam Smith's invisible hand will take care of mess.

To anon. ("slum lord"):

Thank you for sharing your story. No one in the mainstream media would dare to let your voice and your experience come within miles of their microphones or their newspaper pages, but it is the untold, underground story of the tragedy America has become over the past 40+ years. The story hushed up - the destruction of a people.

Anonymous said...

rohan swee,

Krugman's column is a typical opinion piece from the elite media: it has no basis in reality. As Steve has pointed out, crime is down in New York and Washington, the cities I imagine Krugman spends most of his time, because the black population is down in those cities. I wonder if Krugman would allow his children to go to public school in NYC. Oh wait. Nevermind. I just remembered he doesn't have any children.

Anonymous said...

"So, how many crime waves did they cause?"

This may surprise you, but around the turn of the century, most crime in NYC was being committed by Jews. That didn't last long and it wasn't of the same magnitude as the post 60's black crime wave that we are still in.

New York's Jewish crime wave followed the Irish crime wave and preceded the Italian crime wave.

Anonymous said...

Some anon said:

Still, I'll bet there is some not unsubstantial negative network externality with putting all of the public housing residents in one giant unowned building.

Possibly, there's a huge externality associated with spreading the criminals far and wide. When they are localized, police resources can be concentrated, and the boundary effects are smaller (10 crack dens in one block have a smaller total effect on property values than 1 crackden/block for ten blocks)

Plus it has advantages for non-underclass blacks. When the underclass is concentrated, blacks who aren't part of it are less likely to be "profiled"

Not to mention the tremendous benefits that accrue to whites from having the underclass sequestered.

Anonymous said...

Martin I saw that too. I think Kunstler's an idiot if he actually believes he can force people from the Exurbs to the cities, with attendant loss of standards of living.

People just won't go. They'll fight. They won't get a corn-pone Hitler, they will get a Andrew Jackson. Which the elites won't like much.

As for Jim Crow, the original desire was to dismantle the Republican-Black coalition in the South. Unsurprisingly the former slaves did not like their masters much and took every effort to punish them.

Segregation then took hold, primarily as a defense against the kind of electoral policies that were utterly predictable should black majority cities and counties elect black leaders: soft on crime, division of the spoils from "us" to "them." Separate but Equal was all about suppressing the Black Vote by making life miserable under the law, and limiting public participation.

One of the outcomes of this was the astonishing amount of private benevolent societies that provided an entirely separate and mostly good set of services and institutions. Black owned banks, insurance companies, colleges, doctors, dentists, etc. allowed a Black person to escape segregation entirely in the Black community. Which was run by the Black Middle Class.

Segregation fell apart not just because of Dr. King (there had been other equally gifted reformers appealing to public conscience before him) but suburbanization which left whites the easy out of simply moving out. In sort of the reverse of the Black institutions of segegation.

TGGP said...

mnuez tried to post here, and I responded here.

I'm not arguing for drug "decriminalization". I'm arguing for full-scale legalization. Just as Al Capone was replaced by Miller Brewing Company, I want to replace the Crips and Bloods with Phillip Morris or Pfizer. Just as violence over the alcohol trade ended with prohibition, ending drug prohibition will also greatly reduce violence. I don't know what testing99 is talking about with the Netherlands. From what I've heard Amsterdam is quite peaceful with only tourists occasionally doing shrooms and jumping off balconies. Since testing99/EvilNeocon seems to have the remarkable ability to be wrong about everything, I shouldn't be surprised. If he really cared about keeping the two-parent family intact, he would want to avoid policies that result in a large fraction of males being unavailable for marriage and the remaining few in an advantageous enough position to demand protection-free sex and avoid marriage. Tim Harford talks about that a bit in this diavlog.

the black underclass would still commit crimes; the difference would be, the police wouldn't be able to lock as many of them up on slam-dunk possession charges, in lieu of the violent crimes they can't get anyone in the neighborhood to testify about.
I assert the opposite. Drug crimes are an additional class of crime that the police pursue and distracts them from real crimes with victims. We are letting violent criminals out of jail because they are full of non-violent drug offenders. Many (perhaps most) of the criminals who are violent are engaged in drug-related violence, whether that be fighting over turf to sell drugs or robbing drug dealers on the corner. It is also HARDER to get people to give police information about drug crimes. It is the nature of victimless crimes that all parties to the transaction want to avoid giving information to the police. When crimes have victims, those victims and their friends/families will often want to notify and help the police put the perpetrator behind bars. When police are not Andry Griffith style helpful providers of a service but more like an occupying army, Stop Snitching is going to be a popular slogan. The end result is that police are forced to rely on informants, who are generally some of the scummiest criminals around.

Anyone who's ever personally known a drug addict knows the unlikelihood of that. Drugs cause chaos whether they are legal or not - they alter behavior in ways that make living responsibly all but impossible.
Alcoholics certainly screw up a lot, and according to Mark Kleiman it is even causes more harm to others than any other drug. However, they cause a lot fewer problems than under Prohibition. Not too long ago England had legal heroin (perhaps the hardest drug to get off), and most of its users were able to function. They tend to cause the most problems when they're jonesing for a fix, and under legalization that is indeed rarely a problem (how often to people steal for booze money?).

And the war on drugs doesn't sent most Latin American immigrants here; the promise of higher paying work does
I don't claim that ending the war on drugs would cut immigration numbers in half, but I think it would significantly reduce them. Right now there are police chiefs fleeing Mexico because they don't feel safe from the cartels there. That's how bad it's gotten, and Mexico is better off than a lot of places in South America. It's probably the single biggest problem in Mexico right now and a lot of other things (political corruption, for instance) are byproducts. There probably would be a better economy with more good jobs and reason for folks to stay in school rather than dropping out (not a cure for all ails, but literacy is certainly an improvement on the margin).

The Heather Mac Donald article linked did not disprove anything I claimed about the war on drugs. I don't even claim that black crime rates would reach parity with whites. I just think they would be greatly reduced, which sounds quite desirable to me even if it isn't some egalitarian utopia.

Anonymous said...

Here's a companion piece to the Atlantic article Mr. Obama's Neighborhood
[Weekly Standard/Andrew Ferguson]

"The neighborhood is better known as a haven for the black upper class, especially those who don't want to move to an all-white suburb but also don't want the crime risks and miserable schools associated with the neighborhoods to the immediate south, west, and north."

""You have to understand the mindset," a neighborhood preservationist, Jack Spicer, told me. "In the middle of the 1950s, the university thought they were in the middle of an emergency. Alarms were going off everywhere." All around Hyde Park, white flight was transforming Chicago, goosed by racial panic and the sleazy importunities of "blockbusters"--real estate speculators who bought the houses of fleeing whites at fire-sale prices, then flipped them at a high profit to incoming blacks. "The university figured Hyde Park was next," Spicer said. The school was having trouble attracting students and faculty. Administrators considered moving the campus to Arizona or New Mexico--anywhere pleasant--but balked at the expense. At last they decided that if they couldn't move to a nice neighborhood, they would make their neighborhood nice."

Anonymous said...

Martin:

James Howard Kunstler really nailed Y2K!

He's just a greener Gladwell who doesn't come up with pithy catch-phrases.

Anonymous said...

TGGP:
It is also HARDER to get people to give police information about drug crimes. It is the nature of victimless crimes that all parties to the transaction want to avoid giving information to the police. When crimes have victims, those victims and their friends/families will often want to notify and help the police put the perpetrator behind bars. When police are not Andry Griffith style helpful providers of a service but more like an occupying army, Stop Snitching is going to be a popular slogan.

The reason it's easier to nail people on drug crimes is that you don't have to rely on witnesses who, as you note, often believe in the "stop snitchin'" ethic (in part due to self-preservation instincts). If someone has a pound of cocaine in their car, you got them. It's the nature of drug-crimes that drug-dealers (not to mention users) will often have the evidence on them. No testifying witnesses are required. I am not very qualified to comment on your other comments.

Anonymous said...

The secret with blacks is that they are a thousand times more functional as individuals surrounded by non-blacks. When it's one black guy or black woman, they are actually cool and easy to like. Get em in a group, and it's a different situation.

Check out the early history of segregation law in the USA. The south started out not so segregated. Free landowning blacks existed and were part of the majority white community, and could even file cases in court and so on. That was before black slaves were in the South in large numbers.

Over time, more blacks were brought in to work the plantations. Then new laws were passed. One of the first was the rule that blacks could not gather after dark.

Anyone who has been in an American city where blacks live knows exactly why, too. The difference between lived exposure to blacks in groups and non-exposure is why Minnesotans (who only know their cool token blacks) like Obama, and whites elsewhere do not.

The garden variety whiterperson has been carefully trained to have only robotic or machine-like "culture" ruled by the mind with no rooting in the instincts or lived experience, and has no clue of the depth of black racial or group feelings. Blacks are people without "culture" in the intellectualized sense of the word. They feel group politics immediately without intellectually filtering or blocking those feelings.

Unlike whiterpeople, blacks don't have a myriad of Pavlovian guilt buttons that can be pushed on demand to bring them back into step with the PC party line. In that sense their non-intellectuality keeps blacks rooted in the real world. "Keepin it real," as blacks wisely say.

Anonymous said...

Chuck D wrote a very good book that said something similar about Jim Crow days. Under Jim Crow, blacks went to a black cobbler to fix their shoes, a black grocer, and so on. There was cash flow within the community. Black earnings supported other blacks in a functional way.

After the great migration out of the south to the northern cities, blacks became uprooted consumers. Instead of buying shoes from the local black cobbler, they bought from Nike. Which is owned by white men. Instead of buying from the local black grocer, they buy from the white owned supermarket chain. And so on.

Chuck D's take on gangster rap is that it profited white record label owners who got rich while black communities self destructed. Some blacks even think crack was introduced by white government agents.

The Big Lie that was sold to blacks by liberal whites is they could succeed in the white world if they got the right education. If those barriers were taken down, blacks would be performing right up there with whites. It might seem sad to whites, but it's just not true.

Part of the problem is that whites really need to understand that not everyone can be like them. Some little white kids bury their face in books and keep it buried through higher education. It's not forced on them, it just happens. They do it because acquiring knowledge is an instinct for some whites.

White libs don't know this because their own insular little communities are full of hen-pecking mothers who force study. But that's not really how the highest achievement happens. The highest achievement comes from desires of the heart.

The same goes for little black kids who perfect and innovate their b-ball moves. They do it because it gives them joy, not because mom or teacher is berating them to get it right. They do it to show off and express their natural being.

The Big Lie is ultimately a war against nature in all its forms. For blacks, the Big Lie attacked their community ties, sold them a phony dream of bookish achievement not remotely reachable for most of them. Now look what you have left. The elderly black man in Obama's book said it.

The road to hell is not really paved with good intentions, but it is paved with pretty sounding phrases and ideals.

Anonymous said...

The Boston Experience

I spent the first 6 years of my life in the Back Bay, a real 1950's sort of urban neighborhood of tree-lined boulevards and friendly (white) neighbors living in comfortable townhouses and apartments. We lived 3 blocks from Fenway Park, where my dad would take my brother and I on warm summer nights. Mom & Dad, children of Portuguese immigrants, moved to the city from the Cape Cod area; Dad worked as a foreman at a printing company. Friday nights were a treat, with trips to Roxbury and Mattapan Square, the predominately Jewish areas, to shop at the kosher butcher shop and eat great deli.

In 1963, Dad changed jobs to become the VP/GM of a different company outside the city. Because my brother was about to start school and my parents didn't like the changes they were seeing in the aforementioned Jewish areas (darker faces beginning to appear, with the attendant behavioral issues) we decamped to the suburbs to the south of the city. It wasn't for the schools, because it was preordained that we'd be attending Catholic schools no matter where we lived, but because my parents were the typical bitter and clinging white folk that wanted the best for their families, as well as less expensive properties to own.

Fast forward 10 years. My brother and I are attending a Catholic high school 2 towns away from Boston. The family, now larger by 2 additional sons, has moved to a more rural town further from the city. Roxbury and Mattapan have been deserted by the Jewish residents, and are becoming majority minority areas, leading the Boston liberals to institute the famously divisive forced busing program to integrate the schools. My high school opened additional space (with 35-student classes) to the white flight students fleeing the Boston schools. Tuition went from $250/year with each additional child from the family half price during my freshman year to $750 with no breaks for additional kids by my senior year. There were now 5 black kids in my school (1 managed to graduate) and in the locker room after football practice my white-bread sensibilities were shocked when one calls another the N-word. Half the white flight kids flunk out their first year, poorly prepared by the Boston schools, but hope springs eternal, and more keep coming. Roxbury and Mattapan are crime-ridden disaster areas, and are beginning to infringe on Dorchester. Most of the Jewish residents are now in Randolph, 2 towns south of the city, and the city's famously numerous Irish denizens are moving south to Quincy and Braintree. White flight is in full flower.

Fast forward 15 years. Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester are enveloped in the Crack Wars and the accompanying murder rates. The Boston Public Schools are now 70% minority, so I guess the desegregation program isn't working out very well. I live in Quincy, a city with about 25% minority residents. The upside is that most of them are Asian. My Chinese immigrant neighbors, Mr. & Mrs. Li, raise 4 daughters on his cook's wage; all 4 attend college, 1 at Harvard and 1 at MIT. The original housing bubble has burst. My best friend and his wife, owners of a condo in Braintree for 6 years, see their neighbors struggling to make their mortgage payments. The condo association changes the bylaws to allow subletting, and 3 months later they have a rent-subsidized,300-lb blond woman with 4 mulatto kids across the hall, with the shenanigans that go along with rent subsidies. They end up selling their condo for $15K less than they paid for it and moving to my old hometown.

Fast forward to the present. The former border zones between Boston's black neighborhoods and downtown, the South End, has been reclaimed by gentrification. Dilapidated brownstones on Mass Ave., which could be purchased for pennies on the dollar in the 70's and 80's, are now multi-million dollar properties. Formerly working-class (read Irish) South Boston, Charlestown and the Fields Corner/Ashmont sections of Dorchester experience an influx of empty nesters, driving prices up and low-income residents out. Randolph's Jewish residents have begun leaving for points further south, and again the new residents are mostly black, leading some local wags to call it Ranbury.

I now live in Melrose, about 10 miles north of the city. It's a small but dense city with very little industry and a thriving downtown. It's also a wannabe People's Republic full of moonbats; we can't get potholes fixed but we have a human rights commission. The city distributed a bumper sticker a few years ago which said "Melrose: A Community Open To All".

The past couple years have made some begin to rethink this sentiment. The neighboring city of Malden now has the 7th highest percentage of blacks in the state, and the migration is continuing into Melrose. We now have gang grafitti tags on dumpsters and such. There was a stabbing at a house party last year, something the older townies can't recall happening in recent history. Drug overdoses have led the city to hire a full-time substance abuse counselor. According to a friend's kid in 8th grade, the black kids can insult other students with ethnic slurs with impunity, while white kids get suspended.

But this type of situation shows the Bradley Effect in full flower. People in Melrose don't know many black people and seem to have a hard time differentiating between the new residents moving in with Section 8 housing vouchers and Barack & Denzel.

For myself, I think it's time to join P.J. O'Rourke and Mark Steyn in New Hampshire!

Brutus

Anonymous said...

For the record, there's an article in today's WSJ about re-gentrification:

The End of White Flight
For the First Time in Decades, Cities' Black Populations Lose Ground,
Stirring Clashes Over Class, Culture and Even Ice Cream
By CONOR DOUGHERTY
July 19, 2008; Page A1
online.wsj.com

The commentary over at Lucianne is pretty biting [although Lucianne only archives her threads for about 72 hours]:

http://www.lucianne.com/threads2.asp?artnum=412722