Category Archives: Minneapolis

Defunding police will leave a bigger void than leftists realize

Leftism is a rules-based system, not a morals-based system. Societies with only morals can manage without police; societies with only rules cannot.

Growing up in San Francisco, I navigated through the geography of my community by the compass. The Pacific was to the west, the Bay was to the east, the Golden Gate Bridge was to the north, and San Francisco State, Stonestown Mall, and Lowell High School were to the south. These were absolute values. No matter where I was in the City, if I could just find one of my compass points, I wasn’t lost.

Absolute values are even more useful when you’re in an unfamiliar place. If someone tells you to go left on Main, left on State, right on Laurel, and left on Oak, you’ll do fine as long as you keep your left and your right properly aligned at all times. But woe betide you if you get turned around, because then right is left and left is right, and before you know it, you’re re-living Thomas Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities. However, if someone tells you to go east at the intersection of State and 1st, or to turn west after you pass the donut shop, you’ll always know where you go.

Morals are compass points. They function as blazing neon lights that keep us from getting lost in a complicated world. They’re not situational, except in the greatest of extremes. For the most part, the Eighth Commandment (Thou shalt not steal) is clear. If it’s not yours, don’t take it, whether it’s money, a toy, a package in front of someone’s house, another person’s freedom, or someone’s life. We understand that exigent circumstances, such as survival in war or famine, create exceptions but mostly it’s pretty clear. If you steal from greed, laziness, boredom, or a desire for thrills, you are not moral.

The Sixth Commandment (Thou shalt not murder) is also clear. Murder’s most basic definition is intentionally killing another for no reason other than to achieve a wrongful benefit or to satisfy a sick or intemperate pleasure. The commandment allows for killing in self-defense or to defend another, or to fight in a (presumably just) war. Our laws carve out other exceptions, such as negligence or insanity, but everything is still a subset of that big moral imperative: Don’t murder people.

The great thing about these large moral principles is that they’re always there. They’re there if you’re in the city or the country, if you’re black or white, if you’re male or female, gay or straight, or whatever other condition you want to put on yourself. Don’t steal. Don’t kill. You’re not lost with these moral directives; you can always find your way.

Morals are our compass points.

But morals don’t exist in a vacuum. What all angry mother’s eventually holler — “Because I said so” — is not a sound basis for a continuing moral system. If you can say so, that means everyone else can say so too. Morals become opinions. That might work for a single generation, with people tend to cluster around the same opinions, but mere opinions eventually lose their persuasive powers.

That’s where God comes in. Significantly, you don’t need to have everyone in society believing in God. Instead, it’s like herd immunity. If enough people believe that these vast principles come from an external, timeless, source, the principles will integrate into societal behavior. The non-believers may discount God but will rationalize their way to accepting that the principles silly people believe come from God are still good things.

In a society that is committed to these principles, the moral equivalent of herd immunity works to keep the majority of the people in line. Policing can indeed be community policing, with a minimalist police force, if the majority of people share the same moral values. That works best in a small, like-minded community. The bigger the population, the lower the herd immunity, the more people will deviate from the big rules and the more help you need armed help to constrain bad actors who reject the rules.

And then there’s leftism. Leftism has no fixed principles. Well, that’s not quite true. The fixed principle is power. Everything else is an ever-changing system of rules that help carry out whatever objectives the state happens to have on that day. In a leftist society, it’s impossible to be “moral,” because there are no compass points that define moral behavior. Today you can rob from the rich because they oppose the state. Tomorrow you can’t rob from the rich because they are the state. There’s no moral principle attached to stealing. The rules simply apply to who’s in and who’s out.

Power accrues to the rule-makers, who are careful to change the rules constantly in order to stay one step ahead of everyone else. Stand still and someone else will be making the rules to prove that they have the power and suddenly you’re the one in the gulag or staring down the wrong end of a gun — and you definitely need the gun to enforce the rules because they are not internal rules. They’re arbitrary and capricious, and you need neurotic people bouncing around frantically to stay one step ahead of “the law.” When they’re doing that, they’re not trying to overthrow the power brokers.

What’s so funny about Minneapolis, which just voted to do away entirely with police, is that the leftists-in-charge belief that people will simply behave well because of “the community.” What they fail to grasp is that “the community” is not a value. It’s just a collective.

This new Minneapolis community will end up having rule makers, but no rule enforcers. And because it’s leftist, there won’t be any external values to constrain people’s worst instincts. The members of the collective will do what they want. And as the lawbreakers realize that there’s nothing to hold them back, their victims will get very violent in an attempt to stave them off.

I’ve noted before that the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul get away with their virtue signaling because they’re pretty, nice cities. Their garbage gets picked up, people have virtue-signaling signs in their yards, and homes are spacious and pleasant looking. That’s going to end with remarkable speed.

I keep thinking of Zimbabwe and it’s total collapse after Mugabe announced that he was going to give all the farms to black people because whites were evil colonialists. Unfortunately, the blacks didn’t know how to farm. In less than a decade, Zimbabwe went from being one of Africa’s more prosperous nations to being an economic basketcase, with people starving in the streets. The fall, once it happens, is fast.

Just listen to the immoral — whoops! I meant immortal words of Minneapolis’s uber-white, anarcho-socialist City Council president, Lisa Bender, discussing the fact that it’s “privileged” to expect police protection.

The woman has no morals. She’s just a sea of soft-sounding words and, behind it all, a lust for power. Minnesota is going to have a white-flight the likes of which has never been seen in America, even in areas such as Detroit in the 1970s. The only thing that makes me sad is that the leftists leaving those cities, like the Bourbons, will have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They’ll head to safe conservative communities (made up of both blacks and whites), and work hard to destroy those communities’ moral underpinnings and replace them with leftism’s power-based, morality-free rules.

Minneapolis riots — Another leftist city reaps what it sowed

The riots in Minneapolis were inevitable for Leftist policies against racism and income inequality lead to racism, income inequality, and police brutality.

Tom Wolfe famously said, “The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.” Aside from being as true now as it was the day he spoke those words, a variant applies to America as well: “The dark night of racism and income inequality is always descending in America’s conservative heartland and yet lands only in its Democrat-run cities.”

This should not surprise anybody. Democrat policies, even as they ostensibly “fight” racism and income inequality, create the perfect environment for those vices to grow and eventually smother the host.

Income inequality inevitably occurs when the government perverts the marketplace. Humans are marvelously adaptable creatures. We will follow wherever the incentives lead. In leftist cities, the incentives are broken. The government puts its thumb on the scale all over the place.

As just one example, think of rent control, which leftists argue is necessary to ensure that poor people can afford rent. Additionally, what’s paired with rent control is a set of laws that makes it almost impossible for a landlord to evict non-rent paying tenants.

What these two sets of law do is shrink rental stock. If you have rent control and it’s impossible to evict deadbeat tenants, there’s no profit and therefore no incentive for people to invest in rental property. In addition, for those who have braved the rental market, landlords are loath to maintain it at anything other than a bare minimum of livability. This is why leftist cities end up with housing for the wealthy and slums (see, e.g., San Francisco). The process has been slower in Minneapolis, which has more acreage than San Francisco but rest assured, even Minneapolis will get there.

“Under-classism,” which is where so much racism incubates, will invariably occur when you have a government that incentives the underclass. Welfare is one example. I believe in taking care of the widows and orphans, by which I mean people who are truly unable to care for themselves. However, our welfare system, beginning in the 1960s, incentivized single-motherhood. Indeed, it was set up to ensure, not only that women jettisoned husbands, who decreased their welfare payments but to make it profitable to have more children.

Back in the 1970s, even 60 Minutes noticed a problem with this, for I distinctly remember an episode that spoke about the way New Jersey’s welfare system was set up to make having illegitimate babies economically sensible for young women, with more babies bringing in significantly more money. As well all know, single motherhood is the most certain path to generational poverty. That episode, by the way, was one of the first stepping stones in my long, slow journey across the Rubicon from Democrat to conservative.

Leftist cities also have hosts of regulations, all with an eye to making things “more fair” for the poor and for minorities. However, by making business too expensive and difficult, the laws just drive businesses out. I’ve written before about the way in which the legal problems associated with firing minority employees mean that employers leave the marketplace, creating unemployment and a lower tax base.

In addition, those laws tell minorities, who are not incompetent but are, instead, completely rational, know that they don’t have to work as hard to keep a job. The law, therefore, degrades them, for the offer employers their worst conduct not their best. “Best,” after all, takes energy, and conservation of energy is one of the universe’s most honored controlling principles.

Another way leftist cities creating an underclass is the misguided sympathy that sees them allowing street crimes and underwriting drug use. Last year, Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s Marxist District Attorney, announced that he would no longer prosecute any lifestyle crimes, making the city one giant cesspool. Not only does this draw in the criminals and addicts, but it also drives out the tax base. People with jobs and families can no longer stay in that kind of environment.

One thing that happens when you’ve created this kind of landscape is that the police degrade. Instead of having true community policing, where the police and the law-abiding in the community have a partnership aimed at keeping the environment healthy, you end up with police facing off against the functional equivalent of zombies, whether gangbangers or insane druggies.

It’s the rare police officer dealing with this day after day who can hang onto humanity and decency. Eventually and inevitably, police stop seeing the people on the other side of the thin blue line as fellow humans. Instead, because government policies induce many to act like animals, the police fall into the error and evil of treating them that way.

This problem (i.e., police dehumanizing the citizens they’re supposed to protect) gets worse as good cops leave the police departments in decayed cities. Two things happen, then. First, the only ones left are the bad cops. Second, applicant quality declines, leaving the police departments stuck hiring people who shouldn’t be holding badges and guns. (I urge you to read the book I reviewed in this post, for it tells about the horrible damage a bad police department can do.)

When you have a large enough underclass, and you light the spark, suddenly you have Minneapolis. This poster sums it up:

Minneapolis riots v MLK civil rights protests

Martin Luther King led law-abiding citizens who dreamed of being middle-class people in a functional society. Black Lives Matters draws its strength from the mob. It has no intention of encouraging its followers into civilized behavior. It needs anger, chaos, and terror to achieve its power.

Part of me looks at what’s happening in Minneapolis and thinks, “That’s so awful. It’s a very nice Midwestern city and I really hate seeing random destruction.” The other part of me looks at what’s happening and thinks, “For decades, you’ve been pursuing hard-left policies that create greater economic inequalities and that highlight racial divides, all while you’ve been smugly telling conservatives that they’re evil for not doing the same as you. All you did, though, was worsen those problems. As you sow, so shall you reap. In other words, it couldn’t happen to a more smug group of leftists.”

Speaking of this karmic leftist wheel, which sees Democrat-run communities smugly enact policies that create greater poverty and more racism, lets talk about the mobs targeting Target. I’m sorry to see Target stores looted because I value private property and a well-ordered world.

Still, there is something karmic about it happening to Target of all companies. After all, Target, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, is one of America’s most dutiful virtue-signaling corporations. Who can forget its decision to open women’s restrooms to all genders? Likewise, if you go to a Target in June, you’re buried in LGBTQ rainbow iconography. The leftist virtue-signaling is smothering.

Of course, the sad thing is that these leftists will not learn from this failure. Instead, like the classic insane person, they’ll keep doing the same thing, all the while hoping for a different outcome. Indeed, if history is a guide, they’ll double down on their bad policies.