Dec 6, 2016
commented on The “Liberal Bubble” Is a Ridiculous Myth
Bradzuk writes: "Case in point: the author's implication that Portland's economic superiority has anything to do with its moral superiority."
This comes from an otherwise smart comment, but this particular sentence seems an unfortunate misreading of what I wrote. I ordinarily wouldn't comment on my own article (I've already stated my case, hopefully) but I guess if this is what someone took away from it, I need to clarify. I don't believe there's anything morally superior about a city having a functioning economy. (I don’t mention morality anywhere in the article.) I do believe, however, that a functioning economy is proof in itself of a willingness to adapt to the world as it is—i.e., to exist outside of a bubble, or at the very least to have the ability to see beyond its curved walls.
To address some other comments: The article is only tangentially about Portland (I mentioned it once in terms of population growth); rather, it was meant to address American cities as a whole. If I failed to make that clear, that's my fault, and I apologize. I still contend that the very idea of a population center—particularly one that features diversity, inclusivity, and not merely economic opportunity but economic ADAPTABILITY—is antithetical to the concept of a bubble. If you beg to differ, that's one thing, and we won't agree on that particular point. But to not look past the fact that Portland, specifically, is lagging behind other major US cities in terms of diversity seems like a convenient way to ignore the bigger point here.
Another thing: It's possible to have empathy for an out-of-work coal or auto worker while still asserting that the empty promise of bringing back their old jobs will do nothing to better anyone's situation. It’s one thing to be empathetic; it’s another to accept, without challenge, all the bad information that has been spread throughout certain communities. I’ll do the former, but not the latter. Our marketplace has changed. Our economy has changed. Our world has changed. And to not change along with it, one could argue, is like being in some sort of bubble.
I'm starting to repeat points I already made in the article, so it'd probably be wise to stop here. I appreciate all the comments. Even Jake's.