Jacob Siegel, in American Affairs Journal, notes that the official policies of America’s large liberal cities have a rather merciless impact on the most unfortunate. The Left’s supposed dedication to welfare, compassion, and a government-provided safety net is largely wishful thinking, when it actually comes down to policy choices Big City Democrat Machines socially engineer high-priced living for those with very high incomes. They won’t actually let the cops prod the vagrant with his nightstick and tell him to move along, but they will reduce the total of number of public toilets in Los Angeles available to the homeless to under ten.
In Los Angeles, the cumulative consequences of decades of policy failures going back at least to the deinstitutionalization of the 1970s have settled like sediment at the bottom of an increasingly gilded city above. Homelessness hasnâ€™t gotten worse in spite of LAâ€™s wealth but because of it. A city where working families canâ€™t afford to live has fewer of themâ€”and the web of social connections they formâ€”to catch people as they fall into desperate circumstances and patterns of self-destruction. Without family and community, all thatâ€™s left for some are the jails and shelters of the state, or the tent cities granted all the freedom of leper colonies. …
In a major city like Los Angeles, the housing market functions as an invisible messaging apparatus. It conveys the priorities of the government and powerful private interests, and signals to people where they do and do not belong. In this sense, the realtor may be more honest than the mayor or your neighbor about where you are welcome and what purpose, if any, you serve. The message in LA is clear: the working and middle classes are not necessary for the functioning of the city. Those who get the message leave or, if they stay, must adapt to conditions of precarity. The problem is that the homeless live outside the norms and reach of the messaging infrastructure. The cityâ€™s poorest and most disturbed people are the least tuned in to the frequency of the marketâ€™s signals and otherwise unequipped to respond.
NRA spokesman Dana Loeschâ€™s husband reported a tweet by a man saying their children needed to be murdered, assuming the site would enforce its rules against such threats.
He was wrong. After Twitter user Milan Legius criticized Loesch on Sunday for her pro-Second Amendment views and said the murder of her children “needs to happen,” Twitter responded to her husbandâ€™s report by absolving Legius of wrongdoing.
“We have reviewed your report carefully and found that there was no violation of the Twitter Rules against abusive behavior,” Twitter wrote in an email to Chris Loesch.
Legiusâ€™ now-deleted tweet reads in full: “The only way these people learn is if it affects them directly. So if Dana Loesch has to have her children murdered before sheâ€™ll understand, I guess thatâ€™s what needs to happen.”
Twitterâ€™s rules state: “You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people.”
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said earlier this month that the platform was planning to crack down on “hate speech” due to employeesâ€™ disappointment over the decision not to ban right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. In another statement, Dorsey admitted the company has a leftward bias it seeks to correct.
Dana Loesch said about the reported threat, “I know several conservatives who have been suspended for far less.”
The very liberal Master of Silliman College and his equally liberal wife and co-Master, were publicly denounced and vilified early last November for Mrs. Christakis’s daring to question the dictate on the vital issues of Halloween costuming laid down by Yale’s “Intercultural Affairs Committee,” a 13-member group of administrators from the Chaplainâ€™s Office, campus cultural centers, and other campus organization. That committee urged students to be careful of the cultural implications of their Halloween costumes and to avoid trespassing upon the tender sensitivities of officially-recognized victim groups via the use of feathered headdresses, turbans, â€œwar paint,â€ or blackface, all cases of inappropriate â€œcultural appropriation and/or misrepresentation.â€
Co-Master Erika Christakis responded two days later, the night before Halloween with her own email, based on her professional expertise as a child development specialist, questioning the appropriateness of the university policing students’ choices of Halloween costumes:
I donâ€™t wish to trivialize genuine concerns about cultural and personal representation, and other challenges to our lived experience in a plural community. I know that many decent people have proposed guidelines on Halloween costumes from a spirit of avoiding hurt and offense. I laud those goals, in theory, as most of us do. But in practice, I wonder if we should reflect more transparently, as a community, on the consequences of an institutional (which is to say: bureaucratic and administrative) exercise of implied control over college students.
Christakis raised free speech and expression issues and then inquired philosophically:
Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxiousâ€¦ a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.
Demonstrations ensued, an open letter denouncing Erika Christakis’s email was signed by hundreds and hundreds of students and faculty, Nicholas Christakis was confronted and abused by “the shrieking student,” Yale Dean Holloway was confronted and scolded by a crowd of students of color, demonstrators demanded the Yale Administration apologize and meet a long laundry list of demands, including the dismissal of both Christakises.
The University declined to fire the Christakises, and affirmed that they continued to have its support. But, Erika Christakis quit teaching at Yale last December, and her husband Nicholas announced soon thereafter that he would be taking a sabbatical for the Spring Semester.
On Wednesday this week, the Yale Daily News reported that, all that solid Administration support notwithstanding, what do you know? the Christakises will never be coming back.
Months after a controversial email helped spur sustained student protests last fall, Nicholas and Erika Christakis will step down as head and associate head of Silliman College, effective this July.
In a Wednesday afternoon email to the Silliman community, Nicholas Christakis announced that he submitted his resignation to University President Peter Salovey last week. The couple drew national attention last fall when a Halloween weekend email from Erika Christakis defending studentsâ€™ rights to wear culturally appropriative costumes sparked outrage on campus.
At the time, many students and alumni called for the couple to resign their roles at the helm of Silliman College, arguing that the two could no longer serve as effective leaders of a college community designed to create a home for undergraduates. But others said their removal would constitute a serious blow to free speech on college campuses.
In his resignation announcement, Nicholas Christakis emphasized the importance of open intellectual debate, a stance which caused controversy last fall as many students argued that the emphasis on free speech came at the cost of student wellbeing and safety.
â€œWe have great respect for every member of our community, friend and critic alike,â€ Nicholas Christakis wrote. â€œWe remain hopeful that students at Yale can express themselves and engage complex ideas within an intellectually plural community. But we feel it is time to return full-time to our respective fields of public health and early childhood education.â€
Now both professors have stepped down. The â€œglowing promisesâ€ … in Yaleâ€™s famed Woodward Report, which assures students and faculty members that they are free to â€œthink the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeableâ€ and states that â€œ[a]mong the Collegeâ€™s most cherished principles is its commitment to freedom of expression.â€
With the Christakisesâ€™ resignation, itâ€™s clear that Yaleâ€™s ability to live up to its public promise to provide an environment that fosters free and robust debate has been called into sharp question.
It is probably some Yale irate alumn who has singled out the shrieking student on Facebook for revenge.
John Podhoretz, in Commentary, admires the way the Ground Zero Mosque debate has suddenly caused liberals to embrace property rights.
One of the hilarious ironies attendant on the mosque debate is the sudden discovery by the liberal elites of the vital importance of property rights â€” how Imam Feisal Rauf and his people have purchased a site on which they should be able to build â€œas of right,â€ and how those who are objecting to the mosqueâ€™s construction are committing an offense not only against the free exercise of religion but against commonly accepted principles involving real estate.
For the past 40 years, especially in New York City, property rights have taken a back seat in almost all discussions of the proper use of real estate. Following the lamentable razing of the great old Penn Station, the general proposition has been that any major project should have a distinctly positive public use. Landmark commissions, zoning boards and the like have imposed all sorts of restrictions and demands on property owners that interfere with their right to build as they would wish. Laws have been written after the fact (especially when Broadway theaters were jeopardized by real-estate development in the early 1980s) to restrict the right of property owners to do as they would wish with the land and buildings they own.
Thus, the outrage which greeted the suggestion that zoning boards and the like should and could be used to block the Cordoba Intitiative is bitterly comic. Such boards have been used for decades to block projects for reasons involving the â€œsensitivitiesâ€ of a neighborhood, like the time Woody Allen and others fought the construction of a building at the corner of 91st and Madison on the grounds that it would harm the historic nature of the area â€” when in fact he and his neighbors were concerned about a shadow the building might cast on their communal backyard. Walter Cronkite went on a tear against a tall building being built by Donald Trump on the East Side near the UN because it was going to block his view.
Perhaps we should just argue that, once the Saudis and Iranians have paid for putting up the new 15-story building, it should be open to “urban homesteading” by artists and the poor, as liberal New Yorkers have frequently advocated with respect to other people’s buildings.
Or we might simply have Zoning or one of those Neighborhood Development Authorities require Abdul Rauf to include so many low cost housing units as part of the permission price for being allowed to build anything.
Or, why wait? we could just send in some urban pioneering activists right now to set up living arrangements in the empty Burlington Coat Factory building just as it is, thereby acquiring by virtue of the quaint customs of the city squatter’s rights. Then let Abdul Rauf try getting one of the radical leftwing judges of New York City’s Housing Court to issue an eviction order.