Editor’s note: The following is the first in a series of articles that will center on the Frontpage motto: “Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out.” Each piece will examine recent examples of leftist overreach and expose the totalitarian mindset animating these excesses.
A policy at least two years in the making, and President Obama’s broadest attempt to fundamentally transform the United States of America, is moving forward. Unveiled in July of 2013 at the NAACP convention, a plan known as “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) will require the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to gather data on segregation and discrimination in every neighborhood in America and attempt to “fix” these alleged problems. The move little more than social engineering on steroids, giving further credence to the slogan emblazoned on the Frontpage Magazine masthead: “Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out.”
The final regulations are due out this month and HUD is pitching them as a plan to “diversify” America. “HUD is working with communities across the country to fulfill the promise of equal opportunity for all,” a spokeswoman for the agency explained. “The proposed policy seeks to break down barriers to access to opportunity in communities supported by HUD funds.”
The effort calls for HUD to set aside taxpayer funds to upgrade poorer communities with amenities such as better schools, parks, libraries, grocery stores and transportation routes as a means of gentrifying those communities. It also calls for using grant money to build affordable housing in wealthy neighborhoods. Ultimately however, as it is with virtually every facet of the leftist agenda, it’s a naked power grab: the Obama administration is holding certain housing funds hostage to a city’s efforts to determine patterns of segregation in various neighborhoods and submit plans to address those patterns. Cities that refuse to do so would have funds used to improve blighted areas withheld.
This is nothing less than the despotic attempt to overrule the zoning laws of more than 1,200 local city governments. Even more insidiously, HUD is attempting to get those governments to “discover” subtler and unintentional forms of harm they inflict on minority communities, using the “disparate impact” theory as their club to achieve that objective. Under Title VII of the Civl Rights Act of 1964, one is prohibited from using a facially neutral practice “that has an unjustified adverse impact on members of a protected class. A facially neutral employment practice is one that does not appear to be discriminatory on its face; rather it is one that is discriminatory in its application or effect,” the law states.
There may be no greater triumph with regard to the left’s totalitarian instincts than the notion that there are “protected classes” of Americans who can force other Americans to accommodate them, absent any proof of harm. One is left to wonder if leftists would be equally sanguine with white Americans suing minority-dominated professional sports teams for minority “over-representation” on the playing field, an outcome that produces an adverse impact on white athletes. Moreover, it will be utterly fascinating to see how a lawsuit leveled against Harvard by Asian-Americans, who have alleged they have a higher bar for enrollment than other ethnicities, proceeds. The irony here is that there might be completing clams of disparate impact: if more adversely affected Asians are enrolled, there may be less places for Hispanics and black Americans—who will then be adversely affected.
Back in the housing realm, HUD also insists it is obligated to take action based on the Fair Housing Act of 1968 that prohibited direct and intentional housing discrimination. Examples of such discrimination include a real estate agent not showing black families homes in wealthy neighborhoods, or banks refusing to provide mortgage loans based on someone’s race.
Leftist civil rights advocates who invariably worship at the altar of greater government control are thrilled, insisting decades of housing policy have “trapped” poor people in bad neighborhoods, depriving them of better lives. “This rule is not about forcing anyone to live anywhere they don’t want to,” said Margery Turner, senior vice president of the left-leaning Urban Institute. “It’s really about addressing long-standing practices that prevent people from living where they want to.” She further insisted that poor people growing up in bad communities have less chance of succeeding in life because they have less access to better schools and health facilities, and far greater exposure to crime and violence. “Segregation is clearly a problem that is blocking upward mobility for children growing up today,” she added.
Unsurprisingly, Turner fails to mention the billions of dollars poured into Democrat-controlled inner cities where Democrat politicians in collaboration with Democrat-leaning school unions have destroyed the educational opportunities or millions of racial minority children. Nor does she mention the genesis of that crime and violence, namely the residents of those communities themselves.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) isn’t buying the administration’s pitch. “As the president reaches the end of his second term, he has made it clear that his top priorities during his waning days are furthering his far-left political agenda by forcing big government programs on the American people,” he said in a statement. “His new AFFH regulation is one of the most far-reaching attempts yet to punish communities that don’t submit to the president’s liberal ideology. American citizens and communities should be free to choose where they would like to live and not be subject to federal neighborhood engineering at the behest of an overreaching federal government.”
Gosar put forth a measure aimed at preventing HUD from implementing AFFH. Last Wednesday the House voted 229-193 in favor of Gosar’s amendment to the Transportation Housing and Urban Development Bill (THUD) preventing HUD from implementing the AFFH regulation. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is up to Republicans to block it. Should they fail to do so, the issue is likely to become a significant part of the 2016 presidential campaign, emphasized by the reality that HUD Secretary Julian Castro has been touted as a likely running mate for Hillary Clinton, who will undoubtedly support the measure.
And why not? The other agenda here is what has always been the ultimate agenda for Democrats: expanding their control of as many aspects of American lives as possible. Much like their affinity for illegal immigration and a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens who would overwhelmingly vote for their party, Democrats envision making inroads into wealthier and more Republican-leaning districts. And naturally, anyone who resists their power-hungry agenda draped in compassion will be labeled racist for doing so.
National Review’s Stanley Kurtz reveals another equally contemptible part of the overall plan for control. “It is part of a broader suite of initiatives designed to block suburban development, press Americans into hyper-dense cities, and force us out of our cars,” he writes. “Government-mandated ethnic and racial diversification plays a role in this scheme, yet the broader goal is forced ‘economic integration.’ The ultimate vision is to make all neighborhoods more or less alike, turning traditional cities into ultra-dense Manhattans, while making suburbs look more like cities do now. In this centrally-planned utopia, steadily increasing numbers will live cheek-by-jowl in ‘stack and pack’ high-rises close to public transportation, while automobiles fall into relative disuse.”
In other words, Obama and his fellow leftists are intent on imposing their equally oppressive global warming agenda on the nation in true progressive fashion: by any and all means necessary. San Francisco is ahead of the curve in this regard having been awarded a “Sustainable Communities Grant” by the administration in 2012, one that will considerably densify the region with an effort called the Plan Bay Area. And in keeping with leftist sensibilities, it is a plan being implemented by political power brokers, absent any input by the voting public. “Replicating Plan Bay Area nationwide is the Obama administration’s goal,” Kurtz warns.
Still another part of the administration’s agenda is one that has always set leftist hearts a-flutter: radical egalitarianism. The first part of the plan to improve existing bad neighborhoods is largely unrealistic. Witness, for example, the burning and looting of businesses in Baltimore and its subsequent justification by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, suggesting poverty is about far more than location.
Yet the second aspect of the plan is far worse. As ever, progressives couldn’t care less if equality requires the decimation of property values, an increase in crime and the destruction of a neighborhood’s character. Equality, even if it is equality of misery, is all that matters. Equality of misery enforced by the heavy hand of government.
“Instead of living with neighbors you like and choose, this breaks up the core fabric of how we start to look at communities,” Gosar explains. “That just brings unease to everyone in that area. People have to feel comfortable where they live. If I don’t feel comfortable in my own backyard, where do I feel comfortable?”
If the left gets its way, the answer is nowhere. Moreover, one of the primary incentives for people of all races, namely to better their “lot” in life, both figuratively and literally, will be tossed on the ash heap of history. For our totalitarian-minded community organizer masquerading as president, a level of control as all-encompassing as this is the stuff of dreams. No community in America will be beyond the reach of would-be, federal government enforcers. For Americans who believe the fruits of ambition, skill and determination must be earned — rather than simply bestowed by government fiat — it is the stuff of nightmares.
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