The Great Getaway

A friend who sells high-end real estate tells the story of a well-heeled Northern couple who were enchanted by the idea of owning an antebellum Southern mansion.  He met them at the airport and took them to one of our charming old South Carolina towns—one that, having failed to be liberated by the U.S. Army in 1864-65, contained several attractive properties.  Scarcely had they arrived, however, when the two demanded to be taken back to the airport.  It was evident that the sight of large numbers of black Carolinians in the streets, going about their work and leisure, had led to rapid disenchantment on the part of our prospective citizens.

This is not exactly what Kevin Kruse means by white flight.  He has in mind those evil Southerners who have fled Atlanta in recent decades rather than stand and fulfill what he considers their moral duty: Stay behind in pursuit of Kruse’s commonplace yet fantastical daydream of egalitarian paradise.  High taxes, crime, corruption, and nonfunctional schools seem to the author a small price for others to pay for the realization of his desideratum.  Yet most people will sympathize with those in flight, even if they have created the endless nightmare of suburban congestion that is a damned nuisance for anyone trying to get past Atlanta to some civilized place like Forsyth or Macon.  Of course, when Southerners do something bad, they are simply confirming...

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