Unintended Consequences

eric-holder-hated-by-gop-4x3One of the many unintended consequences of the political crusade for increased homeownership among minorities, and low-income people in general, has been a housing boom and bust that left many foreclosed homes that had to be rented, because there were no longer enough qualified buyers.

The repercussions did not stop there. Many homeowners have discovered that when renters replace homeowners as their neighbors, the neighborhood as a whole can suffer.

The physical upkeep of the neighborhood, on which everyone’s home values depend, tends to decline. “Who’s going to paint the outside of a rented house?” one resident was quoted as saying in a recent New York Times story.

Renters also tend to be of a lower socioeconomic level than homeowners. They are also less likely to join neighborhood groups, including neighborhood watches to keep an eye out for crime. In some cases, renters have introduced unsavory or illegal activities into family-oriented communities of homeowners that had not had such activities before.

None of this should be surprising. Individuals and groups of all sorts have always differed from one another in many ways, throughout centuries of history and in countries around the world. Left to themselves, people tend to sort themselves out into communities of like-minded neighbors.

This has been so obvious that only the intelligentsia could misconstrue it — and only ideologues could devote themselves to crusading against people’s efforts to live and associate with other people who share their values and habits.

Quite aside from the question of whose values and habits may be better is the question of the effects of people living cheek by jowl with other people who put very different values on noise, politeness, education and other things that make for good or bad relations between neighbors. People with children to protect are especially concerned about who lives next door or down the street.

But such mundane matters often get brushed aside by ideological crusaders out to change the world to fit their own vision.

When the world fails to conform to their vision, then it seems obvious to the ideologues that it is the world that is wrong, not that their vision is uninformed or unrealistic.

One of the political consequences of such attitudes is the current crusade of Attorney General Eric Holder to force various communities to become more “inclusive” in terms of which races and classes of people they contain.

Undaunted by a long history of disasters when third parties try to mix and match people, or prescribe what kind of housing is best, they act as if this time it has to work.

It doesn’t matter how many government housing projects that began with lofty rhetoric and heady visions have ended with these expensive projects being demolished with explosives, in the wake of social catastrophes that made these places unlivable.

To those with the crusading mentality, failure only means that they should try, try again — at other people’s expense, including not only the taxpayers but also those who lives have been disrupted, or even made miserable and dangerous, by previous bright ideas of third parties who pay no price for being wrong.

This headstrong dogmatism and grab for power is not confined to housing. Attorney General Holder is also taking legal action against the state of Louisiana for having so many charter schools, on grounds that these schools do not mix and match the races the way that public schools are supposed to.

The fact that those charter schools which are successful in educating low-income and minority students that the public schools fail to educate are giving these youngsters a shot at a decent life that they are not likely to get elsewhere does not deter the ideological crusaders.

Nor does it deter the politicians who are serving the interests of the teachers’ unions, who see public schools as places to provide jobs for their members, even if that means a poor education and poor prospects in life for generations of minority students.

All this ideological self-indulgence and cynical political activity is washed down with lofty rhetoric about “compassion,” “inclusion” and the like.

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  • truebearing

    Very well said!
    One has to wonder whether the goal of Holder and his ilk is to improve some people’s lives or punish those he hates. I’m convinced it is the latter, based on his record.
    Why does the Left always assume that “inclusion” is popular with anyone? Whites and blacks alike hated bussing. People tend to be most comfortable with those they are most like, so why force culture clash when there isn’t any evidence that it will accomplish anything? It may simply be the Left’s uncontrollable need to exercise power — arbitrarily. It is Procrusteanism.

    • seewithyourowneyes

      For a delicious taste of the hypocrisy of the Left, check out the co-ops of Manhattan’s West Side. Decades ago, those beautiful buildings were run-down and drug-infested. When various professors and Leftists began to gentrify them, their gentrification efforts were stymied by the very same liberal programs they themselves supported! One single double-handicapped ( ie. mental disorder + addiction) tenant could drive out all the other tenants and drive the price of the building to 0. So what did the Leftists do? They invented the co-op, where all apartment owners own a share of the entire building – therefore, all apartment owners may screen future apartment owners. Because there’s nothing discriminatory about being choosy about your co-owners.

  • cxt

    Excellent read–and as common sense seems to be in short supply in the current administration, perhaps I should forward this to them. ;)
    Nah, they wouldn’t read it and the economic argument proffered by Professor Sowell would not be understood.
    Mores the pity.

  • Aizino Smith

    There are about 100,000 interracial marriage a year. Some fail to be sure. Point is that integration happens naturally. It should not be “Make it so” type action from on high. That works on Star Trek. But notice the Enterprise is a ship, a warship and not a nation.

    Integration will happen when people make their own choice about a prospective spouse being good enough looking, makes enough money, etc. No law need to be passed. Education is definitely the place to start. Charter schools are usually the ones that work best. Then wait 1 or 2 generations. Problem solved.

    That is if some Democrat does not come and try to kill charter schools and hurt black school children.

  • seewithyourowneyes

    Although it is a little slow, capitalism itself is the cure for racism. Ask yourself, could any all-white football or basketball team compete in today’s market? Could a new Silicon Valley succeed if it barred Asians and Jews? Reality is what wins in the end – and capitalism is far better at discovering reality than any totalitarian system.

  • KatieNorcross

    When Black folk move into a White neighborhood, the White people fly as fast as possible to a new White neighborhood. Now how do they stop White Flight?

    • bluffcreek1967

      Yes, and they fly right out of those same neighborhoods because, given time, they will turn into another version of Detroit or Oakland. What soft-minded people don’t realize is that whites flee not because of the color of black skin, but because of black deviancy and because so many of them have a habit of turning perfectly good communities into dumpster trash.


    • Softly Bob

      Population relocation and forced changes in geographical demographics are typical traits of totalitarian states.

      Hitler moved populations of ethnic Germans from and to various parts of Europe. He moved some groups of Jews out of Germany and into Poland. Stalin also relocated people to different parts of Russia according to their creed or ethnicity.

      The Democrats are experimenting with similar techniques. It wouldn’t surprise me if they eventually try to ban White Flight by making it illegal or economically impossible for this to occur, or by forcing Whites to move into Black areas.

      • Johnnnyboy

        What they have currently fostered is an animosity against white people that is so intense that whites would be unlikely to live through moving into the ‘hood’.

    • seewithyourowneyes

      I think we should have more respect for “black folk.” White people do not possess some magic power that rubs off on others nearest them. The real advantage to black flight from barbaric neighborhoods is not that they get to live next to white people, but that they get to escape the criminal element from their old neighborhoods. What we need in this nation is more segregation – not the forced segregation of the races, but the segregation of the upwardly-mobile poor from the violent poor who are dragging them down. I wish there were more conservative activism on this issue. For 50 years now the Progressives have only made things worse. – – And since schools are a corollary of neighborhood, I can’t resist adding that our schools are no longer teaching kids how to succeed in a capitalist system; they are teaching kids how to tear down the capitalist system. Obama mentor and convicted domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, designed the “small school” program that is now fed to minorities. Bear in mind that Bill Ayers once expressed his admiration for Charlie Manson, whose ultimate goal was to start a race war in order to overthrow the capitalist system. No wonder kids can’t read; they’re too busy learning to hate America.