How does the city bounce back from this?

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

One of the enduring mysteries of life is how people and societies can see disaster coming and do nothing to avoid it.

It is a testament to the power of inertia. You do things a certain way long enough and it becomes psychologically impossible to change until something makes you.


You see it all the time, and those of us who are not self-disciplined enough (like me) experience it in our lives. I gotta start that diet. Time to save more of my income. Really ought to cut back on soda…

The solutions can be obvious, and sometimes not even that onerous, but we put off the change because of inertia.

We are seeing this principle in real time with the collapse of cities like San Francisco and Portland. They have been liberal bastions for so long that the idea of bucking the Democrat Party is unthinkable, no matter how bad things get. And they are getting very very bad in both cities.

San Francisco has produced some of the most powerful politicians in California. Off the top of my head, I can name the current governor, Gavin Newsom, the current VP, Kamala Harris, and of course Senator Diane Feinstein. Many of the most powerful people in the legislature hail or hailed from the city, and the tradition of moving up the ladder from SF to the heights of power is ancient in political terms.

When the Democrat Party took its radical Left turn the city moved with it–led it, in fact–and the results have been disastrous.


Retailers have fled, the real estate market has collapsed to the point that buildings are being turned over to banks by major corporations, others are selling at 20 cents on the dollar, and residents are actually picking up and moving out of one of the most blessed cities in America.

You literally cannot buy ice cream anymore without having somebody unlock the freezer.

Oddly, unlike other cities, the crimes are rarely violent, relatively speaking. They are mostly quality-of-life crimes. The sorts of things that make your day-to-day existence miserable. The city is turning into a dystopia before our eyes.

Many people will stick it out, and hardly anybody will vote them out, no matter how bad it gets. Because of inertia, or insufficient resources to pack up and leave.

The wealthy will find a way around the inconveniences, as they do in the third world. Living in the equivalent of compounds with private security, having everything delivered, and being chauffeured from place to place. They will tut-tut about the city’s decline, and fund the next Leftist candidate who will make it decline even more.

It’s maddening to watch because it was all quite preventable. It needn’t have been this way. Better politics and better policing wouldn’t create a crime-free utopia but could have found a balance between a police state and…this. After all, San Francisco’s crime policies are basically a recruitment tool for people to become criminals.


FREE MONEY! Come and get it. People who would never have committed crimes now do so in front of the world, happy to be on video while they rampage. Because the city encourages it. Free money with no consequences. If somebody tries to stop you THEY will get fired and perhaps go to jail.

We see the power of inertia everywhere we look. We all know that the national debt can’t keep going up forever, but who is stopping it before the crash comes? Mortgage-backed securities were clearly a bubble. Obesity. Smoking. Voting for the Left. Lots of things give you enough minor reinforcement that you accept the downsides, expecting things to improve.

Will anything change this trajectory in San Francisco, and in many places in our country?

The answer of course is “Yes.” But whether it is change spawned by collapse, as in Detroit in the 1970s, or the kind of change New York chose by electing Rudy Giuliani in 1994 we don’t know yet.


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