05 Sep 2007

The Bluest State

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Reviewing Jon Keller’s The Bluest State in the Wall Street Journal, Guy Darst shares some amusing quotations on the endemic political pathologies of the Bay State.

Massachusetts does not suffer alone from its notorious affection for liberalism, it is the incubator for “Massachusetts viruses” that infect the national Democratic Party. The viruses come in many forms: “addiction to tax revenues and a raging edifice complex couched in disrespect to wage earners; phony identity politics without real results for women and minorities; reflexive anti-Americanism in foreign affairs; vain indulgence in obnoxious political correctness; self-serving featherbedding; NIMBYism; authoritarian distortion of the balance of governmental power, all simmered in a broth of hypocritical paternalism.” …

Edifice complex? The state spent almost $15 billion building a highway tunnel under the city of Boston only to discover hundreds of leaks. The genius “Big Dig” builders used what might as well have been library paste to anchor the ceiling of an approach tunnel; four concrete panels weighing three tons each fell last summer, killing a female motorist.

Featherbedding? Back when the tunnel project was expected to cost half as much, a third of the costs were earmarked for “mitigation” endeavors, essentially payoffs intended to pacify unhappy neighborhoods and other malcontents demanding some reward for not opposing the project.

Reflexive anti-Americanism? Last year, FBI agents scrambling to track down what appeared to be a terrorist threat against Brandeis University were denied access to computer terminals at the public library in Newton, a Boston suburb. The librarians demanded to see a warrant; the urgent investigation was delayed for nine hours while one was obtained.

Obnoxious political correctness? The school superintendent in Amherst put the kibosh on “West Side Story” as the annual high-school senior musical after a handful of complaints claiming that the work was racist in its portrayal of Puerto Ricans. (In fact, this modern-day Romeo-and-Juliet story is the most beautiful anti-racism work in American musical theater.) “Political correctness,” writes Mr. Keller, “is the signature cultural statement of the ruling elites, undermining their moral authority and driving a wedge between them and the working class far more effectively than any right-wing demagogue could hope for.”

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