May 11, 2013

"Crunchy Cons took a pretty hard line against suburban living..."

Rod Dreher, reconsiders suburbia

"Crunchy Cons: The New Conservative Counterculture and Its Return to Roots" is the name of a book he wrote, back in 2006. As the italics indicate, the quote above refers to what he said in his book, not what the people he labeled "crunchy" did — at least not directly.

In his new article, Dreher describes himself "someone who used to live in big cities, and who now lives in a small town [and therefore] more understanding of why someone with a family would choose to live in the suburbs." The same old reasons people move to the suburbs affected him and his family, so now he sees the point.
While I still believe there are serious objections to the way our suburbs are designed, and ways to design them to be more aesthetically pleasing and human-scaled, I appreciate very much Keith Miller’s critique, and how he urges us to think about whether we are not simply baptizing and moralizing aesthetic preferences. Don’t get me wrong: I do believe that the material order in some real sense reflects, or should reflect, the sacred order. Aesthetics are rarely completely divorced from metaphysics or morals. On a more practical level, though, I think we ought to all give more grace to each other. Not everybody who moves to the suburbs wants to build a gargantuan McMansion and live the full-consumerist lifestyle. Not everyone who chooses to live in the city is driven by morally pure motives; they could be refusing one kind of consumerist narcissism for the sake of embracing a more attractive version of same.
What aesthetic preferences have you tricked up as moral imperatives?

89 comments:

kentuckyliz said...

I always thought smaller communities were more human and humane. I don't make that a moral absolute though.

Æthelflæd said...

I am so glad Dreher has given me permission to live where I want now. I was worried there for a while.

Steve Koch said...

Who cares what Rod Dreher thinks?

Carol said...

Yes it isn't a moral issue. The fact is a lot of people can't afford to live in town, or crime has gotten so bad there, or the schools suck, but the jobs are still there. I miss my little house in town but we had to put up with regular vandalism on our cars, leaving us to wonder what would come next as the neighborhood deteriorated.

What I don't like about the suburbs is the typical opposition to Anything Commercial. I love convenience stores...the one near us is a lifesaver. But try to put in a new one anywhere in Suburbia - fuggeddaboutit. They attract people, and cars, and stuff.

JAL said...

There seem to be some people on both sides who have a tendency to make a moral issue out of personal preferences.

Apparently never heard of "Different strokes for different folks" or "More than one way to skin a cat" and such.

Wonder why some people have a need to justify their lives by making things always about morality. Seems like a lot of them doing so reject some of the old fashioned moral questions. Where one lives gives one moral superiority but snapping babies necks is not a moral issue?

Pharisees.

harrogate said...

I admit that sometimes, I think of my vinyl collection and record player in moral terms. Even though I secretly know that's bullshit.

I also dress up my love for baseball in moral terms. I'm far less sure whether that's bullshit, or on the money.

JAL said...

A co-worker from years ago moved out of the area for more training. Later he was back in the area and I dscovered he was writing a conservative blog.

"Is that you?" said I. "What happened?"

"Had kids." he explained.

Oso Negro said...

I would say it is a moral imperative that women don't work a '70s vibe. You wouldn't serve leg of lamb to a guest with the wool still on it, would you?

edutcher said...

With the rise of wireless communication, cities are less relevant than they were 50 years ago.

Of course, things like this can only hasten the exodus.

Renee said...
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Renee said...

Suburbs = No Poor People

That's the only reason why people move.

They fear the poor, specifically low-skilled women raising children on her own.

Oso Negro said...

Renee, I don't fear the poor at all. I have enough personal firepower to suppress an entire urban flashmob of their sorry asses. But after extensive experience of living among them, I have concluded that it is happier to live away from them.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

It's not that complicated. People want to live in small towns because that is where They, ain't.

It will always be such.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Renee said...
Suburbs = No Poor People

That's the only reason why people move.

They fear the poor, specifically low-skilled women raising children on her own.

5/11/13, 9:31 AM


Huh? You're being sarcastic. Maybe that's true in homogeneous suburban Boston, but not out here.

Steve Koch said...

Renee said...
"Suburbs = No Poor People

That's the only reason why people move.

They fear the poor, specifically low-skilled women raising children on her own."

I didn't understand your comment, were you being sarcastic?

In case you weren't sarcastic, there are lots of poor people in the suburbs and single mothers are very low on the list of people to be afraid of.

Reasons to move to the suburbs include cheaper and better housing, a yard for the kids, safer biking, better and safer schools, less crime and pollution and noise, more green space, etc.

Renee said...

I wasn't being sarcastic, I repeat there are no poor people in the suburbs. A suburban home even an hour away from Boston, can cost over 300k. Poor people can't afford that.

If she is a single mom, she is getting child support/alimony, while the dad is poor.

All the reasons associated with moving to the suburbs, is associated with fatherless homes.

There may be 'more green space', but people who live in the suburbs have higher carbon foot prints and longer commutes/no public transportation, It is impossible to walk anywhere. Heck many suburban roads do not even have sidewalks.


The snob zoning is horrendous in Massachusetts, anytime there is 40B housing is proposed, it is fought by the property owners.

El Pollo Raylan said...
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Jamie said...

I doubt very much that in-city Boston is a happy tossed salad of rich and poor linking arms and singing the Whoville Welcome Christmas song. Do you really claim that people only move to the SUBURBS to avoid living cheek-by-jowl with people of a different economic class?

El Pollo Raylan said...

Renee said...
I wasn't being sarcastic, I repeat there are no poor people in the suburbs.

OK, you would probably have to call Oceanside, CA "rural" because it's certainly not "urban."

I just think there is a tremendous range of incomes in what falls under "suburban." You must have more rules back east. Perhaps MA zoning doesn't allow apartment blocks and mobile homes.

El Pollo Raylan said...

@Renee: You might be amused driving down I-5 in San Diego. Right off shore in Mission Bay on what looks like a tropical island but is really a peninsula--what is that? Is that a trailer park? How did that get there?

acm said...

Renee, how much does rent cost in the cities? There are poor people, and single mothers, everywhere. What, you think that if a woman gets pregnant unexpectedly, or her husband/boyfriend dies or abandons her, while she lives in the suburbs, she can afford to up and move to the nearest city with its 1500/month rent? Or do those things not happen in the suburbs?

Somebody needs to tell this to my friend in McKinney, she somehow missed the magic poverty bus into Dallas, so she stays in one of the apartments that don't exist in suburbs, sharing babysitting with another of the nonexistent single moms who.

Paddy O said...

Very interesting article. Dreher may be writing from a culture that is alien to a number of people, but the assumptions he talks about are absolutely enmeshed in contemporary church thought, so this was a refreshing article for me to read.

I dislike cities. I'm a major introvert and need space and distance. My family were pioneers back in the day and were Californians when Southern California was primarily rural. The cities and suburbs grew up around us.

Vocation keeps me near civilization, but I love what little space I can find. I love easy to find parking. Where I live now, the eastern edges of LA county, it's shockingly diverse and in a much more natural sort of way. There's just people of different backgrounds living as neighbors.

SoCal suburbs now probably have the best of both worlds in a way almost any other part of the world does not.

Renee, I don't fear the poor. I am the poor. It's much cheaper to live in the suburbs.

Paddy O said...

"the suburbs" is also a very, very generalized term. There are suburbs that are mostly poor people and there are suburbs with mostly rich people. Sometimes they are right next to each other.

wyo sis said...

If you have money and you spend it on a house in the suburbs you are afraid of Them? Them being thugs.

If you don't have money and you live in a poor area of a city are you automatically one of Them? Or, are you afraid of Them, but you can't get away?

Instead of getting away from Them let's get Them away from us.

Renee said...

Different topical geographies going on here.

Most people like to think of themselves of middle class, but are you living in the suburbs or the ex-burbs?


You got trailor parks?

I got homeless camps along the river.

I live in a city neighborhood where most people 'are takers' then 'givers' in terms of the social welfare system. The working/non-working poor are pretty ghettoized, people are shocked that I actual like living here.

Clayton Hennesey said...

I've found the most useful way to read Rod Dreher is to try to identify the aesthetic preferences he hasn't tricked up to construct his universe of moral imperatives.

There may actually be one or two.

CrankyProfessor said...

Gothic Revival. CLEARLY, Gothic Revival architecture is the only correct style for Catholic churches.

Renee said...

PaddyO,

I agree on the diverse distinctions.

Two suburbs next to each other in Massachusetts, can be completely contrasting incomes and make-up of the households.

Everyone thinks their neighborhood is 'diverse'. In Massachusetts, even the moderate middle class towns, are still 90% white. The more affluent are more diverse with Asian families, but less African and Hispanic. If white people are a majority, then it isn't diverse.

I'm sure the kids in Cambridge MA, thought they knew poor people, while the terrorists were 'poor' on welfare in their very very affluent city.

Paddy O said...

"people are shocked that I actual like living here."

It's not shocking to me at all, but your comments are a great example of "aesthetic preferences tricking up as moral imperatives," because you went from "I enjoy living here" to the "only reason people live in the suburbs is to get away from the poor."

And there are much more poor places in the world to live than where you are living. It's not a competition. The trouble with criticizing moving away from cities, is that it basically is wanting to poor to indulge in some middle class expectation of poverty aesthetics. If they move away, they're class traitors. It's imposing a moral critique on the human drive for advancement and safety, for oneself but more for ones kids. That's why it's much nicer to be poor in a suburb.

"I realize, of course, it's no shame to be poor... but it's no great honor either."

Tari said...

I have always wanted to like Dreher, I guess because we're the same age, both Orthodox and both conservative-ish. But then he says things like this and, nope, I can't like him after all. Because really, he thinks he can give people permission to live in the burbs, as long as they don't build too big a house and get too over the top consumerish? Who died and put him in change? Suburban folks, you are free to live in as big and lavish a house as you want, as long as you make your mortgage payments, follow the laws, and mind your own business. Why anyone should care so much about the business of others is beyond me.

Paddy O said...

Everyone thinks their neighborhood is 'diverse'.

Renee, I'm not surprised you're using Massachusetts as your example. That's why I mentioned where I live. Southern California is absolutely, entirely more diverse, especially in the suburbs. Predominantly Hispanic and Asian. There are some suburbs that are more white than mine, some that are a lot more hispanic, some that are a lot more Asian.

bagoh20 said...

I want to build a gargantuan McMansion and live the full-consumerist lifestyle. I'm just too damned cheap, but I don't think it's immoral to hire American trades people, buy American made products, pay American taxes to help the community around me, and build a personal expression of my own. There is plenty of plain old bargain basement immorality to bitch about. This is just hatred of the other.

El Pollo Raylan said...

You got trailor parks?

I got homeless camps along the river.


We got them too!

The reason CA has such heterogenous suburbs is Prop 13. That law prevented older people from having to move and also surrounding comp values to drive up the prices of "distressed properties." Certain communities counteract this with prohibitive neighborhood association fees (HOA's) , but many--thankfully--do not.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Shorter Renee: More people need to live in the city so I can feel better about my decision to do so.

Mr. D said...

You got trailor parks?

Yep. About a block away. And a neighborhood of 750K homes less than a mile away. And we all get along just fine. I live in a second ring suburb of the Twin Cities, only three miles from Minneapolis city limits and maybe 5 from the city limits of St. Paul. Suburbs have a whole lot of permutations.

roesch/voltaire said...

Depends on the city and the suburb; I have lived in various ones from New York to New Berlin. I prefer Madison because I can drive to work in twelve minutes, or take the bus, while still being able to enjoy sitting under the green canopy provided by the nine Black Walnut trees in my backyard. True my neighborhood is a mixture of migrant workers in rented homes as well as a few medical doctors, but we all seem to get along as we pass each other walking our dogs. It is a somewhat moral choice in that I like to live simply and spend my money on grandchildren and travel-- not on mortgages and autos.

Æthelflæd said...
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Æthelflæd said...

Geez, Renee. You can buy a 4000 sq ft house for 300K where I live. You might consider that not every city and area of the country has the same pricing and demographic influences. If you have more than one kid, the suburbs make more sense economically. The gated subdivisions are often right down the street from the trailer parks.

Freeman Hunt said...

Don't people often move to the suburbs because living within the city is so expensive? That's why people do it here. Our cities aren't very large, but housing is much more expensive in the the city than in the little communities outside of it.

wildswan said...

I think its only on the Coasts (and only in certain parts of the Coasts that suburbs exclude poor people.) And those suburbs do so because they are very expensive on every street. But elsewhere different groups live in fairly close proximity because different streets in the same town have different prices but everyone goes to the same school, church and grocery store. In most suburbs people without a lot of money have access to gardens, parks, and decent schools without needing a lot of money whereas in Washington DC, for example, that same access would cost thousands of dollars. People on the Coasts think these places don't exist anymore except as nostalgia but that is just one more of their errors. As for me I have no aesthetic preferences masquerading as morality - yes, I hate cities, McMansions, litter, pretentious wine tasting, pants that fall down, NPR-self- righteousness and much else that to me symbolizes the decadence of Empire. But am I wrong that these are symbols of decadence, decadence of art as well as degradation of society?

Æthelflæd said...

My moral imperative aesthetic is that I don't want to be buried in a cemetery that has plastic flowers. That is getting to be next to impossible around here. All the cemeteries that used to be filled with irises and antique roses are being ruined.

Freeman Hunt said...

I don't like bad art. My dislike of it rises nearly to the level of moral imperative.

acm said...

Nice goal-post-moving Renee. First we're all afraid of single moms and fatherless households, then when we point out apartment complexes (subsidized and not) and trailer parks full of just such people, you switch to homeless camps which are actually pretty low on women and children.

Personally, I see one aspect of suburban living (for parents only) that fits into the category of "moral choice" for me, and that's home ownership and related stability and financial prudence. People who can afford to keep their kids from having to move (leaving behind schools, friends, etc) at the whim of a landlord and the rental market should usually, in my opinion, do that. If you can afford to do that in the city, and like to, great! The suburbs just make it possible for more parents to provide that stability. I'm not saying that home ownership is the only way to provide stability, or that it never backfires, but it's a good deal for lots of families.

Now, what aesthetic choices do I pretend are really.moral ones? None. The peplum trend really is evidence of evil. Shorts on men are wicked, wicked things as well.

SGT Ted said...

The destruction of the cities by Democrat Machine crony politics, rent-seeking regulation and restrictions on entry level competition and the resultant increase in costs of living is what has driven the growth and continued popularity of suburbs and small towns.

Only the rich can truly afford a nice life in the cities. The rest of the citizens are merely support staff for rich progressives high dollar lifestyles.

Joe said...

News flash to the coastal urbanites; most of America is suburbs. The collection of "cities" where I live in Utah is nothing but a giant mega-suburb. It's still too urban for me, but I gotta earn a living.

One thing that fascinations me about Orem, Utah is how you can drive down a side street and go from a very nice neighborhood to a [relative] shit hole in one block. It's kind of freaky, but it's also a joy to live in such a place. Of course, an Orem, Utah shithole is a peaceful paradise compared to your average urban neighborhood. (And, yes, I've lived in big cities--hate em. Too many people and then there are those loathsome groomed parks--green space should be wild.)

elkh1 said...

I don't much care about suburban living, isolating myself from all that's "happening", feeling awkward being the only soul taking a stroll in the neighborhood in the middle of the day.

I care much less stacking myself and my family in a walled in cage on top of other caged two-legged, paying an arm and a leg in association fees, getting an almost heart attack crossing the street, getting shot at entering a no-go zone by mistake, turning grayish in bus exhaust, keeping my fingers crossed every waking moment that my teenagers haven't joined a gang yet.

Derek Brown said...

All you have to know about how seriously to take Rod Dreher is that he is a self proclaimed traditionalist who is on his third religious Conversion. It's hard to get your head around the idea of a small time traditionalist being of all things an Orthodox Christian. The Orthodox Church in America is like the Chamber of Commerce for the Greek diaspora.

Steve said...

So hipsters do grow up?

SGT Ted said...

"Crunchy Cons" was just an attempt at shoehorning progressive anti-capitalist/ anti-liberty "consumerist" critiques into a conservative seeming package.

The "One of Us" declarations when it was going on over there at NRO was a mirror image of elitist progressive cultural conformity attempts to demonize and besmirch ostentatious displays of success and wealth when it came from the "middle class".

It also smacks of the East Coast "Old Money" blue blood wanna-be aristocrats turning up their noses at the upstart entrepreneur that grew up poor moving into their neighborhoods.

Alex said...

Some of us prefer clean air, lower crime and not hearing police sirens all day long echoing through the concrete canyon.

Astro said...

Not everyone who chooses to live in the city is driven by morally pure motives; they could be refusing one kind of consumerist narcissism for the sake of embracing a more attractive version of same.
It took the act of writing a book and 7 years to figure that out? F'ing brilliant.

Everyone I know who lives in the city (Atlanta) or in one of its immediate, high-density urban 'suburbs' (Decatur, Buckhead,...) talks about how easy it is to get to shops, restaurants, night clubs,... You know, the non-consumerist, morally pure living experience.

Steve said...

I'm good with poor people. I do find there are far too many Renees living in cities though.

Freeman Hunt said...

City mouse, country mouse.

Bruce Hayden said...

Renee - how many of those single mothers with children are in such a state through no fault of their own? I would suggest that it isn't all that many. Mostly, it is having children out of wedlock, picking the wrong guy to have kids with (or to get married to), or walking out of a marriage that could be saved if she just had worked harder at it.

No, I wouldn't want my kids raised in a place with a lot of single mothers. Why? It isn't a value that I would want my children to learn to treat as normal. Much of the violence in our society today, and probably a majority of the murders, are at least partially a result of raising boys and girls (for the next generation of boys) without a father in the household or as a significant part of their lives.

So, I would want any child of mine to grow up in an environment where marriage was the norm for child rearing, because that is a much healthier environment for them, and for their children.

Finally, the difference between suburbia and urban areas that you are talking about revolves around the norm for that. My kid was raised (except weekends, etc.) by a their mother in a nice home in suburbia, and attended a nice prep school where they were the rarity, with parents not married and living together, at least until late high school, when a surprising number of parents did divorce (and, by then, kid's mother had remarried). Because of the neighborhood and school, normality was the traditional two parent family, not the single female parent that you seem to think is a viable role model.

And, maybe your preferences here illustrate a more communitarian outlook than mine. I was not willing to raise my child in an adverse environment just because others had to, and, esp. since most of them were there due to having made bad decisions at some points in their lives. I wanted what was best for my child, and not maybe for the community as a whole (which itself is debatable).

Freeman Hunt said...

I think most people feel most comfortable in an environment similar to where they grew up. I grew up in a small town that is part of a cluster of small towns officially classified as urban. Out in the country, I tend to feel cut off and isolated. In an actual large city, I tend to feel closed-in and annoyed by the incessant traffic.

I'm sure one can adjust. I'm just talking about default preferences here.

Bender said...

Why does anyone pay any attention to this Dreher person?

The guy can't make his mind up about anything. For years he has gone from one position to another, forever on the move philosophically, all the while wanting to project himself as a leader, giving others the impression that he has this unique knowledge of the secret of life, but then later abandoning that and going on to something else.

Renee said...

Thanks Bruce for being honest, people want to live Red State values, while preaching Blue State public policy. They get away with it, because they shielded from it with the power of snob zoning.

People want to feel liberal, but they don't wan to be liberal. People who would never live in a neighborhood that was more then 10% minority, don't feel racists because they voted for Obama. People who would never allow their children to experience the significant problems that arise who the majority of fragile families, will be quick to call anyone a homophobic to suggest children need a mother and a father.

Bruce Hayden said...

Everyone I know who lives in the city (Atlanta) or in one of its immediate, high-density urban 'suburbs' (Decatur, Buckhead,...) talks about how easy it is to get to shops, restaurants, night clubs,... You know, the non-consumerist, morally pure living experience.

I think that it really depends. True inner cities seem to lack a lot of the amenities that I have grown accustomed to - such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, mega-grocery stores, etc. Even the fast food places are sketchy. I like one stop shopping for, say, groceries, where I have large selections of a full range of foods under one roof.

Maybe your point could be refined, that if you are single, living a single lifestyle, then the things that are important to you are easy to access in an inner city. My life doesn't revolve around night clubs, great restaurants, and small stores, and hasn't for many decades. And, one of the things that causes people to move away from that type of lifestyle is having children.

One thing that I have never had to live with, and don't think that I would like at all, is somewhere where having your own car and using it was not the norm. Where using cabs and public transportation was the norm. See this with friends in D.C. and NYC, and my great-aunt in San Francisco.

bagoh20 said...

I have the best of both worlds. I live in a Los Angeles suburb with lots of trees and wildlife. In the last week, I've watched wild fox, heron, hawks, and owls just a few yards from my patio. Coincidentally, I just got back from a wildlife rehab dropping off three baby opossums, I found in my yard this morning.

At the same time, I can be to work in an industrial section of the city 15 miles away driving right through town in 13 minutes (freeways can be awesome). I can be at a small neighborhood stage show in minutes, or a big name concert or museum in under 30 minutes. I can be at the beach in two minutes, downtown L.A. or in a mountain forest in 30.

The only problems are too much government, and too many people want to share it all with me. Although I have lots of great options, it's almost impossible to enjoy any of them without a crowd breathing down your neck. Bring on the apocalypse.

Bruce Hayden said...

Renee - maybe that is the thing, that I am not ashamed of my "red state" values, and those Crunchy Cons are. And, it isn't the level of minorities, but rather, the family values that I was interested in for the environment that my kid grew up in.

Æthelflæd said...

Renee said...
"Thanks Bruce for being honest, people want to live Red State values, while preaching Blue State public policy. They get away with it, because they shielded from it with the power of snob zoning.

People want to feel liberal, but they don't wan to be liberal. People who would never live in a neighborhood that was more then 10% minority, don't feel racists because they voted for Obama. People who would never allow their children to experience the significant problems that arise who the majority of fragile families, will be quick to call anyone a homophobic to suggest children need a mother and a father."

I understand your point here, Renee, but it is not applicable in my area of the country. The cities are blue, the suburbs and country are red. Plus, the city I live closest to is notorious (in most liberal eyes) for its lack of zoning.

Joe said...

Why are liberals, in general, so obsessed with putting down the suburbs? It goes beyond that; they disdain the rural (unless it's heavily developed wine tasting country.)

I think one high brow answer is that they really believe in the collective--they distrust the individual. Even at the height of the "tune on, tune in, drop out" they were extremely conformist in what that meant.

But why is this? Are they simply extremely insecure and require everyone else to be as miserable at them as a form of comfort? Or, perhaps, it's that the suburbs put a lie to their idiotic theories of the collective?

Again, the liberals "do their own thing" with all their friends doing exactly the same thing, which means they're really just profoundly conformist and miserable. Meanwhile, the "straight kids" get married, have kids, build decent houses in the suburbs, live life on their terms, which even if boring is still THEIR terms, and are genuinely HAPPY.

But, the liberals assure us, the unwashed masses aren't happy. They're all miserable, selfish assholes. Major projection and all that.

Perhaps, then, it's more simple; liberals are just jealous. (But lack the courage to simply "drop out.")

Joe said...

BTW, The Hamptons, Beverly Hills, La Canada, Palm Beach, Chestnut Hill, etc. may all be literally "suburb", aren't remotely representative of Americas suburbs. Yet, it seems that when critics blast the suburbs, they are often cherry picking neighborhoods like this, or perhaps one step down. To use the place where I grew up, they aren't picking Niskayuna, Scotia, Glenville, Colonie, etc.

Carl said...

Ah, the narcissist who interprets his evolving personal cycle o' life preferences as revolutionary discoveries.

At age 16 he proposes a sexual revolution. No more patriarchal repression of the sexual liberty of women! Why shouldn't lesbians marry? And upload wedding-night videos to Facebook! Woo hoo!

At age 19 he pens an essay in writing class about how only the most short-sighted of nations haven't come into the modern age and decided to make college free for all through taxing rich corporations. And weed should be legalized! What business is it of society's if consenting adults want to get high in their dorm rooms?

At age 25 he agrees enthusiastically with OWS protesters who find outrageous the gap in pay between the corner office and the cubicle farmer. Taxes should be highly progressive, of course. Why does anyone need more than 2x his income?

At age 32, newly married, he writes about how society should rediscover some of the virtues of old-fashioned chastity (particularly in females), and also how important it is for national policy to ease home-buying and put generous deductions for child care in the tax code. Why are we so anti-family?

At age 47, with his oldest son entering 7th grade and starting to lock the bathroom door, he suggests the drug warriors, while of course heavy-handed and stupid, kind of have a point, at least with respect to dealers. He's less concerned about the pay gap between the cubicle farm and the office with a window, but still thinks dividend income should be taxed at wage income rates. He's not clear on why we need to spend so much tax money supporting Film Studies majors. Let them borrow the money if they think it's worthwhile.

At age 58 he thinks it's time to reconsider how unfairly maligned are the earnings of the corner office, who takes on so much responsibility and leadership, and supports so many, both at home and through brutally unfair taxes, particularly on capital gains. Why tax the job-creators? He's once again in favor of sexual liberation for young women, but thinks alimony is a medieval institution. College financial aid, particularly to parents, should be much greater. And why do we spend so freaking much on health care in the last 6 months of a person's life?

At age 68 he's back in favor of progressive taxes, but not of course on interest and dividend income. Why punish a lifetime of thrift? And why are we so contemptuous of our senior citizens? These death panels that would toss someone on the garbage heap just because they think he's got less than 6 months to live...!

Maybe this is one of the principal evils of the atomization of the family: with less personal exposure we are less aware that society is, even more than a compact among differing cultures or races, a compact between the differing perspectives of generations, of those who are 20 an 40 and 60 years old.

paulmichiel said...
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kcom said...

I've talked to a number of people whose primary motive in living in in-town neighborhoods is that they are within walking distance of bars. So they can stumble home drunk without having to drive. Is that the nobility you're presuming of in-town residents?

Freeman Hunt said...

Carl, that's great. I'll have to share that one.

Æthelflæd said...

Great post, Carl.

Phil 3:14 said...

The snob zoning is horrendous in Massachusetts, anytime there is 40B housing is proposed, it is fought by the property owners

Then you should move to PhD because:
1) they annexed much of the "suburbs"
2) little zoning. Where I live there are trailers and million dollar homes within a block of each other.

And we have plenty of single moms.

somefeller said...

Renee babbles:People want to feel liberal, but they don't wan to be liberal. People who would never live in a neighborhood that was more then 10% minority, don't feel racists because they voted for Obama. People who would never allow their children to experience the significant problems that arise who the majority of fragile families, will be quick to call anyone a homophobic to suggest children need a mother and a father.

Yeah, that's it, Renee. You figured it all out. You really are something of a walking caricature, aren't you?

And as per SGT Ted's comments, let's be sure to bookmark those when someone (perhaps the sergeant himself?) is claiming that resentful class warfare rhetoric is only found on the Left.

Kirk Parker said...

harrogate,

I always knew you were a lefty idiot, and now comes confirmation: you are having doubts about the moral superiority of baseball??????

I rest my case.




"What aesthetic preferences have you tricked up as moral imperatives?"

A real human drummer instead of a drum machine.

chrisnavin.com said...

I'm writing this from inside an eco-box set inside the new green tower complex.

Bloomberg and the New Urbanists won't let us out.

Send help.

paul a'barge said...

Here is what I'm looking for Dreher to say: I am wrong. I have my head so far up my *ss I can't see daylight unless my mouth is open. I'm an idiot and a yutz and I deserve every ounce of public shaming and shunning I get. Every bit of it.

Basta! said...

Renee said: "I repeat there are no poor people in the suburbs. A suburban home even an hour away from Boston, can cost over 300k. Poor people can't afford that."

Geez, Renee, what do you think homes in Boston cost? The value of mine keeps going up, right now the absolute floor I could get for it would be $400K. I have realtors writing to ask me if I'm interested in selling, as there is apparently a shortage of single-family houses in the city (all chopped up for condos).

Also, when they started to gentrify minority Boston neighborhoods about 20 years ago, the minorities who could no longer afford it moved out to near suburbs like Stoughton and Randolph, which are now at least half minority.

And somefeller, that quote from Renee mentions racism and homophobia --- where are you getting class warfare from?

Michael said...

The suburbs exist to provide safety, good schools, safe drinking water and smooth roads: the things the cities have chosen not to provide. City officials are never hip to the fact that people can and do vote with their feet.

Paddy O said...

Here's a map with a breakdown of population data for LA and its surrounding suburbs.

Pretty interesting mix. A place like Hacienda Heights for instance combines very high diversity with fairly high income levels.

The low diversity places tend to be places with very high latino or Asian populations, though then you have a place like Malibu, that's the lowest diversity with a white majority spot. But that's mostly Hollywood and Music industry people. So, there's a problem in those industries...

Paddy O said...

Mapping neighborhoods

Paddy O said...

My great, great, great, great grandmother lived in downtown LA, but her sons decided to live on the outskirts. Not because they hated the poor. Because there's very little farmland in downtown LA (even in the 1870s) and they were farmers.

somefeller said...

And somefeller, that quote from Renee mentions racism and homophobia --- where are you getting class warfare from?

I was referring to SGT Ted's comments regarding class warfare. See my reference. But Renee's comments here (the only reason people live in suburbs is to avoid the poor!) and elsewhere have a whiff of class resentment to them as well, among other whiffs.

harrogate said...

Kirk,

Thanks for the shout out. I guess what I'd say is, in reference to Althouse's question, my feelings about baseball definitely count as an "aesthetic preference", and I certainly have over the years "tricked [it] up as [a] moral imperative."

Now, that doesn't mean I am wrong to have done so. I see you have done the same thing, and feel that it simply is a moral imperative to enjoy the greatest game.

Who's your team? Or do you just bask in all of it?

harrogate said...

Also, Kirk, you wrote this as yours:

"A real human drummer instead of a drum machine."

See. That's actually a real one too. Shouldn't be any doubts about that.

Sam L. said...

I live in the city/suburbs/country because I am more moral than you!

wyo sis said...

What aesthetic preferences have you tricked up as moral imperatives?"


I prefer my children and grand children not be bombarded with sexual images an innuendo 24/7.

Renee said...

Randolph MA

"In year 2000, Randolph was 88% White, and dropped to almost 24% Non Hispanic White in 2010, setting a record for the fasting growing minority cities in America. Crime in this city has been especially high since 2004 with 16 murders, 1,788 stolen vehicles, and 2,092 rapes. 60% of all elementary school students are black, 21% Hispanic (Predominately Dominican), 11% White, and 8% Asian."


White Flight!

White people with kids won't move to Randolph.

Æthelflæd said...

Just another example of the moral superiority of the northeast compared to us racist southerners, I suppose.

Renee said...

Well, Massachusetts does have a black governor.

Prof. Skip Gates... was right, we have a problem, even though in his incident the police weren't wrong.

CyndiF said...

I've found the most useful way to read Rod Dreher is to try to identify the aesthetic preferences he hasn't tricked up to construct his universe of moral imperatives.

Ain't that the truth. I remember him quoting his wife approvingly to the effect that people don't have kids because because they want to maintain their high disposable income and thinking that it sounded like she (and he) confused cause and effect.

MarkD said...

Are people who try to run the lives of others compensating for not being able to handle their own?

Matt William said...

It is all about adaptability. A suburban in any state would find similar neighborhood if they've moved out of city.