Given the ongoing deterioration of American society, it looks like we’ve hit the limit of the police state and the ability to control behavior at the street level.
A federal judge in New York has just ruled that stop and frisk, which has created, through essentially random searches and police harassment, some semblance of order in New York City, is unconstitutional. Before stop and frisk, New York was plagued with record high murders and street crime. Mayor Rudy Giuliani turned things around through aggressive policing that targeted mainly black and Hispanic young men, who comprise the majority of criminal offenders in the city. The result was a couple decades of police-enforced safety that allowed the Sex and the City, hipster and other whitopia cultures to flourish on the streets of New York.
While this may be a logical solution to a major problem, so would forcibly sterilizing all women on welfare to prevent excess expenditures on social services, and no reasonable person would seriously propose that. The point is that there are limits to what can be done in a free society, and Giuliani, Bloomberg et al stretched the definition of “freedom” to include clearly oppressive state control over citizens’ lives.
The ruling, while welcome to those of us opposed to a police state, will present a problem for the progressive types who inhabit heavily policed cities on the Eastern seabord. Since the mid 90s, these people have been living in a bubble protected by armed men using unconstitutional tactics to keep them comfortable. This bubble, although given more justification and a shot in the arm following the attack on the WTC, is unsustainable. The progressive dreams of a permanent urban utopia will ultimately be crushed under the reality of changing demographics, including their own abysmal fertility and inability to replace themselves. The progressives, despite their constant paeans to “youth” are themselves quite old, and will have to make room for younger workers and families if they plan on keeping their cities economically viable.
However, I don’t think they will. They will continue to pursue policies that drive out working young people by increasing the cost of living to unsustainable levels. They will try to save themselves through immigration, but that won’t do it. You can’t recreate progressive urban America by importing people from all corners of the earth — the US isn’t Singapore.
The end result will be a steady hemorrhage of young workers away from cities, eventually urban decay and, possibly, deurbanization along the lines of the 1970s. The progressive dream is giving way to a new America; one that, despite the many new people, looks much like the old one.