Joel Kotkin`s Next Hundred Million: Don`t Worry, Be Happy (Or At Least Ignorant)

[Peter Brimelow writes:
I have the
endearing habit of buying books from authors, an
oppressed species, and getting them to inscribe them to
me. But I was too rattled to do it when

Joel Kotkin
spoke about his

current book
at a recent Manhattan Institute event
in New York—for the ironic reason that my young wife had
just arrived and told me her purse had been snatched by
a gang of Ecuadorian illegal immigrants in Macy`s.
(Impressively, the

NYPD
caught them). I did ask Kotkin why he hadn`t
mentioned the data showing Hispanics are developing into

a new underclass.
He replied airily that

"the data are all
over the place"
,
which

reassured the audience of New Yorkers
but not me—why
take this risk?


Some fifteen years earlier, I
had debated Kotkin at an event arranged by the
Pacific
Research Institute.
In person, he was affable and
even obliging. I was startled to read his

review
of my

Alien
Nation
:

"Nativism,
even when presented by a
friendly-looking guy
with an

adorable young son,
is a recurring disease in the
American experience. If we fail to vanquish this latest
outbreak, it will vanquish us."


(Links added)


Who is this "we" of whom he
speaks?
]

For many patriotic immigration
reformers, the year

2050
represents

Doomsday
: the projected date when America`s
population reaches 400 million and when whites (a.k.a.
basically the
group
known until

the 1965 Immigration Act
as
“Americans”)
become a minority. In the last two years the date has
been moved up to 2042 and back to 2050.

Of course, these dates assume we
keep our current immigration policy. Introducing a

moratorium
and

cracking down
on

illegal immigration
would push the date vanishingly
far back. Restoring traditional i.e.

European immigration
would stave it off forever.
Conversely,

amnesty
and increasing

legal immigration
would bring it forward.

But regardless of whether the date
is 2035, 2042, or 2050, there are obvious concerns. The
loss of

America`s historic white majority
will reduce
social
capital
and increase

racial tension.
And the sheer number of people will
create

sprawl
, pollution, depletion of

resources
, and overcrowding of

infrastructure
.

Joel Kotkin, [Email
him
] a Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban
Futures at

Chapman University
, attempts to assuage both
concerns in his book The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050.

It is hard to pigeonhole Kotkin
politically. He seems to take all the liberal
assumptions about

multiculturalism
and

egalitarianism
for granted, but he does not seem
particularly exercised about them.

While he shares the same
pro-growth
fanaticism
of libertarians such as

Tyler Cowen
and the late

Julian Simon
, he proposes massive government
intervention to fuel growth.

Sure enough, the book is blurbed by
both pro-growth neoconservative

Michael Barone
and leftist

Alan Wolfe
.

If there is any internal
consistency to Kotkin`s outlook in
The Next Hundred
Million
, it is that every single social and
political change occurring is inevitable, and any
challenges they pose can be resolved.

Take the issue of global warming.
Libertarians typically claim it is a myth. Liberals
believe it is
a huge
problem that requires government regulation
even if
that means slower economic growth. Kotkin

accepts that global warming is a problem
—but simply
assumes that we will be able to use alternative energies
such as

biofuel and wind energy
in the near future—despite
the failure to make any of these energies cost efficient
after decades of research and government subsidies.

This is the extent of Kotkin`s
answer to our future energy needs.

As a professor of
"urban futures,"
his answer to sprawl is slightly more sophisticated, but
even more presumptuous.

Kotkin hypothesizes
"smart sprawl"—medium
to low density suburbs which are not dependent upon big
cities. He doesn`t exactly explain how this will occur.
Rather he simply assumes it will, because any other
system would involve extreme overcrowding of cities
and/or
long traffic jams
from the sprawling suburbia and
exurbia.

Kotkin proclaims with glee that "in a dramatic change, the new suburbs will be far more diverse
ethnically than those of
 
the past"
. He seems completely unaware that

getting away from ethnic diversity
is one of the
reasons for the proliferation of suburbia. As

suburbs become diverse,
whites move to the

exurbs
. If immigration continues, they may
run
out of places to go
.

Kotkin`s blind spot for race
extends to other areas of urban planning. For example he
describes how the initially-vaunted

Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St Louis
had to be
demolished 17 years after its completion
"because it had
deteriorated into a crime-infested social disaster."

Kotkin argues that it failed
because its
"developers believed that poor people,

many of them from the countryside
, could adapt to
life in constrained spaces, with little open space."

Kotkin mentions as a side note that
"it was not intended to house solely African Americans, but it ended up
that way as much of the city`s white population fled to
the surrounding suburbs."
But he does not explain
that the project was

originally segregated
—and that the crime came after
it was desegregated, and the

whites left.

This is not to say that Kotkin
completely ignores race. He begins his chapter on
"Post Ethnic
America"
with an

anecdote
about
Colbert/Ball
Tax Service
. Colbert/Ball is Houston based tax
preparation business whose clientele was originally low-
to middle-income blacks. Founder Al Colbert calls it
"the Black H&R Block".

As Hispanics flooded into Houston,
Colbert/Ball expanded its market and now Hispanics make
up 30% of their clientele. Writes Kotkin,
"To be sure,
Colbert enjoys his adopted hometown`s diversity and its
staggering array of

restaurants
, cultural offerings, and shops. But
above all, when he considers that diversity, he sees
more customers."

This is
literally
the only thing
Kotkin writes about Hispanic-Black relations. Don`t
worry about the

depressed wages
or deadly

violence in schools
and

prisons
. Al Colbert enjoys Mexican food! And has a
few new clients!

When not using shallow anecdotes to
address the Hispanicization of the country, Kotkin uses
phony statistics. After quoting

Sam Huntington
and
Pat
Buchanan`s
fears about Hispanic assimilation, he
attempts to refute them by asserting
"one in three Latino Immigrants describes themselves primarily as
American, but that rises to 85 percent in the first
native born generation and 97 percent in the generation
after that."

I had never heard of such a
statistic so I looked to the source, which was a
New York Times
article about a

poll
by the multicultural
New American Media
on race relations. But the article said nothing about
how Hispanics identify themselves. It did note that (Al
Colbert`s new customers notwithstanding)
"93 percent of
Hispanics, 92 percent of African-Americans… said racial
tension was a very important problem in the United
States."
[Survey
Points to Tensions Among Chief Minorities
,
Julia
Preston, New York Times, December 13, 2007]

So I then took a look at the survey
referred to in the article—and found no such questions.
[Deep
Divisions, Shared Destiny
,

New America Media,
December 12, 2007]

I did, however, find a poll by the
Pew Hispanic Center that found that only three percent
of first generation, only 33% of second generations, and
only one half of
third generation Hispanics
described themselves
first as Americans. [Between
Two Worlds: How Young Latinos Come of Age in America
,
w:st="on">Pew Hispanic
Center
, December 11, 2009
(PDF)]

Then there are the other problems
caused by overpopulation and diversity. Robert Putnam
famously noted that

both depleted social capital
. But don`t worry, says
Kotkin. While "bowling clubs
and

Boy Scout
troops…are not likely to be resurrected"
,
we now have Facebook, Farmers Markets, and Community
Supported Agriculture!

Kotkin quotes architect

Richard Reep
:

"These markets are exciting because they are growing, despite all the
forces working against them: crime, internet commerce,
and the accelerated kinetic lives we lead in this new
millennium. People are finding something important at
these small, crowded, open-air market stalls, and it
isn`t just good

tomatoes
."

“People” no
doubt are finding
"something important"
—but it`s not community or
social capital. Farmers Markets are listed as #5 in
Stuff White People
Like. In fact, a picture of a farmers market adorns the top of the
SWLP website because:

"White people like Farmers Markets for a number of reasons. The first is
their undying need to support local economies…and the
idea of buying direct from the farmer helps them assuage
the fears instilled in them from reading Fast
Food Nation 
(and
yes, every white person has read this book).

White people also like Farmer`s Markets because it is outdoors (they
love being

outdoors
), they can bring their dogs and children in

expensive strollers,
and they get to see other white
people. If they are single, this is a good place to meet
other single white people who share their passion for
sustainability."


[#5 Farmers
Markets, Stuff White People Like
, January 18,
2008]

With the exclusion of

bringing your dog,
there`s nothing about farmers
markets that can`t be said of a Whole Foods
(incidentally

#48
.) Anyone who has been to a Farmers Market can
tell you it is no replacement for the Boy Scouts. You
might say hello to your neighbors if you run into them,
but you are in and out just as quickly as when you go to
the supermarket.

Community Supported Agriculture
creates even less social capital. For non-yuppie
VDARE.COM readers, CSAs are co-ops where city dwellers
pay a set seasonal or yearly fee to a local organic farm
which delivers a random assortment of

fresh produce
every week. The delivery man aside,
there is absolutely no human interaction.

Does Kotkin recognize
any challenges
for the 21st century? He acknowledges that
the country is becoming more divided by class and that
there are problems with upward mobility. Of course, when
the

wealthy can hire cheap immigrants
rather than pay a
living wage to Americans, this will exacerbate both
problems. But such pesky points are not considered in
The Next Hundred
Million
.

Despite all the happy talk,
Kotkin`s final passage is much more sober than the rest
of the book.

"None of it will be easy, and certainly much can go wrong. Still we have
no reason to lose faith in the possibilities of the
future. For all its problems, America remains, as the
journalist John Gunther

suggested
over sixty years ago, `lousy with
greatness.` The elements essential to forge a successful
nation of four hundred million remain very much within
our reach, there for the taking."

This statement seems to acknowledge
that dealing with

minority-white
“nation”
(“empire” might be a better term) of 400 million people is not a
blessing, but a challenge.

Will we completely deplete our
natural resources by 2050? Will the U.S. break down on
racial lines? Will it resemble a
Third World country
like
Brazil?

I don`t know.

But these possibilities would not
exist were it not for Washington`s post-1965 policy
of allowing massive immigration from the Third World.

Ellison Lodge (email
him) works on Capitol
Hill.