Historically, the media and press have served an arbitrating function among competing urban forces. No longer. Through the pandemic and now the protests, much of the urban-based media have become bizarrely invested in apocalyptic story lines, picking at scab after scab and problem after problem, with not much effort at sorting substantive policy alternatives other than heading deeper into the progressive frontier.

The message being sent is that progressive governance is, at best, ambivalent about maintaining civil order. The net result the past three months has been a sense in many cities of irresolvable chaos, stress and threat.

I think many younger, often liberal families would stick it out if they thought there was anything resembling a coherent strategy to address this mess—the new health threat, the homeless, the rising crime, the filth, the increasingly weird school curriculums. But there is no strategy.

The quality of the response by both political and institutional urban leadership to the pressure of these two events has been so uniformly unproductive that it sends a message: The cost-benefit just isn’t working anymore, with incentives mounting to move out.