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The Case for Conservative Urbanism?

How conservatives can score points with the urban folks.

Placism, not racism, is the real source of polarization in American politics. The true divide is between conservative rural counties and liberal and progressive cities. Former Vice President Joe Biden won a record-low 17% of U.S. counties in the 2020 presidential election, mainly in urban areas. More people are moving to the cities. Is it possible to turn the cities conservative? If so, how?

Demographics Is Destiny

President Recep Erdoğan

President Recep Erdoğan

All over the world, cities are more liberal than the countryside. As more people move to the cities, the result is a steady embrace of globalism, socialism, and social liberalism. History teaches us that this ends up in corruption, poverty, and massive social problems.

At the same time, conservatives have far more children than liberals and progressives. The result is that, across generations, the conservatives tend to win. After World War I, President Kemal Atatürk created Turkey’s secular progressive state with massive backing from people in the cities. A century later, President Recep Erdoğan has undone the secular revolution with support from the countryside that outbred the cities. By comparison, the United States, based on birth rates, could be a majority Amish nation by 2300.

Family and Wisdom

Demographic trends teach us the power of lifestyles to shape politics. If we could summarize what makes a conservative in a slogan, it might be “family and wisdom.” Married couples with children are notably more conservative than childless singles and single parents. Furthermore, the longer people live and experience real life, the more conservative they become. Most of the liberal bias in cities can be explained by a young, unmarried, and childless population. It provides a hint of how to render the cities more conservative: anything that makes them more family-friendly.

Security

Law-and-order is the number one issue that conservatives have repeatedly proven to master better than those on the left. Families with children more than all others want and need this. After the Democrats had turned New York City into a crime-infested Third World city after decades of mismanagement, Mayor Rudy Giuliani was elected to turn it around, which he did.

Law-and-order is a winner for conservatives but needs to be combined with community participation. For instance, although black communities often are the strongest proponents of law- enforcement presence, the police are often accused of racism. Entrepreneur and Dilbert-creator Scott Adams has proposed a reform in which affected communities are queried and given a voice in how much policing they deem sufficient before it becomes too intrusive. By including communities in the decision process, every arrest that happens will be anchored in local consent.

Dignity

Too many urban areas are suffering from dependence on the welfare state. Throughout the world, it is well-documented that such dependency creates a spiral of delinquency and decline. During her run for Congress in West Baltimore this year, Kimberly Klacik ran into a typical attitude: Conservatives are out to get their Social Security.

Klacik’s response was to ask them if they would choose a well-paying job over welfare. Most of them would. It turns out that if conservatives can offer the dignity of work, most people will decide to abandon a life of dependency.

Today, the American working class, especially those without a high school education, suffer significantly under the competition from illegal aliens and jobs outsourced to China and other places. A healthy dose of America First populism to bring back jobs would go a long way to restore the dignity people need to become conservative.

School Choice

The primary engine of failure in America is the public school system, which can be hazardous to children’s health and development in inner cities. Teachers’ unions have long acted against children’s interests by denying them the right to school choice. While getting a college degree is not necessary to have a good life in America, basic math and reading skills are.

Culture

These are just some of the factors that contribute to creating a suitable environment for raising a family, thereby promoting conservative values. However, outside of politics, one factor is more important than any other: cultural influence. For decades, the elites have denigrated and devalued the family. Conservatives have allowed it to happen without providing a positive counter-vision.

Before the sexual revolution with universally available birth control, families happened automatically. Now they must be encouraged and praised as heroic missions for the future of civilization. If a new awareness of the importance of family can be resurrected, then the future may be conservative. And perhaps not just Amish.

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