Dispatch From “The Great Stupid”

Few revolting developments on the political scene justify the last words in “Bridge Over The River Kwai” more than this:

Nixon tweet

However, if such crack-brained reasoning ever progressed to widespread public policy, the iconic end of another film classic would be a better diagnosis. Take it, Marlon:

Criticism of Nixon’s insane tweet will be brushed off by progressives and Democrats (who, if honest, would own it) on the grounds that Nixon, who ran for mayor of New York not too long ago (though it seems like eons) is an uber-woke socialist, and therefore not representative of “real” progressives. There are two problems with that dodge, however. Several Democrat-run cities are barely enforcing laws against shoplifting as it is, notably Great Stupid Central, San Francisco (or is GSC Portland? Or Seattle?), where, reports the New York Times, shoplifting is out of control because law enforcement isn’t controlling it:

“The mundane crime of shoplifting has spun out of control in San Francisco, forcing some chain stores to close. Walgreens said that thefts at its stores in San Francisco were four times the chain’s national average, and that it had closed 17 stores, largely because the scale of thefts had made business untenable.”

Is it conservative to point out that Nixon’s position is irresponsible, incompetent, and a breach of basic citizenship? Is it unfair to nail her sentimental nonsense to the Democratic Party and its increasingly unhinged adherents? No, and no. If Trump appealed to the dumb and ignorant as the Left’s narrative goes, an idea like Nixon’s appeals to the really, really dumb and ignorant—quite conceivably a plurality in today’s increasingly maleducated public—which now appears to be the Left’s core constituency. It was also the constituency of Lenin and Trotsky in early 20th Century Russia.

Obviously—well, it should be obvious— allowing poor people or any people to steal at will lead to chaos, because if poor people can do it, nothing will stop less poor people from doing it, or people who aren’t poor at all, just societal predators. Maybe the Biden administration will issue “Poor Enough To Steal” passports. Don’t bet against it.

Nixon’s theory is mind-meltingly stupid, but still along a spectrum of other disastrous ideas that by some Hell-planted process the Left has serially embraced. Open borders, defunding the police, race-based hiring, “believe all women,” resegregation on college campuses, “safe spaces” and “hate speech” as a crime, and yes, there are more, are only marginally less mad, and once you have accepted one, it is easier to accept the other.

14 thoughts on “Dispatch From “The Great Stupid”

  1. It is hard for me to relate to the need for people to steal basic necessities. In my part of the country, there is so much assistance available from churches and other non-profits that the “need” to steal such things is almost laughable. My own small church operates a food pantry which also provides items like personal hygiene products, laundry detergent and even some clothing. We are part of a referral network for literacy classes and job-skill training in the local area. Many other churches in my county do the same or more. I know this is true throughout the region. I have contacts in churches in other parts of the country who do the same thing. I often feel that we may do too much, to the point of perhaps encouraging some folks -not many- to rely on our charity. How can people be too proud to ask for help, but not too proud to steal?
    Chipping away at our social order, indeed even the idea of social order, to the point of absolute chaos is either madness or a deliberate evil strategy. I fear it is a preface to Big Brother stepping in to make it all “better.” God save these United States!

    • Forget the food pantries, who NEEDS to steal laundry detergent? It is ridiculously cheap! I buy LA’s Totally Awesome laundry detergent at Dollar Tree. That’s right. Thirty-two loads worth of laundry detergent for $1. To top it off, it is made in the US! Anyone who buys the argument that people need to steal that is too rich to do their own laundry.

  2. Yeah, this is moronic in so many ways.
    Clothing detergent is not a basic necessity.

    When the impact of not prosecuting shoplifting plays out to it’s end, then the result of this policy is food and pharmacy deserts.

    “Open borders, defunding the police, race-based hiring, “believe all women,” resegregation on college campuses, “safe spaces” and “hate speech” as a crime, and yes, there are more, are only marginally less mad, and once you have accepted one, it is easier to accept the other.”

    It’s still not clear to me how anyone with a functioning brain can embrace these policies. It’s as if their prime objective is to destroy civic virtue.

  3. The U.S. and the world have hosted some pretty bad ideas over time. The tulip bulb bubble, the ancient astronauts theory (remember “Chariots of the Gods?”), phrenology, New Coke, the XFL, and Boston selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees were some of the more benign ones. John Maxwell’s execution of the leaders of the Easter Rising, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, and the National Guard opening fire at Kent State were some of the ones that were not so harmless. The Reign of Terror, where the Committee on Public Safety sent who knows how many to the guillotine for any reason or no reason, Pol Pot’s Year Zero, in which towns, money, religion, and private property were abolished and execution by clubbing to death by a pick or a hoe for any reason or no reason introduced, Petrograd Order No. 1 (mostly now forgotten) which de facto stripped military officers of disciplinary authority, causing the Russian military to collapse like a deflated balloon in the face of renewed German offensives, and Hitler’s crackpot racial theories were the real instant disasters.

    A modern society, indeed any society, must have some form of order some means of maintaining order, and some level of trust and good faith in those who do in order to function. In the Middle Ages, religion kept people in their place and from demanding fairness, which had the effect of maintaining order, although it was an order that served mainly to keep the lowly low and the lofty lofty. In the 19th century the governments of Europe eventually had to use force to maintain order , while allowing enough reforms to keep the people satisfied, since no one wanted a repeat of 1848. The times when things have become completely lawless have been almost always utter disasters. The Nika revolt in Constantinople was about as close to complete destruction as Western society ever got. The Jacquerie almost turned France into a wasteland. Then we can talk about the modern revolts in Portugal, Ireland, et al. All of them had two things in common: life sucked for ordinary people during these lawless times, and eventually when they were put down there was huge loss of life, property, and freedoms.

    We’ve been talking about these issues here, or at least I have been with anyone who will listen, for over a year. What we have now is a bad idea that’s quickly approaching the level of those really disastrous ones listed above. Those behind it can cloak it in whatever rhetoric they want. However, it boils down to those given power, with the understanding that with it comes duties and obligations to those who gave it to them, abandoning their duties and obligations to most of those who gave it to them or using that power against them. Businesses can’t function if anyone can steal from them with impunity. Landlords can’t function if there is no mechanism for tenants to be made to meet their obligations to them. The police can’t function if there are too few of them, they are underequipped, and the prosecutors are more interested in jailing them than lawbreakers. All of this means ordinary people can’t function. If ordinary people can’t function, then society can’t function. If society can’t function, then eventually you will get a collapse. Then what?

  4. These, of course, are the same people who complain that certain neighborhoods don’t have grocery stores or other businesses in them. The experience of San Francisco should clearly illustrate why that happens.

    • And not just any grocery store, either. These are the same people who want a Whole Foods or a Wegmans within walking distance, or, even better, ethnic markets. A Dollar General just won’t cut it. Gotta have fresh everything for those Bento boxes.

  5. We’re a stone’s throw away from all retail being purchased and prepaid online and set for pickup or delivery. At that point in time, the destitute will have even greater difficulty, not only stealing necessities, but having the resources to complete a transaction to buy necessities.

    Sure, it doesn’t make sense for a retailer to upend the status quo and take such drastic action, but it does happen from time to time when government intervenes and suddenly it’s the best solution available. The best example of this is minimum wage and replacing cashiers with self service kiosks. If thieves become emboldened and a store is losing their ass under the current model, then things will change.

    Would it change so drastically to start? Probably not. But they might limit shopper capacity and keep security at the doorway to check receipts. Then when guards get killed or inefficient, they’ll turn it into a “counter service” like one big pharmacy request. When that’s inefficient, customers will turn to submitting their orders online to skip the lines and voila, we’ve arrived at the future.

    • Amazon now has stores with “Just Walk Out” technology. If this proves successful then other companies may / will follow. It may be a while before this technology is prolific but don’t underestimate this development. Right now this is probably leading edge AI but at the pace of today’s technological advancements it could become common quickly.

      Remember someone once said, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home” — Ken Olsen, co-founder of Digital (DEC)


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