The Totalitarians of New York

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New York City mayors excel at banning everything from salt to carriages, but they are not very good at cleaning up the streets after a snowstorm.

There are two ways of looking at any major city; as a mechanical problem of buildings, streets and sewers whose infrastructures need to be maintained or as a social problem of misbehaving people. The mayors of the mechanical problem understand that they need to clean the streets, but the mayors of the social problem think that they have to fix the people.

Mayor Bloomberg flubbed the snow challenge badly. Instead of preparing road salt, he banned salt in restaurants. Instead of having a snow strategy for the winter, he had a Global Warming strategy for the next fifty years. Instead of doing his job, he kept trying to transform the people.

And his successor is no better.

Bill de Blasio’s focus after his mean-spirited inauguration was a ban on carriage horses in Central Park at the behest of a real estate developer who backed his campaign and has his eye on their stables, a tussle over who will get the credit for Pre-K with Governor Cuomo and the beating of Kang Wong, an 84-year-old man, over a jaywalking ticket.

The media had lavished praise on Bill de Blasio after his first photo op shoveling snow and celebrated his call to implement Vision Zero, a Swedish plan to cut traffic fatalities to zero, even though there was no remote possibility of reducing traffic fatalities to zero in a major city filled with cars, pedestrians, cyclists and even pedicabs.

Instead of preparing for the snow, Team De Blasio launched a crackdown on jaywalking in Manhattan where three-quarters of the residents don’t own cars. And so the Upper East Side, which didn’t vote for Bill de Blasio, became a snarled and unplowed mess and the jaywalking enforcers put an 84-year-old man in the hospital after arresting him for the tall order of “jaywalking, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct.”

Jaywalking is as much a part of New York as salty pretzels and the carriage horses of Central Park. While Bill de Blasio claimed to be inspired by Mayor La Guardia, the latter had an entirely different view of the relationship between the people and the city government.

“I prefer the happiness of our unorganized imperfection to the organized perfection of other countries,” La Guardia said after vetoing a jaywalking bill, and added, referencing the growing fascism in Germany that was then admired by many progressives, “Broadway is not Unter den Linden.”

The happiness of unorganized imperfection is about as close to expressing the contrast between the American and the European way of life as any phrase can. It’s also a foreign idea, not just to Bill de Blasio or Bloomberg, but to the larger political culture of urban progressives who are less interested in making the trains run on time, than in making the men and women run on time.

Mayor La Guardia was responsible for much of the city’s network of roads, bridges and tunnels that were built around the social changes in how people lived. From the disastrous ObamaCare websites to California’s light rail project, modern progressives squander billions on unworkable infrastructure that is supposed to fix social problems by changing how people live.

Modern progressives think that it is easier to change people than to change infrastructure. The classical city shaped infrastructure to accommodate how people lived, while progressives use infrastructure as a tool of social change to bully urban residents into changing how they live.

Bloomberg did this in blunt fashion by eliminating elevators to force people to get in shape by using the stairs and by blocking off streets to force people to abandon cars and use public transportation. Instead the number of cars in the city increased and so did the obesity rate.

Progressives are adept at politically manipulating people with propaganda, but this skill doesn’t translate well at the policy level. Obama won over younger voters, but can’t get them to enroll in ObamaCare. Politics is an abstract for most people. Policy is a reality. Politics is the image they want to have. Policy is how much money they have in the bank.

Bill de Blasio unrolled his Vision Zero plan for eliminating traffic fatalities by the year 2024 surrounded by the grieving mothers of dead children. It was a shameless performance that would have made even Piers Morgan wince. No one in the media pointed out that Bill de Blasio, like Obama, was using human shields to silence questions about a result that he can’t deliver.

Team De Blasio could have stopped far more accidents if it had prioritized the snowstorm. Instead there were dozens of accidents as cars slipped on sheets of ice. But the dirty business of cleaning the streets is never as appealing to progressives as glamorously rolling out a new policy.

Accepting unorganized imperfection is not a progressive trait and the assault on Kang Wong won’t be the last collision between Bill de Blasio and the ordinary people who will have to live through four years of his incompetence and abuses. The victories of the left are a master class in totalitarian tyranny and progressive failure, but too many voters disassociate politics from policy, judging candidates based on their media profiles, until they feel the effects of their policies.

Obama’s approval ratings did not implode until the voters actually experienced ObamaCare for themselves. Every conservative warning had fallen on deaf ears as Americans kept supporting a celebrity politician until the consequences of his policies caught up with them.

In Toronto, Rob Ford’s approval ratings have lifted after a snowstorm and he is on track to win reelection despite admitting to drug and alcohol abuse. The voters are making their decision based not on his ugly media profile, but on how well the snow got shoveled. It’s something that Bill de Blasio, who is better at posing for the cameras with a snow shovel than actually managing a snowstorm, ought to keep in mind.

Progressives are only popular until the people realize that the men and women offering them everything for free can’t clean up the snow, but can beat them bloody and can’t fix their healthcare, but can destroy it. The left wins at politics, but fails at policies. It’s learned to stop looking like Carter, but it hasn’t figured out how to stop governing like him.

When Americans realize that the political choices they make are also policy choices between large sodas, salty pretzels, open market health care and open streets on the one hand or food fascism, DMV health care and bloody faces on the other; they will choose the unorganized happiness of freedom over the disorganized tyrannies of Bloomberg, De Blasio and Obama.

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  • Fred Glass

    “Unorganized imperfection”, I love it. This article is a keeper.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      The phrase sprang out at me

  • http://www.ambrosekane.com/ bluffcreek1967

    To the editor, it’s okay to place paragraph breaks in the article. You’re welcome.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Upgrade your browser.

      Mosaic is no longer supported.

  • ZZ

    Unfotunately for the voters, the only thing they can do once Democrat policies have been enacted is to wait for the next election. But hey. If anybody can turn NYC into such a Hellhole that its brain dead voters choose a Republican candidate next time around, Commissar de Blasio is the one.

    A city that size must have a few pockets of sanity in it. I sure hope you live in one. Better chain yourself to your desk do you can afford to pay your taxes.

  • truebearing

    Well done, as always.

    Daniel, I’m sure I’m not the first to suggest this, but I think you should publish a compilation of your best essays, and soon. You’d have no shortage of big name endorsers and no lack of controversy to drive sales. Your ability to simplify, clarify, and distill politics is something that would do wonders for millions of Americans, young and old, who are confused, poorly informed, and constantly lied to.
    It would be ideal if it was available before this year’s elections, but imperative that it appear before those in 2016. Just a suggestion.

  • weirdpeter

    Yours was the first article I read this morning. As a result I have no need to read anymore about politics. You nailed it! You have stripped away the shiny veneer of leftists and have exposed the control gene that rules them all, They may have improved their pitch to the masses, but are still selling the same totalitarian snake oil. As long as voters suffer from short term memory loss, we will never get performance over promises and facts over feelings. The big question now is, will the nation come to its senses in time to save itself by throwing the control freaks out?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      If ObamaCare’s reign of destruction had come before the election…

      Still 2014 is shaping up well

  • radicalrepublican

    The left will never come to their senses no matter how bad it gets. The bottom line on Dumbocraps/liberals/Socialists: they will always vote for a politician whom they believe will “tax the rich”. Period. They could hate everything else about a candidate’s positions, but as long as taxing the rich is on the menu, that politician gets the votes. That is the only thing that keeps all Dumbocraps under their crazy tent. How else explain the crazy alliance of unions, enviro kooks, feminists, gay lobby, professors, etc.
    “Tax the rich!!!”

    • interventor

      Progressives, the very essence of invulnerable ignorance — pig ignorant to the end.

  • semus

    It’s disturbing that the Police are such willing thugs. They belong in Prison for what they’ve done.

    Is this a coincidence look who presided over De Blasios inauguration and who attended McAuliffes inauguration. Like vultures over a rotting corpse any place where there’s some political void you can bet they’ll be hanging around. We’ll never get rid of the stench of the Clintons.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Some FOOL, a speaker at Wilhelms inauguration, said that NYC is a “plantation”.

      That FOOL is a Slave. A Slave of stupidity, hyperbole and racism – against Black people.

  • joshuasweet

    with these totalitarians we do not get a choice with Obama we lost our choice

  • physicsnut

    sheesh – the NY Times piece ‘rumble over pre-K’ says that Cuomo and DeBlasio are – get this – ALPHA MALES !!!
    I was wondering if the Times site was hacked and i got redirected to TheOnion !

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Compared to the panty waists at the NYT, cuomo and wilhelm are “alpha males”.

  • interventor

    Comrade de Blasio and Il Duce Cuomo, what a blessing for New York!

    • BS77

      It s what the Democrat lemming voters want…more oppression, more rules, more autocratic leftist dictates about sugar, salt and global warming….the voters of New York are responsible…..

  • ColoursFed

    New York City mayors excel at banning everything That’s what your have just wrote! Notwithstanding, so do you David Horowitz! You ban any comment that does not agree to your political believes. You and the left are the one, there is no difference between you all, and that is you all want to specify our lives to your way of DESPOT thinking, the world and its people would be a lot better of with our all of you, some day the people will wake up and put it right.

    • T-Rex

      Even after trying to reconstruct this into English it still doesn’t make sense.

      • ColoursFed

        that’s because you are a cretin!

        • Drakken

          You got bit by the dumbazz monster didn’t you?

        • truebearing

          Please don’t shout at the mirror.

    • nomoretraitors

      At least you’re still posting here. I got banned from the National Memo, one of the most far left websites out there

    • kikorikid

      OK CF, It is obvious you have not read anything of DH’s
      journey through life. You are espousing the very tyranny
      that the Left is historically famous for:”some day people
      will wake up and put it right.” Is that when you begin your pogrom?
      YOU wake up! There is a war on conservatives and Christians at present and still low key. Leftist dummy thugs like yourself will unwittingly
      escalate it into open conflict. SURPRISE! Yamamoto was in NO
      quandary when he stated,”We can never invade the United States
      because there is a rifleman behind every blade of grass.”

    • Rob Hobart

      Get lost, Jew-hating loon. Flagged.

    • laura r

      i have seen the most polar opposite comments here. if they are written well w/out vulargarity, they are not deleted.

    • Toa

      So Horowitz blanks out comments which disagree with his “political believes”, and here we all are, reading your comment.
      In the words of the great Moe (Horwitz) Howard, “Why don’t you get a toupee with some brains in it??!!??”

  • Burlington

    The new mayor, labeled by J. Robert Smith at American Thinker as Bolshevik Bill will screw thing up like every other commie in power.

    • nomoretraitors

      I was calling him Comrade deBlasio but Bolshevik Bill works too

      • Omar

        Red Warren works also. Remember that Warren Wilhelm, Jr. (the mayor’s real name) is an unrepentant Marxist who forced the City Council to pick fellow Marxist Melissa Mark-Viverito to be the Council Speaker. Their relationship is even closer than that of Bloomberg and former Speaker Christine Quinn (that relationship was also close). When the mayor and the City Council speaker are allies and if they both are left-wing, the city’s residents will feel a large amount of political pain. Things were much better when Giuliani was mayor. He kept the City Council in check. What New York City needs is a Giuliani-type politician to be mayor. In last year’s mayoral election, Joe Lhota was the right candidate for the job, but he was defeated by Wilhelm. Lhota lost by over 40 percentage points. Hopefully, by the 2017 election, New Yorkers will vote Wilhelm out of office and restore sanity to City Hall.

        • nomoretraitors

          Red Warren. I like that

  • http://www.clarespark.com/ Clare Spark

    The fascinating question of who is bullying whom rears its head. Now the great defender of racial minorities is strutting his stuff, but he has no compassion for the rule of law. See Harvard’s take on what constitutes bullying here: http://clarespark.com/2012/09/19/bullies/, “Bullies.” And it ain’t the taxpayers, no matter how enlightened.

  • T-Rex

    Mr. Greenfield, I surmise many voters do not equate politicians with policy. Elections are now about bumper sticker catch phrases and celebrity status. Votes are easily captured with soundbites designed to target emotions and suppress thought. Think about it, why would a politician, whose mantra is tax the rich, seek to surround themselves with wealthy actors and rock stars to raise money? Simply because the idiot voters hear nothing but “tax the rich” and see nothing but their “idols”. Putting 2+2 together has become more than many voters can handle. The politicians and the celebrities move on to the next party and the rest of us are left to clean up the ballroom.

    • nomoretraitors

      “The politicians and the celebrities move on to the next party and the rest of us are left to clean up the ballroom”
      Excellent metaphor

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Sure until it hits them in the face

    • laura r

      remember the new math: 2 plus 2 = 5

  • nomoretraitors

    Will the federal government investigate? No, since the mayor is a democrat

  • Biff_Maliboo
    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Which one is the mayor?

      The guy with the Afro or the girl with flowers growing out her her head or the white slave master?

      Hat tip to the MORON who said at the Mayoral inauguration that NYC is a “plantation”.

    • Yulia Demkin

      Here, I made it more realistic.

      • RWFG

        hahah!!!!

        How do you embed images? I tried but it didn’t work

        • Yulia Demkin

          Look at the tiny icon just below the window where you write your message.

          • RWFG

            ty

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Where in the world did that come from? DeBlasio looks amazingly (unintentionally?) creepy?

      • Yulia Demkin

        http://www.pinterest.com/zoomousekey/sketchbook/

        The artist is one Laura Szumowski who, beside the DeBlasio family, appears to like unicorns.

        I was thinking of your “Its DeBlasio Time” subway pictures and threw the graffiti in it.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          It does capture the spirit

          • Toa

            Probably what the inside of his house looks like.

      • Biff_Maliboo

        Looks like Bob Filner.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Bloomberg, banning large cups of soda.

    Wilhelm Deblasio having the police beat down senior citizens for not following orders.

    Which is worse?

    • laura r

      guess it starts w/soda. then leads into violence. didnt take long did it? btw, two 16 onces of soda = 32. thats the way bloomberg supports the coke corp. as buying 2 16once costs more. people will still have their soda, & coca cola makes out. it was a no brainer from day one.

  • trapper

    The Left is totalitarian and wants to impose a Leftist “Sharia” upon all of us.

    • kikorikid

      I can only thank you once but I am going to use
      this sentence a mega-bunch of times!

  • Randy Townsend

    Well said, and absolutely correct. That failure of policy explains whey you never see them without armed government goons close by their side.

  • John Davidson

    Once the Federal law is neutralized, anything can happen and often does.

  • mtnhikerdude

    Bravo, Daniel !

  • http://www.ronlewenberg.com/ Ron Lewenberg

    Progressivism is about the immanentization of a secular eschaton. There
    is nothing messianic about the nitty gritty of getting the roads open.
    The misery of the people is not important. The utopian goals are.

  • UCSPanther

    Both Cuomo and De Blasio have more or less declared that Conservatives of any sort are unwelcome in New York.
    Definitely wanting to follow in the same path as their Sandinista idols…

  • RWFG

    Great article.

  • A Z

    “And in Chicago, one mayor’s response to a snowstorm some 35 years ago ended up costing him an election.

    When 18.8 inches of snow fell in Chicago in January 1979, then-Mayor Michael Bilandic took heat from area residents as streets were left unplowed – some of them rendered impassable for months. Bilandic was defeated in a landslide later that year by former Mayor Jane Byrne, who used Bilandic’s response to the blizzard as a primary campaign issue”

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/01/22/officials-say-traffic-slowed-nyc-snow-clearing-efforts/

    The politics of snow, or how to get ‘Bilandic-ed’
    March 15, 2006|By Charles Leroux.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-03-15/features/0603150212_1_snow-removal-michael-bilandic-jane-byrne

  • Omar

    American society is going downhill thanks to the left’s destructive policies. In New York City, Bloomberg’s destructive policies led to Wilhelm, who is even more of an extremist. The current mayor of the Big Apple is any of the three of NYC’s previous four mayors (except for Giuliani) on steroids, and I mean that in a horrific way. In fact, Wilhelm is the combination of Koch, Dinkins, Bloomberg, Obama (the Radical in Chief) and Nicaraguan Sandinista autocrat Daniel Ortega. In the Democrat mayoral primaries last year, Bill Thompson (who was the most moderate of the Democrat candidates) couldn’t stop Wilhelm. In the general election, Joe Lhota (an ideal politician for all New Yorkers) couldn’t stop him. Now that Wilhelm is mayor, the left has completed its modern conquest of New York that it started when Giuliani left office twelve years ago. At the rate we are going, New York may end up becoming another Detroit soon. As for the rest of the country, we are still going downhill due to the policies of Obama, the Radical-in-Chief. Only a conservative (the real classical liberal, not the so-called “liberal that the left views itself) leadership can put America on the right track.

  • A Z

    IMO Bill de Blasio is using the the Swedish campaign to say he brought down deaths in NYC while distracting New Yorkers from the rising death rate from crime due to liberal polcies.

  • ColoursFed

    kikorikid, and Drakke! Now I understand why all the people of the world hate Jews, the only thing coming out of your mouths, is flatulence. But, then you know that. Anything you do not understand, you label as left wing. Its a shame that your mother never educated you, or is it that you are one of these Jew ‘puffs’ that seem to feel good attacking anything you do not understand. Its in the eyes, lets see your photo, then we will know if your are or not. I do not like left wing people, but I do let them say what they are about, then make up my mind . The thing I loved when a soldier was to follow through my kill shoot and see the CT get blown away, and I did that in many countries. Did you three lowlife scum excuses for a human? Think not, you are the type to let others do the bleeding and dyeing for you, then make out that you were there!

    • Rob Hobart

      Anti-Semitic rantings of a hateful lunatic. Go away. Flagged for moderation.

      • Drakken

        Rob, don’t bloody flag him for christs sake! Let them show the world what they stand for, I for one do not believe in censorship, there is far too much of that going on in todays world without us adding to it.

    • Drakken

      I am a Catholic you dumbazz! I certainly do not want bans on speech and frankly, I want you to be able to spew the utter effing stupidity that you represent for all to see. Maybe if you had put on a uniform yourself, you would have a completely different perspective than the one afforded you by better men that you could ever be. Your welcome.
      By the way, I think the Israeli’s are far to nice to those effing ragheads and should give them a nice healthy taste of Carthage.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      This isn’t even an article that remotely relates to Jews.

      • rubber stamp

        “…urban progressives who are less interested in making the trains run on time, than in making the men and women run on time.” – brilliant. hands down )

    • rubber stamp

      “I was a supporter of the Jews” – a lie by a typical Liberal anti-Semite. How can you explain the fact that majority of Jews in USA are Liberal Democrats? ))) that fact alone exposed your hate-filed fascination with “blame the Jews for the snow fall cleanup failures”. Your dishonesty is obvious in every sentence of your pathetic monologue above. Only one thing you were truthful about is your hate of Jews. I’ll give you that ))

  • mackykam

    Comrade Wilhelm (De Blasio), the man who would be Kaiser Bill, displays his tedious, vacuous, intellectual pretensions in all its glory by seconding Cuomo stupidity.

  • M2000

    Bloomberg, de Blasio and Obama all supporting statist politicians both Republican and Democrat alike that love the state. They’re scum, liars, criminals and crooks.

  • Lorilu

    Chirlane, Bolshevik Bill’s wife, has hired one of Al Sharpton’s top aides to be her Chief of Staff, at a salary of $170K/year. This does not bode well for the city, either as to budget or to race relations.

  • Bob

    New York City is getting just what they voted for!

  • HWGood

    Let’s hope so.

  • AugustineThomas

    Well the weather outside is frightful!
    And the Leftists are getting spiteful,
    so if you’ve no place to go,
    die alone, die alone, die alone!! AHHHH

    Brave new world!

    :)

  • ColoursFed

    FrontPage Mag say we should not vote for labour Socialist left wing politics, Miliband’s labour party is Marxist, run by left wing Jews, and this is BAD, says FRONTPASGE MAG and David Horowitz, and his right wing Jewish supporters. Send them to Clifford’s Tower!

  • Marlin B. Newburn

    “Progressives are only popular until the people realize that the men and women offering them everything for free…….”

    Great and accurate article, but the above quote did not take into consideration one primary pathology of the progressive. Progressive sheeple don’t “realize” any failure in a corrupt and historically disastrous policy.

    Learning from policy failures is absent among the left. Their narcissism dictates they repeat failed and morally corrupt policies because they gloriously imagine their approach is different than previous ones, and thus their efforts will triumph – this time.

  • Ellman48

    “When Americans realize that the political choices they make are also
    policy choices between large sodas, salty pretzels, open market health
    care and open streets on the one hand or food fascism, DMV health care
    and bloody faces on the other; they will choose the unorganized
    happiness of freedom over the disorganized tyrannies of Bloomberg, De
    Blasio and Obama.”

    Well said, as always, Daniel. Another thing people need to realize about elections is that when they vote for a executive it’s a ‘package deal’, just like marriage. You get Obama and you get a boat load of leftist and socialist administrators and bureaucrats who don’t see your comfort and progress as their primary goals. No, they want not comfort but conformity, not progress but dependence.