I hate to say it, but sometimes there’s a certain arrogance which infects liberal academics who believe it’s their responsibility to inform us about what we need to do in order to create a better life for what Rush Limbaugh used to refer to as the ‘deserving poor.’

One such liberal prognosticator is Patrick Sharkey, whose book on urban violence, Uneasy Peace, made a big splash when it was published back in 2017.  He’s at Princeton, where he now sits in the sylvan campus glades and tells us how and what we should do to help all those poor, unfortunate residents of the ‘underserved’ world make things better for themselves.

Sharkey has just published a new advisory report for the uplifting of the inner-city folks, ‘Social Fabric: A New Model for Public Safety and Vital Neighborhoods.’ This is a plan to lift up the poor and downtrodden which weaves together “a social fabric composed of residents and community institutions, upheld by the social supports that government budgets are intended to nurture.”

Another version of the Marshall Plan writ large. I have been listening to my liberal friends express their belief about the ameliorative impact of public spending on social programs since Michael Harrington discovered American poverty back in 1962.  Every few years someone like Sharkey comes along, tells us that we need to spend more money but need to spend it in a different way and things will be just fine.

How does Sharkey want the money spent?  Various programs “that would iteratively shrink the uses of the criminal justice system,” such as after-school activities for the kids, summer employment, better lighting of public spaces, these and other programs of course being based on the “best science that we have.” The liberals always trot out science whenever they want to justify plans for social change.

The paper published by Sharkey and his colleagues is advertised as a ‘pilot project’ that should be conducted in New York City and then expanded to other urban, inner-city zones which experience high levels of violence and social distress. The whole point of this approach is to get various community groups to become more involved in street-level activities that will create social cohesion and allow the police to operate only when crime or violence gets out of hand.

What I find very interesting in this compassionate and hopeful approach to inner-city poverty and crime is a complete absence of any discussion at all about the two issue which are more responsible for creating and sustaining the violence endured by these neighborhoods than anything else: housing projects and guns.

The single, moist violent neighborhood in New York City is a neighborhood in Brooklyn called East New York. Back in the 1920’s, this area was a location for immigrant Jews, all of whom moved out during the decade following World War II. They were replaced by an impoverished Black population, many of whom had roots in the South.

Where did this new population live when they came to East New York? They were crammed into the single, worst, most disgusting housing ever invented for human beings, namely, the housing projects which still dominate the skyline in East New York. These projects were invented by liberal academics known as urban planners and I don’t notice that an urban expert like Professor Sharkey says one word about the existence of these vertical slums.

Yea, yea, I know that the word ‘slum’ is a word I’m not supposed to use.  What should I call these monstrosities?  Garden apartments like they have in Queens?

Then there’s the other little, unmentionable issue, which we refer to as guns.  Last week, there were 50 shootings in New York City, of which almost half occurred in Brooklyn, many in East New York. Does Sharkey and his colleagues at the Square One Project have a plan that can displace the cops when someone pulls out a banger and bangs someone else in the head?

Know what Professor Sharkey can do with his plan?  He can add it to his CV and use it as a script when he appears at TED.