I Left My Hate in San Francisco
I arrived in San Francisco an agitating radical. Decades later I left an agitated conservative. With its variety pack of human types and myriad available life paths seemingly as fascinating as its meandering undulating roads, San Francisco presented itself as the irresistibly perfect escort to help usher a youth into adulthood. It had character. It had charm. It had beauty, man-made and natural. It had mood-altering views, man-made and natural. It had movies made in it. It had paintings painted of it. It had poems written about it. It had songs sung for it. And, it had hate.
There were ne’er-do-wells who hated the well-to-do, misfits who hated the well-adjusted, unfulfilled talents with mediocre jobs who hated mediocre talents with fulfilling jobs, feminists who hated men for being too masculine and women for being too feminine, the racially wounded from grievances both real and imagined who hated White people, pleasure seekers who hated soul searchers, the unlucky who hated the lucky, the unworldly who hated the world weary. All the dilapidated castles in the air and wilted flower children and sour grapes, the frustrations and anger, misplaced and lost, converged, loosely united around some vague sense of urgency to end the traditional and fight the status quo.
It was a political movement waiting to happen. It didn’t take long for demagogues to take notice. The hate just needed some organization and a good marketing strategy. The marketing plan aimed to legitimize the hatred of the have-nots or have-less towards the have-mores as a battle for justice. First, there would be an economic approach (hat-tip Marx) in which hatred or envy towards higher classes would become compassion for the lower classes. The current allocation of wealth towards achievement would be demonized as corruption or greed. Next, there would be the cultural approach, exploiting the recent overwhelming consensus over civil rights injustices by harnessing this bounty of legitimate outrage for illegitimate claims, the fraudulence of which would be difficult for the outraged to discern. The social justice counterfeiting, especially boosted by guilt by association (however tenuous), would allow for many more opportunities to target the haves, repackaging reflexive blame for one’s inadequacies and unreflective hostility towards the haves as noble positions against racism and sexism (with sexual identity and environmentalism soon to follow).
This new and improved San Francisco homegrown blend of left-wing activism attracted many more participants, both the principled, who were largely duped by the marketing, and the unprincipled who were not. The unprincipled needed a place to express their malevolence and a place to hide it. The unprincipled consisted of dangerous individuals full of hate and ready to act on it, cruelly, lawlessly, and even violently; individuals just as hateful and hostile but preferring others to do all the acting; and those whose ambitions for power exceeded whatever principles they believed they held. The unprincipled were essentially leeches, tyrants, and bureaucrats (oh my). The many alleged injustices would require an expanding state, with many new openings for faceless bureaucrats (the most successfully faceless promoted to leadership) and demagogues. To ensure support and justification, the bloated state would also require a large welfare class dependent on economic or identity group protection, whose support could always be purchased.
The principled consisted of those so unable to reconcile reason and emotion, theories and practice, dreaming and achieving. It was as if a dense fog formed within those gaps, affecting their perceptions and preventing otherwise good people from recognizing the dangers of the unprincipled haters. Others who were principled and aware of the hazards of the unprincipled became gatekeepers, attempting to capture the energy of the dangerous elements while minimizing their influence.
Depending on the precise proportion of this final group, the virulence of the Left could run the gamut from worthy advocates of peace, the marginalized, and civil liberties to lovable kooks to a drain on the nation to weapons of mass political destruction threatening to erode the foundation upon which the nation has thrived. Over time, San Francisco’s diminishing middle class (many young professionals maintain residency only until parenthood while the remaining highly ethnic middle class is often pleased by the Left’s offers of race-based benefits and protection), the influx of both indoctrinated graduates and unassimilated immigrants, a more radicalized country with other radicalized regional outposts, and the gradual dominance of intolerant aggressors in an environment of tolerant accommodators, the gatekeepers have either cravenly joined one of the other treacherous leftist groups or been exiled into the political wilderness.
With the gatekeepers a non-factor and near complete institutional infiltration, the Left may now dispose of any pretense of principle. As it turns out, the Left has always favored racial hierarchies, as long as White males are on the bottom. The Left has always desired censorship and the repression of civil liberties, the police state, and even war and environmental degradation. It was simply that the Left wanted to be the one in charge of the levers of inhumanity, able to exempt itself from its own brutal policies while applying draconian tactics to weaken and abuse political opponents for their own pleasure and political gain. The Left was never interested in tolerance and compassion, only towards those who resemble them, checking all the ever-multiplying boxes, their own tribe as they whimsically and arbitrarily define it. There is nothing admirable in this kind of tribal compassion. All the most infamous tyrants and monsters in history (whose names everyone knows) had this same kind of compassion, protecting and caring only for the increasingly narrow definitions of their own kind, while destroying the dignity, the rights, even the lives of the rest.
San Francisco is free to be what it wants to be. If the rest of the country deemed San Francisco too wacky or twisted or wrong or hateful, it could reject the SF way. But now San Francisco is not content to remain behind its own borders, for the very nature of its hate and intolerance is proselytizing and parasitic and predatory. First there was Senator SF, then House Speaker SF, then Governor SF, then VP SF. And finally, to the bridge that narrowing political gap between SF, the epicenter of leftism, and America, San Francisco eagerly awaits its crowning achievement, President SF.
The Left builds its moral high ground on the landfill of exaggerated and fabricated threats, from charges of systemic racism and sexism to targeted attacks on the productive class and apocalyptic climate hysteria. If these fraudulent existential threats are ever exposed, then the political opponents cannot be evil and the left cannot be virtuous. The protection that so many sought and the principles so many relied on for redemption are no longer valid. The force of simple truths would shake the fragile foundation of the Left’s political edifice, its castles of hate, at times seeming so daunting and indestructible, and it would all come tumbling down. The pressures that build up from long-repressed truths and injustices are upon their release prone to tremors, earthquakes even, which, as San Francisco can attest to, have been known to happen now and then.
Image: Pax Ahimsa Gethen