Thoughts on the Left’s war on suburbia, from Lileks.
As with so many things, it’s all about people having the freedom to make their own choices. Freedom of choice is, or at least should be, more than just about abortion. Some people love to live in cities. Go right ahead. For others, living in a city is something they’d hate so they live in the suburbs or even rural areas. Good for them. Who am I to try to dictate how other people should live?
Unfortunately, not enough people ask themselves that last question. They try to dictate where people can live, what they eat, what they can drive, what they “need” and what they should believe. To those people, get over yourself. As the old song lyric goes, “You can’t even run your own life. I’ll be damned if you’ll run mine.”
Larry, I think we’ve already had the “get over yourself” stage. Right now, I’d say we’re well into the “you’d better knock it the hell off before I pop you one” stage.
Some people seem to believe that if you make a choice different from what they want, it’s somehow an insult. How dare you considrer your own circumstances and preferences to come up with a different decision! It’s like you’re saying their decision was wrong.
I have lived in Madison, WI for over 30 years. We have long had it all — “walkable” neighborhoods and ample parking at shopping (at work that is a longer story).
The past, say, 10 years, there has been this movement to take our Midwestern sensible roads and shopping centers with parking and turn it into Lilek’s not-quite-got-it-right suburbia of the East.
Dunno, the theory is to make traffic and parking more congested to make us a simulation of those other places.
Like the “U” sold this shopping center property that had great pedestrian and vehicular access, a place where you could actually buy stuff. The new owner is this investment group out of Chicago that the newspapers report as chronically one step ahead of loan foreclosure, and they have turned this place into this boutique-ee trendy congested mess, all with the blessing of City Hall for following all the New Urbanism . . . stuff. They now have these “green space” strips that gum up the parking, making it a chaotic mess where you can’t drive, and you can’t safely walk either for all the cars dodging the “yield to pedestrians” signs in the middle of the roadways.
we recently moved away from Raleigh, NC, to a much more rural county, but within driving distance for my wife’s job, in downtown Raleigh. The area we left is the same area my wife lived in from 6 y/o until we were married. After we were married, we lived in that area for the majority of our 39 years together.
But the area has changed.
It was just the suburbs of Raleigh. In fact when my wife’s folks bought their house, it was a mile outside the city limits, it is now over a mile inside. Now it’s all about greenways, side walk available parks, and [physically shuddering he said] they’ve taken a number of traffic lights OUT near the NCSU Campus area, and put in European style round-a-bouts. At least twice a year the city and the county start shouting light rail, light rail, light rail, hoping, I think, that like chanting ‘Beetljuice’ three times made Michael Keaton pop up, the rail system would magically appear.
They’ve taken a nice little capitol city / college town, turned it into a thriving, southern technical business center, and now they long for ‘the good old days’. And many people say that those of us who leave are ‘traitors’ or malcontents, because we sought something different than what THEY see as ideal. So I guess the moral of the story is that you don’t have to live in D.C. or Philly or Chicago or Whereverville, to hear The City vs The Burbs conversations.
But if these places are SO damned great, then WHY are they always knocking something down to build something ‘better’, ‘faster’ or ‘more appealing’.
The truth, which Mr. Lileks must surely know but is too polite to say out loud, is that these wonderful neighborhoods were destroyed by the “civil rights” laws passed in the 1950s and 1960s. The loss of our freedom of association has been catastrophic for America’s cities and the people who live in them.
In general, people of all races prefer to live among their own kind. This may not be a pleasant fact, but it is a fact nonetheless, and any law that goes against the facts of reality is a bad law. By preventing people from preserving the ethnic and racial character of their neighborhoods, the laws against restrictive covenants — however well-meant — have destroyed those selfsame neighborhoods.
Detroit was once a segregated city. White people in Detroit preferred to live in all-white neighborhoods, and the laws reflected that desire. Once those laws were overturned, the city was desegregated. And what was the result? The destruction of Detroit. Oh, the city is still there, but the people who lived there are gone. Where did they go? Outward, away. What did they do? They rebuilt “Detroit”, complete with all-white neighborhoods. Oh, they call it something else now, but it is nothing but White Detroit. Why did they do it? Because whites still prefer to live in all-white neighborhoods. And why is that? Look at Detroit today and you will know why.
And the same is true all over America.
We must accept the world as it is, not try to force it to fit our wishes. We wished for a world where Americans could live in peace with people of all races. As it is, in the real world, our fifty-year experiment in forced racial integration has been a failure. It has ruined our cities and brought misery to Americans of all races. If we are honest, we must admit that those idyllic neighborhoods of the past were wonderful because of segregation, not in spite of it.
Why can’t we just admit this? Why must we continue to play pretend when it comes to race in America?
Well said, and I agree.
Ayn Rand said, “Freedom of association includes the freedom not to associate.”
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