What is sustainability? It seems to be a term that has been loaded with additional baggage since the Progressives have reappropriated the term for their own use. It seems to be a word used to describe the longevity of a given system, usually in an ecological context. Yet, as with many ideological terms of the left, it manages to translate itself into virtually every facet of human life. For example, sustainability encompasses what kind of house you live in, the food you eat, the types of vacations you go on, the politicians you elect, your choice to have children (or not), the types of investments you make, and many other aspects. But what is sustainability with regard to politics? (I am not speaking of sustainability policy–I’m speaking of the longevity associated with political constituencies.)
Victor Hanson wrote at his Works and Days blog about the sustainability of San Fransisco–no, not the ecological sustainability, but rather the sustainability of the (strongly-Democratic) human population:
I spent some time speaking in San Francisco recently… There are smartly dressed yuppies, wealthy gays, and chic business people everywhere downtown, along with affluent tourists, all juxtaposed with hordes of street people and a legion of young service workers at Starbucks, restaurants, etc. What is missing are school children, middle class couples with strollers, and any sense the city has a vibrant foundation of working-class, successful families of all races and backgrounds. For all its veneer of liberalism, it seems a static city of winners and losers, victory defined perhaps by getting into a spruced up Victorian versus renting in a bad district, getting paid a lot to manage something, versus very little to serve something. All in all, I got a strange creepy feeling that whatever was going on, it was unsustainable–sort of like an encapsulated Europe within an American city. The city seems to exist on tourism, and people who daily come into the city to provide a service, get paid–and leave….
I remember SF in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a kid visiting with his parents. A much different place altogether of affordable homes, vibrant docks, lots of construction—and children everywhere.