Blue-city rule puts government managers between elected officials and the rank and file.
Seth Barron’s new book, The Last Days of New York, is in many ways a study of public administration, and one which teaches several lessons relevant beyond the New York City context. How do progressives govern? In New York City, progressives don’t need to pretend they respect conservative opinion. If “rule will show the man,” unchecked rule must be doubly revealing.
At present, disorder is progressives’ most vexing governance challenge. This is illustrated just as plainly by the Jazmine Headley incident Barron describes as the street crisis in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. The Jazmine Headley incident centered around a “victimless crime.” Those are some of the hardest crimes to fight. When public safety authorities concern themselves with “victimless” crimes, that seems to violate John Stuart Mill’s “harm principle”: why should behavior that directly harms no one be a punishable offense?
Stephen Eide is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor of City Journal.
Photo by Hailshadow/iStock