Leftist NYT Scribe Nicholas Kristof Weakly Admits Progressive Policies Are Destroying West Coast Cities

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has, despite his best efforts, succumbed to a rare outbreak of at least partial honesty. His June 15, 2024 column “What Have We Liberals Done to the West Coast?” contains several doubtless embarrassing moments of lucid thought, correct perception, and acceptance of truths that will inexorably land Kristof in scalding hot water amidst his peers as they feverishly pound out story after story declaring such “it’s true because I say so” moments such as Joe Biden being fit as a tack and sharp as a fiddle, or something like that.


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Kristof notes some inconvenient truths regarding the condition of major cities on the West Coast, said condition best identified by language unsuitable for a family publication.

As Democrats make their case to voters around the country this fall, one challenge is that some of the bluest parts of the country — cities on the West Coast — are a mess.

Centrist voters can reasonably ask: Why put liberals in charge nationally when the places where they have greatest control are plagued by homelessness, crime and dysfunction?

Fear not; Kristof is nowhere near correctly assigning fault to the failed policies, platforms, and practices that make progressivism a cultural, creative, and collective cesspool. No, it’s only how those darn Haight-Ashbury refugees implement it.

(M)y rejoinder to Republican critiques is: Yes, governance is flawed in some blue parts of America, but overall, liberal places have enjoyed faster economic growth and higher living standards than conservative places. That doesn’t look like failure.

Tell that to the people of Chicago.

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So the problem isn’t with liberalism. It’s with West Coast liberalism.

But of course. I, for one, am amazed Kristof doesn’t lay blame for progressivism’s utter failure whenever and wherever implemented in California, Oregon, and Washington on radiation emanating from the Pacific Ocean courtesy of that darn Godzilla.

Kristof continues tying himself into a Gordian knot of acknowledging where the blame lies... without actually admitting where the blame lies.

Sometimes I wonder if the West is less serious about policy than the East and less focused on relying on the most rigorous evidence. There’s some evidence for that.

So my take is that the West Coast’s central problem is not so much that it’s unserious as that it’s infected with an ideological purity that is focused more on intentions than on oversight and outcomes.

Let’s break this down. If you have an ideology that, when implemented, fails to produce the desired effects, you have a … oh, what’s the expression … wait, I’ve got it! Failed ideology. Now, suppose the government must modify the ideology beyond recognizability or abandon it altogether to produce the desired effects. In that case, you have a — once more with feeling, folks — failed ideology. No, Mr. Kristof, the fault does not lie with the West Coast version of your precious progressivism. It is progressivism itself that is to blame.


Writing this next part must have been brutal for Kristof.

I ran for governor in Oregon two years ago (I was ousted from the ballot by Oregon’s then-secretary of state, who said I didn’t meet the residency requirement). While running, I’d meet groups of liberal donors in Portland, as the city’s problems cast a shadow over all of us; we’d all be wondering nervously if our catalytic converters were in the process of being stolen. The undercurrent in such a liberal gathering would be the failures of Republicans — but Portland was one mess we couldn’t blame on Republicans, because there simply aren’t many Republicans in Portland. This was our liberal mess.

So maybe the solution is less liberalism, Nicholas?

We need to get our act together. Less purity and more pragmatism would go a long way. But perhaps the first step must be the humility to acknowledge our failures.

Translation: The left will never get its act together.

In my younger days, I read and re-read J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of The Rings.” One of the elements I noticed was Tolkien’s ability to write himself out of corners complex enough to derail most authors. An example is the character Tom Bombadil, about whom Tolkien established early on was immune to Sauron’s One Ring’s destructive effects on whoever wore it. This led to the question of why not send Bombadil to destroy the Ring instead of Frodo and company? As Gandalf explained:

[I]f he were given the Ring, he would soon forget it, or most likely throw it away. Such things have no hold on his mind. He would be a most unsafe guardian; and that alone is answer enough.

No one is in danger of confusing Nicholas Kristof with J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien is one of the giants of literature; Kristof, not so much. For example, Tolkien could and did work his way out of plotline possibilities that would render his given narrative illogical. Kristof, alas for him, possesses no such gift. Which, when your fundamental argument is fundamentally flawed, is unsurprising.



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