An anonymous iSteve commenter has some challenging questions:
These sorts of laments for a lost sense of community are a feature of every lachrymose gentrification piece I’ve read in the last two years. I can’t blame them. How are you supposed to talk to your new neighbours about movies? How many hipster yuppies do you think have absorbed Tyler Perry’s oeuvre? Maybe there’s a buck to be had for an enterprising black studies grad. They can produce integration self-study kits(complete with flashcards) that bring newly-arrived whites up to speed with urban black culture so that the area’s remaining traditional population need not feel like strangers in their own land. The slogan could be “When ‘I voted for Obama twice’ just won’t cut it anymore”.
Similar mourning for a sense of lost community also comes up in aged gay writers’ accounts of their youth in now gentrified gay villages. “Don’t you snotty straight twenty-somethings know that this used to be the best leather bar west of the Mississippi?” and such. In a sane world the decline of the gay village would be viewed as a positive development, with the lesser need for such neighbourhoods being indicative of society’s acceptance of the gay lifestyle.
I wonder if any serious economist has tried to quantify the premium in terms of housing costs that various groups will pay to achieve that sense of communal belonging. During this past year’s bruhaha regarding Asian over-achievement in competitive NYC high school entrance exams, a number of people brought up the fact that many of these Asian kids are living below the poverty line or close to it. One assumes that their immigrant parents’ meager wages would go further outside of NYC city limits. How much more per month is your average Chinese immigrant in New York willing to pay so that they can enjoy the familiarity of Queens?
In a similar vein, given that the populations of virtually every historically white country are being told that anything less than replacement level immigration level will make them poorer, a curious economist might ask:
a)How much poorer?
b)Would the indigenous white populations of said countries be willing to accept being that much poorer if they knew that in exchange they could live in communities that they actually recognized and understood? You know, kind of like how that Chinese immigrant accepts that he’ll have lower savings in exchange for living in Flushing with people who talk, eat and think like him?
Of course, that would mean giving whites a choice in how their country is run, which would be thoroughly undemocratic by the standards of 2018(I’ve actually had white relatives with graduate degrees tell me this to my face). Whites can have plenty of choices. They can decide who to vote for on Dancing With the Stars, what the starting lineup of their favourite sports team should be or what they want to watch on Netflix. The more educated ones can think about whether it’s really time to stop playing Baby, It’s Cold Outside. The really heterodox edgelords among them can hang around Quillette and discuss the various threats to free speech, while only asking the least important questions that true freedom of speech would allow.
A citizen of a democracy in 2018 has no shortage of choices. On the contrary, he has more choices and controversies than he can handle, each framed and designed to earn his click or retweet and absorb ten minutes of his time before he goes on to another, thoroughly convinced that his voice has been heard. The end result of this surfeit of choices is to convince the average person that his choices matter. The ones he does have are portrayed as the most pressing issues of their time, but in reality he’s like a man who eats nothing but cotton candy. In the end he drops dead for lack of substance.
A meaningful set of questions that a serious country might give its people would be something like:
1)Do you want to turn over the state that your ancestors spent centuries worth of blood sweat and tears building to people who are utterly indifferent to that heritage at best and outright hostile to it at worst? To people whose first principles exist in opposition to your own? To people who think that it’s the duty of the native population to adapt to the immigrants rather than the other way around?
2)What are the unifying principles of the post-national state going to be? How will its diverse peoples smooth over differences of opinion and forge forward in building the future? What will unite them in times of poverty and famine, and keep the state from fracturing along ethnic lines, as many multi-ethnic states have in times of trouble? What will get two people who have no ethnic, religious or ideological commonalities beyond “Diversity is our strength” into a foxhole together to defend against an enemy that threatens the post-national state?(As an aside, most liberals in 2018 confirm the enduring bonds of ethnicity whenever they bitch about having to go to Christmas or Thanksgiving with their MAGA uncle. They put up with it because people will tolerate things from their family that they would never put up with from anyone else, and ethnicity is basically a big extended family)
3)Do you want to leave for your descendants a future where they live as a despised minority, with their continued existence totally at the mercy of a majority who are conditioned from birth to believe that every misfortune or inconvenience they experience is ultimately the work of whites?
4)Do you really believe that you have the right to make such a choice for future generations?
5)If you answered yes to #3 and #4, can you think of any particular group who lived like that in the past, and if so, how did that work out for them in the long run?