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Social engineering in the neighborhood

Social engineering in the neighborhood

Community organizers like to organize communities

As discussed earlier, the Obama administration seeks to transform neighborhoods of privilege by tinkering with their makeup and introducing more diversity, otherwise known as Section 8 housing.

The way the federal camel gets its nose inside the tent is, as usual, through money. What seems like a largess at first almost never is. Not only does the money have to come from somewhere, but the inevitable price is an increase in federal government regulation of our lives. This particular directive would apply to communities that get HUD funds, which is an awful lot of communities (about 1250):

The agency is also looking to root out more subtle forms of discrimination that take shape in local government policies that unintentionally harm minority communities, known as “disparate impact.”…

To qualify for certain funds under the regulations, cities would be required to examine patterns of segregation in neighborhoods and develop plans to address it. Those that don’t could see the funds they use to improve blighted neighborhoods disappear, critics of the rule say…

Critics of the rule say it would allow HUD to assert authority over local zoning laws. The agency could dictate what types of homes are built where and who can live in those homes, said Gosar, who believes local communities should make those decisions for themselves rather than relying on the federal government.

If enacted, the rule could depress property values as cheaper homes crop up in wealthy neighborhoods and raise taxes, Gosar warned.

It could also tilt the balance of political power as more minorities are funneled into Republican-leaning neighborhoods, he suggested.

All of this—all—is a feature, not a bug, in the eyes of the Obama administration. It’s part of the fundamental transformation of America we were promised.

It also somewhat resembles the ill-fated school busing policies first implemented in Boston during the 1970s, although that involved state rather than federal control, and part of the deal in Boston was that not only were black kids bused into mostly-white schools, but white kids (from poor communities—not the rich white kids, who were spared) were also bused into mostly-black schools. The result was havoc in both communities, although the MSM focused on the racism demonstrated by the whites.

Not only were both communities thrown into turmoil, but the end result of forced busing in Boston was the decline of the public school system in the city as a whole. The following is from a report issued in 1998 by Stanford’s Hoover Institution:

[During Boston’s court-ordered busing era] public-school enrollment dropped from 93,000 to 57,000 and the proportion of white students shrank from 65 percent of total enrollment to 28 percent. Seventy-eight school buildings closed their doors, including Roxbury High. Now [in 1998] whites make up 17 percent of public-school students; most of them attend one of the three selective “exam schools” like the Boston Latin School…

Busing was imposed on citizens in the name of racial equality, but few public policies have harmed Boston’s black community more. Roxbury resident Loretta Roach is the chairwoman of the Citywide Educational Coalition, a group that supports public education. Roach bemoans the extent to which busing impedes black parental involvement in the “often faraway schools their children are bused to every morning.” Community support for public schools has also “evaporated since schools are no longer part of their communities. Busing destroyed the neighborhood passion for those schools that previously existed.”

A community is a vital entity. Toy with it at your—and the community’s residents’—peril. Tearing it asunder and spreading the members of the community throughout the city may seem like a solution to one problem, but it can cause others.

The city of Memphis is another place that seems to have discovered this, according to a 2008 article that appeared in The Atlantic. It described the results of a housing program somewhat similar to the one currently proposed by Obama:

…[It was] one of the city government’s most ambitious initiatives: the demolition of the city’s public-housing projects, as part of a nationwide experiment to free the poor from the destructive effects of concentrated poverty. Memphis demolished its first project in 1997. The city gave former residents federal “Section8” rent-subsidy vouchers and encouraged them to move out to new neighborhoods. Two more waves of demolition followed over the next nine years, dispersing tens of thousands of poor people into the wider metro community.

But things didn’t go as planned. Researchers were aghast to discover that crime soared in the new neighborhoods. What’s more, in other studies of similar programs in other communities, researchers found additional sobering results. In a federal study in which people were moved to low-poverty neighborhoods, researcher Susan Popkin of the Urban Institute observed:

It has not lived up to its promise. It has not lifted people out of poverty, it has not made them self-sufficient, and it has left a lot of people behind.

And note this observation by housing researcher Ed Goetz of the University of Minnesota, who created a database on similar studies. He says that the people who have moved to the new neighborhoods:

… don’t consistently report any health, education, or employment benefits…[and they] feel “a sense of isolation in their new communities.” His most surprising finding, he says, “is that they miss the old community. For all of its faults, there was a tight network that existed. So what I’m trying to figure out is: Was this a bad theory of poverty?

Sound familiar? And yet these findings don’t seem to have deterred the Obama administration at all.

How many Americans are even aware of the current HUD plan? How much coverage is it getting from the MSM? I haven’t seen much, except from the right, although Republicans in the House have not been idle on the subject:

Republicans are trying to block the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. Before passing HUD’s funding bill this week, the GOP-led House approved Gosar’s amendment prohibiting the agency from following through with the rule.

That’s good as far as it goes. But the Senate will need to join the House in the prohibition—and then of course there’s the problem of enforcing the amendment if the administration and HUD decide to defy Congress and follow through with the plan anyway.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]

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Comments

LukeHandCool | June 14, 2015 at 4:51 pm

There seems to be an almost perfectly inverse relationship between planners’ loftiest intentions and their most disastrous results.

In my master’s program in landscape architecture, which focused on large-site and regional planning, I lost faith in many of my professors.

During one seminar held by a delusional utopian planner of a professor, during a module on principles of planning cities, I said to the professor (paraphrasing) “But with these principles and guidelines, Venice, Paris, Tokyo, and any number of great and unique cities would never have been built, right? We’d be stuck with millions of boring, homogenized cities throughout the world.”

He couldn’t really answer my question. But he never liked my questions whether they were about planning, design, or the economics involved. He and others like him not only didn’t like these questions, it seemed they’d never pondered challenges to their deeply held assumptions.

Let’s play “Just Imagine”… the game where you imagine the Republicans attempting to do what the Democrats do.

Let’s Imagine the Republicans put together a plan to break up the Black Communities… sundering the ties that have created the unique blah blah blah… forcing them to move into more ‘proper’ neighborhoods, in the hopes that they would take on more of the ‘proper’ culture…

Just Imagine…

I’m pretty sure the United Nations would step in, claiming some kind of cultural war crime!

Moving people around like pieces of plastic on a game-board is just too great a temptation for the Collective. To them, we all are just subjects to be toyed with in their newest passion. The “bright’s” newest craze.

To them, the idea of “communities” as expressions of free association have no more value than “markets” as organic expressions of free will. They loath both concepts. They LIKE compulsion expressing their values.

But, bad as that is, it is only a PART of their plan. A larger part is taxing (openly or covertly) those of us who live in the ‘burbs or rural areas for two allied reasons…

1. to transfer wealth into the central cities, and

2. to drive us into the central city, as well.

Look for moves very soon to make owning and driving a personal vehicle VERY expensive in every possible way.

    nordic_prince in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    The whole scheme reminds me of Sim City, which I thought was a stupid game to begin with. These idjits want to bring it to life ~

    Midwest Rhino in reply to Ragspierre. | June 14, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    “for the Collective. To them, we all are just subjects to be toyed with in their newest passion. The “bright’s” newest craze.”

    No No No , what have you done to the Rags I know and admire?

    They are not toying with us, they want to defeat us. Black liberation theology makes capitalist America the evil white devil. Obama may not be purely that, but he doesn’t want Trayvon/Brown New Black Panthers to be like us. Do you believe for a second that Obama wants to make the ghetto punks learn to be productive capitalists, with Christian virtues?

    Marxist commie Obama sees successful Christian America as his enemy. He is not moving his “troops” in to learn, but to overwhelm and confiscate, to steal, and to destroy.

    Or that’s how I see it.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Ragspierre. | June 15, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    RE: “Moving people around like pieces of plastic on a game-board is just too great a temptation for the Collective.”

    You got it.

    It’s because these “control freaks” can’t control themselves.

Greg Toombs | June 14, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Yet another reason not to move into a city. Come for the hipster diversity and the cool coffee shops, stay for the high taxes, poor schools, crime, violence and corruption. Now, add this social engineering from central planning. Just perfect.

It’s hard not to think that the true purpose of this is to convince the wealthy to move out of the cities entirely and leave them to the “underprivileged.”

Reynolds’ Law would seem to apply here:

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

Simply picking up the citizens of “blighted communities” and plunking them into the middle of safe, settled, prosperous middle-class “utopia” is not going to give those citizens the kinds of traits that tend to draw other people to safe, settled, prosperous middle-class neighborhoods and give them the means to stay there and thrive.

It might be pretty to think that it would be as easy as that; but it’s not, and never has been.

    Ragspierre in reply to Amy in FL. | June 14, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    I bought a rebuilt mower from a guy a year or two back.

    Black guy, high-school grad, plant-worker down near Houston, foreman on his shift. Married to a nurse, with several kids, a couple of whom I met. He tinkered with used mowers for extra money, and the family hobby was ATVing, supported by their RV and a custom trailer he’d built.

    I’d be delighted to have that man and his family as my neighbors. Well, if I could keep up…

    nordic_prince in reply to Amy in FL. | June 14, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    People perpetually confuse correlation and causation. That’s how we wind up with inane ideas like “Let’s mandate that all 8th graders take algebra; then that will make them college material.”

    Life doesn’t work like that ~

      And (supposedly) rising global average temperatures correlate with rising CO2 levels. Oh look! A magic knob that we can turn, through the wonders of social engineering, to save the planet! Who wouldn’t want to save the planet?

      Reductionist “science” high-jacked by progressive pols… it’ll bite society square in the arse every time.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to Amy in FL. | June 14, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    I agree Amy, it undermines it. For one thing, all communities have success stories, and they are needed for building the community. The black guy that fixes lawnmowers on the side is an example to his neighbors, a community leader. He has a myriad of other attachments to his community, some economic, some religious, some various other organic connections.

    To force “growth”/relocation by skin color undermines these organic developments. It only builds animosities and chaos. So called “race” is only one element of social structure, but it is often tied to many others. Forced destruction of natural associations for political ends only builds animosity and strife, only for the profit of the politician.

    New Orleans has Cajun, black, mixed, several cultures … many like to hang together with “their own”. Not wrong at all. A forced mixing would be evil. They happily mix in the streets at Mardi Gras, but shouldn’t have their neighborhoods shuffled like a deck of cards. Government assigned neighbors based on race? That would be time for war, with very precision minded targets.

“Republicans are trying to block the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule.”

Trying? TRYING? That’s it?

Community organizers get to organize, because the morons hogging the leadership positions of the GOP do not know how to reach anyone except Sheldon Adelson.

MouseTheLuckyDog | June 15, 2015 at 1:53 am

There may be some value to the government helping people up one social strata. But that’s it. Anymore and you are doing more harm than good.

    There may be some value to the government helping people up one social strata.

    What value would that be?

    Given that it pretty much demeans and devalues all those who, through hard work and self-discipline, managed to make that step up on their own?

    I’m all for local communities and faith-based groups giving a helping hand to the “less fortunate,” assisting them in acquiring and honing the skills and accomplishments that will allow them to take themselves up that next step. One of the groups I volunteer with does exactly that, and we’ve had a few heartwarming “wins” (along with not a few heartbreaking losses).

    But the government’s form of “helping” usually consists of confiscating money out of complete strangers’ paychecks, and using it to give other people “free stuff” and advantages they have done nothing to earn, and therefore (a) don’t value, and (b) can’t maintain, because they never had to acquire the skills/traits to get it in the first place.

    There’s no value to that, no value to anyone.

      Ragspierre in reply to Amy in FL. | June 15, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Another feature I’ve noticed to my disgust of all forms of government welfare is the utter contempt exhibited by most of the slugs who dole out the largess of other people’s money.

      They can be the same race, and it doesn’t matter one whit. They tend to treat the people they are supposed to be helping like hammered dog doo.

Entropy tells us that it is far easier to destroy than it is to create. What idiot would believe that taking poor black families complete with all the problems they have can be moved into affluent neighborhoods and that the neighborhoods will cause the poor black families to rise up in their social, educational, and behavioral levels? Reality has shown us time and time again that when the poor move into affluent neighborhoods, it is the neighborhood that sinks to the level of the poor, not the other way around. For Obama to propose this as a solution and for people to agree with it only serves to show how so many remain incapable of learning from past mistakes and behaviors. Obama and his minions are so wrapped up in the blame game that they readily believe their own twisted and avarice ridden theories despite a preponderance of evidence to the contrary.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Cleetus. | June 15, 2015 at 10:16 am

    It’s Obama. You have to ignore his stated goals and intentions and look for the real plan behind them. This is, among other hidden goals, a plan to keep minorities voting Democrat. They’ll talk this plan up if it catches fire in the media and among blacks, but they will never enact it. Sort of how Obama has suckered hispanics for eight years running.

      Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 15, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Can we just stuff Obama, Michelle and all the other Democrats in a plane on a one-way trip to North Korea? I mean North Korea and Washington D.C. could use the “neighborhood diversity” the most in the universe!!!!!!!!!!

In Minneapolis, 30-40 years ago, a high-rise building was built near downtown. The idea was that the upper floors were to be for the very well to do, and as you moved down the building, you got more affordable housing. It was to be a mixing bowl of society. Location between the U of MN campus and downtown, easy access to either. Even in socially liberal Minneapolis, it failed in it’s designed purpose. None of the affluent wanted to take the more expensive apartments, and they had the money to live where they chose. Now it is an all affordable housing building and the center of the Somali community.

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