Doug Casey on the Great Migration of Americans Out of Dysfunctional Cities

by Doug Casey, International Man:

International Man: After the outbreak of the Covid hysteria and subsequent government actions, many Americans decided to move to a new state.

For example, it’s estimated that 319,020 residents fled New York state between July 2020 and July 2021, which amounted to about 1.6% of its population. It was the largest outflow of any state during this period.

What is going on here?

Doug Casey: It’s quite simple and obvious: people are getting away from what they don’t like.

In essence, that means taxes, regulations, corruption, street crime, and a “woke” social ambiance. These are all things that relate to government. As late as the 1950s, the local government wasn’t a major factor when deciding where to live. Now it is.


Some states now have up to a 13% income tax, and some have 8 to 10% in sales tax. These are huge considerations where they were once trivial. So there’s a huge difference between various states regarding the costs imposed upon you by the government.

Generally speaking, the highest tax states are also the most woke and the most regulated. That’s because the wokesters approve of high taxes in principle. They believe a big government is good and necessary. Furthermore, the high taxes go to promote woke policies. So high taxes and woke policies naturally reinforce each other.

The places with the most woke governments and highest taxes generally have the highest levels of welfare spending, which draws in a certain type of person. As a result, they have hundreds, or even thousands, living on the streets.

They used to be termed “bums” or “vagrants.” Then you were supposed to call them “the homeless.” That sounded better because it didn’t imply a moral failing, just the lack of a permanent residence. Now, however, you’re supposed to call them “the unhoused.” This further softening seems to imply that they just don’t have a house for the moment—that sounds no worse than not having a car, airplane, or perhaps a diamond ring, or maybe a pension. They’re “underprivileged” and should have a home in our hearts. No moral failing there.

I prefer to call these people bums, the traditional term. But it’s almost passed out of the language. It should be re-instituted. It’s crazy what the progressives and the wokesters have done to the language. Their euphemisms have made words as dishonest as their policies and philosophies.

Places like New York, Baltimore, Chicago, San Fran, and scores of other liberal bastions have the worst crime because they draw in and retain the worst kind of people—those who want to take advantage of their woke policies. And they scare away people who value the opposite values—hard work, prudence, temperance, self-reliance, justice, and the other traditional virtues. The politicians in these places promise bread and circuses to the degraded hoi polloi in exchange for their votes. They draw in the worst people and scare away the best. It’s a self-reinforcing type of situation that can become a death spiral. The US is no longer a democracy but a kakistocracy.

Although moving can be inconvenient, it’s insane to stay rooted in a place that’s degrading, with the worst conditions but the highest costs. Get a load of this article written by a liberal in “The Atlantic.”

International Man: How have the policies the local politicians enacted led to these conditions?

Doug Casey: People who get into politics are generally narcissists. They’re interested in popularity. Their priority isn’t the good of society but self-aggrandizement. They don’t create anything and can only take from some people and give to others. They do what’s good for themselves, building their own brand names, hoping that successful manipulation of the hoi polloi will enable them to move from being a big shot in their municipality to a big shot in their county, then a big shot in their state, and finally making the big time in Washington DC.

What’s going on here? Why do people support their destroyers? How is it that, of all animals, only humans install the most venal and stupid as their leaders? There must be some basic flaw in humans that, at least when they’re in a large enough group, causes them to act irrationally. Why else would people support the kind of people who want to be politicians?

It doesn’t matter whether they’re Democrats or Republicans. Although I’ve got to say that in many ways, I respect the Democrats more than the Republicans. That’s because the Democrats, as bent as they are, at least have a philosophical center. They actually believe in some things—even if they’re bad things. The Republicans, however, don’t believe in anything—except that the Democrats are just moving too far and too fast towards statism and collectivism. That makes the so-called conservatives hypocrites, allowing the so-called liberals to masquerade as the party of principle.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are worth the powder it would take to blow them to hell. As H.L. Mencken correctly said, politicians are America’s only native criminal class.

It’s foolish and a moral, philosophical, and—usually—a practical mistake to support either of them. Both should be decried. Don’t feed either Tweedledee or Tweedledum. They’re the problem, not the solution.

International Man: While New York saw the largest outflow of residents, Texas and Florida were among the top recipients of new residents.

What do you think the long-term impacts will be on these states, and what are the implications?

Doug Casey: There are two possibilities.

Many of the emigrants are so shallow and thoughtless that they don’t realize that it was their own views and habits that destroyed the places they want to get out of. They’re likely to take many of their stupid ideas and bad habits with them because they can’t change their basic psyche. They can’t reform their basic worldview. Most don’t think logically about cause and effect.

But some may have been mugged enough by reality that they’ve changed their views. Some are ethically upright but have just been buried in a negative environment. I have a number of AnCap friends who started out as Marxists. So there’s always hope…

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