I too get a certain sense of delight seeing a map of the “Hillary archipelago” a few blue counties drowning in an immense sea of red. Yet I still remember that LA, NYC, or Chicago areas, each easily outnumber all the population of the mountains, northern Great Plains, and the Great Basin combined. The vast stretch in between Reno, Salt Lake City and Omaha up to the Canadian border has possibly less than 10 million in it out of a country of 330 million. If not for provisions protecting small states built into the constitution, these outlying provinces would be politically irrelevant.
Even aside from overwhelming quantity, cities have been the natural generators of culture, art, and ideas since the beginning of civilization. It is a common sentiment in the dissident right to be disdainful of the city, and having lived in cities, I vehemently agree with most of their points. I only disagree with the conclusion that the city ought to be written off and surrendered. On the contrary, the goal should be to take the city back.
When you have millions of people who can hop on a subway for a few bucks and see each other within the hour at any time, you can have groups of even highly unusual types of people that can meet up regularly. Nobody reaches their full potential alone. Throughout history look at any group of contemperaneous authors, artists, or thinkers and usually they all knew each other or at least corresponded. These social circles generally had to form in cities.
The internet made the fluid real-time formation and exchange of ideas possible outside of urban areas for the first time, but this interaction remains abstract and ghostly until it is consolidated by regular interaction in person between people. In the countryside a nascent high IQ counterculture is usually too diffusely distributed. The city allows for the concentration of a critical mass of neo-tribalists in close proximity where they can interact and their energies can be amplified.
We will know the internet dissidents have fully transitioned into the real world not just when they have rallies, but when there are urban neighborhoods people associate with their identity that have their own public events and meeting places. There are, however, the circumstances we have now that make cities ridiculously overpriced, unsafe, and dirty. The dissidents might begin as a rough urban enclave bringing improvement to a small area but with long term goals in mind of how cities ought to be managed to maximize civilizational creativity.
Firstly, we should reflect on the problem of unproductive underclasses flooding into urban areas. A properly run system wouldn’t allow this. The poorest will always be crushingly poor no matter where you put them. Productive people produce far more wealth if they have easy access to urban areas. It does not make sense to even allow underclasses near the cities. By simply occupying space, they drive up prices for scarce real estate. This is compounded by the fact that any place they congregate becomes uninhabitable for law-abiding cooperators. Even worse, crime spreads outward from these dead zones and further contributes to making cities into violent undesirable sinkholes people work a job in and then flee from at 4 PM.
In a righteous empire, the city should be seen as a desirable privileged place that non-rich cooperators are rewarded with access to, not a third world hellhole. Obviously every city has many lower IQ jobs that need to be done, but that just requires an orderly, properly vetted working class preferably with higher IQ and conscientiousness than their work strictly requires. Every person who lives in an urban area incurs a significant opportunity cost for society if they do not need to be there or are not the best choice to fill their scarce spot with.
When skilled professionals making six figures start living in their employer’s parking lot, we already know society has seriously mismanaged its resources and infrastructure. Just think of all the wealth that gets wasted in a huge bonfire as people compete for scarce access to the economy’s machinery! When poor planning and a dysfunctional undercaste prevent wealth producers from reaching the means of production, it’s kind of like cells getting blocked from processing oxygen by exposure to cyanide.
Of course, the main structural problem of cities in all times and places is they are “gene shredders” as Spandrell calls it. Civilizations rise as the brightest and most capable congregate in cities and declines as they fail to breed or are massively outbred by the peasantry and underclass. The automobile and with it the modern suburb allow people to participate in the urban economy while still reproducing at near-replacement levels. Real light rail systems would be a lot better still. Thus admission into the suburbs also must also be carefully controlled to have a sustainable high agency urban society.
In the longer run, I hope new technologies might even make cities less important and allow people to live outside of nodes on a narrow grid that are natural chokepoints for rent-seekers. The obvious strategic problem with modern mega-cities is their huge vulnerability to attack. Having all the best and brightest in one spot of course means it’s not that hard to decapitate an entire civilization with a single strike.
So long as the city remains the center of modern human power and organization, any dissidents require at least a foothold there.