Steven Hayward of Powerline calls our attention to an interview given by New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio. It’s quite revealing—not just about de Blasio, but about the leftist mindset concerning the role of government, our legal system, and what people themselves want [emphasis mine]:
Q: In 2013, you ran on reducing income inequality. Where has it been hardest to make progress? Wages, housing, schools?
de Blasio: What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property. I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be. I think there’s a socialistic impulse, which I hear every day, in every kind of community, that they would like things to be planned in accordance to their needs. And I would, too. Unfortunately, what stands in the way of that is hundreds of years of history that have elevated property rights and wealth to the point that that’s the reality that calls the tune on a lot of development…
…Look, if I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed. And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents. That’s a world I’d love to see, and I think what we have, in this city at least, are people who would love to have the New Deal back, on one level. They’d love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day-to-day reality.
It’s not reachable right now. And it leaves this friction, and this anger, which is visceral.
There’s an awful lot packed in there, isn’t there?
First and foremost, we have the fact that de Blasio feels comfortable enough to express these sentiments openly rather than hide them. My guess—and it’s only a guess—is that he really believes that most New Yorkers, and maybe even most people in the US, agree with him about the function of government and how much it should dictate their lives. Sentiments and goals that just a few years ago were only whispered in private by any politician hoping to actually get elected are now declared openly by the current mayor of New York.
Next we have the scope of his vision. De Blasio would like the government to control as much as possible, and not just about real estate development. He says “[People would] love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day-to-day reality.” And if Bill de Blasio and his cronies have anything to say about it, that’s exactly what would happen—for your own good, of course, because you know it’s really what you want. When Orwell wrote in Nineteen Eighty-Four “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever,” it was a dystopian and horrific vision. De Blasio thinks it’s what we all secretly—and maybe not-so-secretly—want. And he thinks that he’s just the guy to do the stomping, only he’ll call it a love tap.
Next we have the idea that government is capable of accomplishing this sort of regulation much better than the market ever could, and much better than free and autonomous human beings ever could. When he says that “[people] would like things to be planned in accordance to their needs,” he’s not only echoing Marx (“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”), but he’s also assuming that government is capable of figuring out what people’s needs really are and designing a world that meets them (although it’s possible that he doesn’t really believe that and he’s just cynically saying it in pursuit of power).
Then we have the contempt for the rule of law and for hundreds and hundreds of years of protection of property rights under it. Does de Blasio have even the remotest understanding of why our system is designed the way it is, and why property rights are so protected? I doubt it. He seems to see it as a little thing, a mere anachronism that should be pushed aside in favor of the great beneficent government he wants (“That’s a world I’d love to see..”) put in place. And he says he knows that you want it, too.
Lastly is the ominous phrase “right now,” found in the next-to-last sentence of the quote. We’re not there yet, folks, but if the de Blasios of the world have their way, we’ll be there some day soon.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]DONATE
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