The Geography of Snobbishness


Richard Florida, author of "The Rise of the Creative Class" and one of the formulators of the thoroughly-debunked "gay marriage is good for the economy" meme is out with a new article for the Atlantic comically called "The Geography of Tolerance".

Oh please. This strikes me as yet another elitist attempt to badger the "unevolved" masses into being more like their liberal neighbors by selecting indicators and measurements that Florida has decided represent good and laudable values and attitudes. For instance, Florida's metrics for how "tolerant" an area of the country includes factors such as "The Gay Index" (the concentration of gays and lesbians).

Florida expounds:

"Openness to gays and lesbians similarly reflects an ecosystem that is open to new people and new ideas. It’s amazing how consistently people have misconstrued what my colleagues and I have had to say about the connection between gays and economic growth. They miss the point. A strong and vibrant gay community is a solid leading indicator of a place that is open to many different kinds of people. Ronald Inglehart, who has studied the relationship between culture and economic growth for some four decades, has noted that the lack of societal acceptance of gays is the most significant remaining bastion of intolerance and discrimination around the world..."

...Really? "The most significant remaining bastion of intolerance and discrimination around the world" isn't say, apartheid, but "lack of societal acceptance of gays"? Pardon me for not trusting Florida's "geography of tolerance" if absurd claims like this constitute his starting point.

As for Florida's complaint that people have "misconstrued" what he has argued about gays and economic growth, actually I would argue that people have haven't misconstrued Florida -- they've refuted him. Steven Malanga, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute argued in the Wall Street Journal that Florida's "creative class" thesis was nothing more than "economic snake oil".

This Atlantic article by Florida is an abridged and revised excerpt from his new book, "The Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited" which is out this month, which means we can expert more charts and graphs of this kind in the future.

But snake oil in a new bottle is still just the same old snake oil.