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Victor Davis Hanson
The Destiny of Cities « Back to Story
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When I discovered your magazine, I considered subscribing, as I am an admirer of all things urban, especially in America. Then I read this essay - a thinly-veiled plea for a return to American imperialism and Reaganomics that of course, provides no real research or insight into the problems that plague American cities and blatantly ignores contradictions present in its philosphy. The comments that follow contain even more junk thought and toxic radicalism.

You should be ashamed of yourself for adding more waste to the vast garbage pile that is the Internet.

So, I won't be subscribing. In fact, I doubt if I ever return to your website.

Thanks for saving me the embarrassment of having your magazine delivered to my door! Oh, and thank you for fueling the extremism and polarization that pollutes the American political discourse. Way to go! December 14, 2010 at 10:30 AM
You could have just said, "Taxes bad, red states good."

You would have saved us all having to read that masturbatory exercise in thickly-veiled propaganda.
An interesting, but strange and unsourced article. Statements such as "New Orleans’s population is increasingly dependent on public assistance" appear to have no basis. For example, in actuality, post-Katrina, the city's population is significantly higher in Hispanics, who notably are not dependent on public assistance.
it was inevitable that mr hanson's excellent overview of the demise of cities in antiquity would fall prey to his reactionary conservatism. perhaps most ironic of all is that in one breath he underscores the necessity of a robust state to dealing with calamity (chile vs. haiti) then with the other he wails about the mythical high earners leaving the state of CA because of its taxes. now i don't expect citiations in a popular article such as this one, but it would be nice to know are the people who "believe" that 2000-3000 high earners are leaving the state per week and whether that's indeed true. considering real economists have evaluated the right wing myth of business flight out of california i expect that its veracity is questionable.

What a crock of Tea-Party fever-dream blather.

I'll leave New York to the the New Yawkers, but the Tea-Brained "bankrupt California" baloney has already been ground-up into baloney burgers by Brett Arends:

"California's a basket case? The state has one of the highest living standards in the country, yet over the past 10 years the economy has still grown much faster, per person, than the national average. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, it's up 15% — compared to 8.9% for the U.S. overall.

It's grown faster than low tax neighbors like Arizona, Utah or New Mexico. It's grown three times faster than Texas.

And this was from 1999 through 2009: In other words from the peak of the dot-com years through the depths of the recession. It managed this growth despite the double blows of the tech and housing busts."

"Back in the Silicon Valley glory days, in the late 1990s, California attracted an incredible 42 cents of every venture capital dollar invested in America. Ah, those were the days — when the private sector was still willing to back California with its own money. As any conservative will tell you, that's the real voting in the economy.

How far has California fallen from those giddy days?

According to the latest data from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, in 2010 California just got a miserable, er, 50 cents of every venture capital dollar invested in America."

"But if you think the lies stop there, think again. Because we haven't even gotten to the biggest of all.

That California "bailout."

There's no such thing.

California bails us out. It has been bailing out the rest of America since, oh, about 1849 — before it even joined the union.

Californians are so productive that every year they send billions of dollars in surplus dollars to the rest of America. Year after year they have sent vastly more in federal taxes than they ever get back in federal spending.

California isn't our Greece, it's our Germany. It isn't Little Orphan Annie. It's Daddy Warbucks.


The conservative-leaning Tax Foundation, which tracks the data, calls this surplus a "fiscal transfer." I call it a bailout.

The numbers are simply staggering. In the quarter century through 2005 (the most recent year for which we have data), Californians bailed out the rest of America to the tune of about $620 billion in today's dollars. In 2005 alone it came to nearly $50 billion.

That is 30 times next year's forecast "budget shortfall" in Sacramento. The only reason California has a budget problem at all is because they have, foolishly, spent so much money subsidizing everyone else.

If it weren't for that, California could cut its state and local taxes by around $1,300 a person. That's a $1,300 tax cut for every man, woman and child. Hmmm. Funny you never read about that anywhere, isn't it?"
This is similar to the Jane Jacobs thesis
Such right-wing alarmism about "capital flight due to high taxes" is crazy. Corporate and wealth individual income taxes are nearly at their lowest point ever. A few points will not cause massive flight to the south-west, a region that is likely to experience some massive contraction as oil prices make their urban form unsustainable.
I can't believe that the financial wizards in the white house 35 years ago did not fore see the potential damage to our economy from large profitable companies outsourcing for quick profit gains. When the main industry of a town terminates it's American employees in many cases it terminates the whole towns work force who were providing goods and services. And then just like a disease it spreads to their competitors in other towns who are now forced to outsource. The demands on tax based services keeps rising with fewer contributors. It's not rocket science. It's a fat ass contest that won't end until the moneys gone and were a third world country. Why not legalize counterfeiting so the little guy can compete?
So you removed the last racist comment but left all the others? Oh, yes, of course. If you removed them also, you'd have to remove all Heather MacDonald's columns.
Substitute Westerners in New York City with people from (name favorite Third World country), add good financial policies, plus NYC's nifty to-die-for location, and--Viola:

East Coast Shangri-la!

Yes, of course, it was the tax system that turned Detroit into a war zone. (Could have happened just as easily to Salt Lake City.) Also, yes, again, so true, it is "corrupt statism" that explains why Haitian mobs have been running around burning 'witches' for causing cholera deaths. Obviously, that Norway does not have corrupt statism has been a tremendous stroke of luck for Norwegian witches.

Not that there isn't some good information in this historical primer, demonstrating admirable scholarship, but it reminds one a bit of Jared Diamond's 'Guns, Germs and Steel.'

This is quite a compliment, since Diamond's book is a Type-A museum quality exhibit of how many words can be creatively and imaginatively generated talking all around the fact that there are deep, no doubt partially genetic differences among the peoples of the earth.

This forbidden thought is almost never actually answered, but simply said, out of hand, to be absurd. At the same time, it sometimes seems, you cannot read about anything in the medical literature, be it the propensity to possess in'y bellybuttons or acquire some deadly allergy to Tang, by the way, once "The drink of astronauts" (and you thought Hanson was the only one with a deep grasp of history), without it being reported that there is probably some genetic component. And yet, humm, no one seems to become the least bit upset.

But, of course, on anything having to do with civilizational accomplishment this thought is--cover your eyes--TABOO!

Evolutionary theorist Stephen Jay Gould at least tried to defend the establishment PC view, but his essays were always a little strangely off-topic, for one thing he was fond of using the tactic of wittily talking about the clumsy genetic science of 100 years ago. Well, what science, by our current standards, was not clumsy a 100 years ago? Or, as E.O. Wilson used to say, Gould was like a squid who would "disappear behind a cloud of ink." Meaning, of course, writer's ink.

As far as Athens and Rome, made up now of considerably different population stocks, yes, they are fine cities, but have those classic civilizations truly come "back"? Come now.
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Border Enforcement + Immigration Moratorium = Job, Crime and Eco Sanity.
I'm sure the racist comments are only allowed by accident. The administrator must be on vacation.

Nonetheless, as jarring as they are, some of them make sense. Maybe I'm a bit of a racist and didn't know it. So what? I'm surrounded by blacks all day, and none of them seem so great as to make me want to become friends with them. They are definitely different, even unattractive, somewhat uncouth, and occasionally disgusting. Being a racist may be the best option in light of the evidence. I don't feel guilty about it at all, but I would get fired from my job if anyone knew about these new feelings.
Thank You! This is an excellent, thoughtful article.
Why is racism repellant? Black on White crimes seems genuinely repellant, because it not only hurts innocent Whites, but it creates all the racism in the White Community.

We are rational racists, and we don't allow anyone to convince us of the lie that evil prejudice poisons us with racist attitudes. We are racists because blacks make us racists. To be White and not a racist means you just aren't paying attention. The harsh realities of race relations just won't allow us to afford believing in the lies like Equality and Diversity Is Our Strength.

Until blacks publically acknowledge their continued refusal to assimilate into Western Civilization and apologized to White Humanity for all they've destroyed, racism will continue to flourish, naturally.

Some blacks do a pretty good job of acting White, but those gains came at too high of a cost in White dispossession to be worth it. We've done too much for blacks, and it's time for them to start asking us to help them get back home to Africa where our God wants them to be.

Join us: Transcend Diversity!
This is a stimulating "think" piece. I lived in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties for many years and witnessed rapid growth due to the influx of peoples from all over (mostly poor people from Mexico and Central America. The California welfare State mentality and fertile soil for radical ideologies such as Mexican revanchist attitudes among Latinos in combination with urban gangs connected (directly and indirectly) to drug cartels ... are, in large part, contributing to the decline of Southern California.

Maybe, the "big one" earthquake expected in California will finish what the Latino Barbarians and "progressives" (Democrats) have done.

I am Latino and a retired social worker in corrections.
After taking an objective look into the complaints of both minorities and whites, I have noticed they both have legitimate racial complaints. These complaints need to be addressed.
Mick Monkey,

Wrong. This country was built by everybody. Much of the back-breaking work was done by the working class - Chinese, African American, ...

Anybody can be a racist, regardless of color. Racism is repellant regardless of who spews it.

You would agree that the SPLC, ADL, NAACP anti-White racist bigots are indeed racist bigots, right? They explicitly advocate for non whites at the expense of White Humanity. Nothing could be more vile and toxic than anti White hate speech.

Whites built this country, and without us, the blacks and browns and yellows and reds would instantly turn it into a filthy cesspool, just like they have many of our once great, formerly majority White cities.

You know it's true. Show me something built by blacks that lasts and wasn't held together with glue paid for by Whites. Show me. Still waiting.

Blacks make racism a part of every conversation. We've learned how from them. Time for us to take back what is ours. We are just using their tried and true tricks. We have more work to do.
We've reached an inflection point in American cities. Racism is the logical, best answer. It works. White survival depends upon it. Racial profiling is the new right thing to do.

If you are a liberal White, many of your life's choice would probably make the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux very proud of you. You live with White people, in White neighborhoods, attend White schools and have White bosses.

Whites are now waking up to the fact that racism has a very natural and healthy basis.

Equality turned out to be lie, and Diversity has never been our strength. Good people are finally admitting what the racists have been saying all along.

City Journal attracts the right wing fascist white guy crowd like flies to sh*t. The racist bigot element rears up given the right fertilizer in the soil.
Ok, so this article is saying cities are a reflection of the people that populate them. People have moved around from the very beginning (even before we had cities) People go where the opportunities are/they vote with their feet. Depending on certain forces of nature, history and government choices will affect the rise and fall of cities. Did you guys read this article? How did racism get into this conversation?
What utter rubbish: geld has never done much for real art! The 'art' that we see now is perverse and thwarted. Damien Hirst,Tracy Emin, all the spots on canvas rubbish of Pollock et al have been reflected on the stage with half-wit, ill-considered drivel. Movies? Forget that avenue!
Poetry is basically obscenity or sentimental goop.
The fact that parts of the USA have been turned into tax farms for the Rockefeller/Rothschild/ Schiff/ Warburg gang is a reflection of the new policy of stealth-wealth rather than growth.
Get rid of fractional lending and see your country flourish and grow in freedom.
All of this goes back to money- the new determining factor 'what will sell'; 'what will appeal to our ineducable youth''what will not upset our PC mandarins'. If you have no better thoughts than these - get a new line of work.
I'm offended by the racist comments here. Even so, my libertarian instincts tell me to be more offended by censorship.

Keep the comments that are posted. Let somebody explain why their racist facts are wrong, instead of just telling them to go away. If we are to combat racism, we can't just combat racists. We must combat their ideas. Argue them point for point, and stop trying to shut them up. That just makes us as bad as they are.
Let Jay go "unburden" his White privilege at the next Diversity and Inclusion seminar. We are free White Men, and we freely tell you the score. Look right, look left, look up, look down, wherever you look, we are there, and we are White Humanity. We are the virtue of respect. Self-respect, inherited birth right of Whiteness. You will find our wisdom stays in your brain and will help you. Read Edmund Burke's insight into the rightness of prejudice. Embrace your Whiteness and become a moral agent for good. Does your company have a Diversity Officer? They are there to make sure that your job promotion goes to a black.

Enjoy...the Diversity...if you can!

No thank you, we'd rather transcend it and all the hideousness that comes with it.

How does Jay even know what Stormfront is, anyway? We think he's secretly on our side.
OK, who posted the link at freaking Stormfront? Geez, racialist white guys, I'm white too, but a grip I have gotten. Suggest you do same. This is a quality journal, and we don't need your kind here. Get lost.
White American, just dang! December 08, 2010 at 12:28 AM
If everyone knows that water will become scarce, why are we importing so many immigrants to help make it more scarce?
Unfortunately, Hanson fails to mention "Peak Oil" bearing down on our civilization; next "Peak Water" that will become our final arbiter. If we continue on our projected addition of 100 million Americans by 2035--a scant 25 years from now--all bets fail. Overpopulation remains THE single greatest issue facing America in the 21st century and the most evaded, avoided, ignored and suppressed. As a 6 continent world traveler, I urge Hanson, McDonald and other great writers to train their considerable quills on human overpopulation. As Paul Ehrlich said, "All causes are lost causes without limiting human population." Frosty Wooldridge
Dr. Hanson,
A great report, chilling in a way, because I make my home here in southern California. 80 years old now, but my family I am ashamed to say, is not informed or seems interested. Most don't know what is happening. Brings to mind the frog in the simmering pot.
I am thrilled and proud of our military which I hope can be placed in leadership in our towns, cities.
The Devil is winning I am afraid to say.
"New York might then become something like contemporary Venice or Florence: a vast museum, its nineteenth- and twentieth-century cultural treasures forever frozen under glass for hordes of ticket-paying summertime gawkers, its money made by displaying the old rather than by creating the new."

White Humanity is so bombarded by messages of "restorative justice" for blacks, "more mandatory holocaust studies" to promote Jewish supremacy, "amnesty" for illegal Mexicans, and "tolerance" for jihadist Muslims, that we are too afraid to create anything new. If we apply our creative genius to solving society's problems, we are then told to "atone for the sins of segregation by holding ourselves accountable to people of color for our unearned White privilege."

Why would I ever want to do something good for a society that tells me my very talent and skill is nothing more than my "burden of White privilege?"

We need an Atlas Shrugged for White Humanity. For starters, all blacks who use White created inventions should be charged a race tax to reimburse us for all the culture and civilization that blacks have destroyed.

White Humanity can no longer afford contributing anything to society and society's institutions. The game is over. Now, everything of ours is scammed away from us. Everything we built is being taken from us by the blacks, Jews, Mexicans, and Muslims. What they aren't taking, our White liberal elites are giving away to them, as long as they get to keep enough for themselves and their children.

White Humanity is nearing our Day of Racial Reckoning, after which nothing will ever be the same. Some will wake up and prepare. The others will be thrown over the wall to their awaiting Equality and Diversity pets.
"Why, following centuries of periodic depopulation and neglect, are Rome and Athens once again capitals, while Leptis Magna and Ephesus—once-thriving imperial powerhouses on the coasts of Libya and Turkey, respectively—are long deserted? "

Let me guess - does having anything to do with liberals and progressives? Seems like every time City Journal turns over a rock, there's another liberal dooming the world.

You talk about California and New York, but you never mention the great red state Texas. With a giant black hole of a budget deficit and one of the worst education systems in the country.
Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, etc., are all toxic cesspools of race mixing and hideous diversity. Whites need to flee.
What could end New York City is the same thing that has and will continue to end modern American cities: racial bigotry and poor governance, which give rise to illiteracy, departure of productive residents and companies, high crime rates and all of the other consequences of the two causes. Exhibit One? Detroit. Exhibit Two? Cleveland. Questions?