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Berlin And the US, And Socialist Utopianism

Paul Krugman (Idiot, first order [1]) travels to Berlin and notes that there are some differences between Berlin and Atlanta:

To see what I’m talking about, consider where I am at the moment: in a pleasant, middle-class neighborhood consisting mainly of four- or five-story apartment buildings, with easy access to public transit and plenty of local shopping. It’s the kind of neighborhood in which people don’t have to drive a lot, but it’s also a kind of neighborhood that barely exists in America, even in big metropolitan areas. Greater Atlanta has roughly the same population as Greater Berlin — but Berlin is a city of trains, buses and bikes, while Atlanta is a city of cars, cars and cars.

[…]

Public transit, in particular, faces a chicken-and-egg problem: it’s hard to justify transit systems unless there’s sufficient population density, yet it’s hard to persuade people to live in denser neighborhoods unless they come with the advantage of transit access.

And there are, as always in America, the issues of race and class. Despite the gentrification that has taken place in some inner cities, and the plunge in national crime rates to levels not seen in decades, it will be hard to shake the longstanding American association of higher-density living with poverty and personal danger.

Still, if we’re heading for a prolonged era of scarce, expensive oil, Americans will face increasingly strong incentives to start living like Europeans — maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives.

And that of course is Krugman’s most fervent hope, that the socialism that so dominates that region of the world will soemhow become the way of life here.  There are of course a few differences that Krugman doesn’t bother telling us about in his peice:

  1. Berlin had the distinct advanatge, at least from Krugman’s view, of having the snot bombed out of it by Allied bombers in the 1940’s. Now, of course balancing that is the idea that if Krugman gets his way, and Barack Obama manages to attain the White House, there’s quite a number of Ilamic terrorists who will gladly accomidate Krugman’s wishes.  Leveling places like Atlanta won’t be the problem Berlin was for the Allies, given the addtional power of the atom.
  2. Because of that bombing, Germans were able to forced to rebuild quite literally from their underground up. 
  3. Nor was was the ecoonomy ready to support personal transportation at that stage… Germany back in those days amounted to a nation of serfs. Sorry, but there it is.  So, the only option was what the poor have invariably relied on; Governmentally provided mass transport. Such has beocme engrained in their culture. I don’t see this as a good ting.
  4. Has Krugman noticed the number of people leaving Germany the last 20 years or so? Biggest reasons listed for voting with their feet? Taxes, and regulations. Such as are required for example to keep people living in the cities. Were are they moving?  Stats indicate they’re moving to American metros… like Atlanta, for example.
  5. The link between higher density living and personal danger is far less of fantasy than Krugman makes it. It is in fact why crime rates in the cities remain as high as they do all over the world, not just in the non-socialist west.  And Krugman’s hinting at racism not withstanding, race isn’t the issue, if we are to take the population demograohic data at face value, in a comparison of the burbs to the cities. Blacks have been flying out of the cities as well. Hasn’t he noticed? Maybe something other than racism is at work?  Like, crime created , for example.
  6. Funny how the world Krugman aspires to is the world that was set as a target by the UN not so very long back… one where everyone lives in the cities where they are easily controled, and Americans owning personal transportation is a rarity, reserved for the rich and politically powerful. Like, for example, Krugman. (Ever note how they never actually live in the misbegotten world they insist on for us peons?)
  7. There’s an issue of scale, here. Comparing Germany and the United States in terms of scale is like comparing a Pomeranian with a Blue Whale.

All this is, is Krugman engaging in something we’ve seen enough from him before to make it totally predictable; Socialist Utopianism.  Make no mistake; this bit of Krugman’s is of a peice with Obama:

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”

I’m telling you, folks; these people are going to subject us to every ‘international body’ under the sun, to make sure what used to be our own individual chocies to Europian socialist sensibilities. Questions like Where will I live, what will I eat, what do I drive, how warm or cold should my house be, will all be answered by the world government.  What a wonderful world these people have planned fo us.

Joyner has more. [2]

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