Sunday, November 18, 2012

The 'urban cocoon' and the delusions of Democrats

Princeton Professor Robert J. Vanderbei has updated the red-blue map of America for the 2012 election:

Looked at by area, the blue portion is only a tiny fraction of the US.  This is deceptive because the blue (Democrat) area represents about half the population.  By area, it appears small only because Democrats mostly live in high-density urban areas.

So, why are urban areas so overwhelmingly Democratic?  Writing in Forbes, Mark Hendrickson examines (hat tip: Instapundit) this issue:
One obvious explanation for the overwhelming Democratic majorities in big cities is the Curley effect with the corresponding concentration of Democratic constituencies like welfare recipients and unions, but there is more to it than that. The Curley effect has turned once-vibrant cities into economic basket cases, but what, then, can explain the perennial dominance of Democrats in such thriving, prosperous cities as Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco? Why do affluent, white-collar, highly educated citizens in these cities tend to be liberal and vote Democratic?

Sociologists could have a field day with this question, but the explanation could be something as simple as the fact that people who live in cities are relatively insulated from how difficult and challenging it can be to produce the food, energy, equipment, devices, etc., that comprise the affluence that urbanites enjoy. In their urban cocoons, city-dwellers take for granted the abundance and availability of the economic goods that they consume.
I think that he is on to something here.  It is easy for city dwellers to live isolated lives.  Renters in a big city such as New York, for example, likely have never met a landlord personally, let alone had a chance to listen seriously to him talk about the difficulty of doing business in the city.  If the only people one knows are renters, one might easily think that "rent control" was a good idea.

For conservatives/libertarians, the key challenge is finding an effective method for combating the popular delusions of urban dwellers.

 PREVIOUSLY on Democrats and their childlike delusions:
Democrats "stand up" to imaginary bullies
A Democrat's inner child
Obama's childlike view of the world
CNN: Thinking of states like they are the federal Gov.'s children
Soldier objects to liberal infantilization: we are not your "sons and daughters"
Seeing the US president as your father
US Government as "parent"
Economic policy by analogy to "standing up" to a bully
Thinking of an industry as an overindulged "child"
Dr. Helen Smith on Democrats and their lack of good father figures

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