San Francisco’s Hard Lesson In Unethical Ethics

It shouldn’t be a difficult concept to grasp, but history tells us it is: idealism unmoored to human nature and reality lead to disaster with depressing consistency. Thus “ethical” plans and motives that rely on fantastic and contrived versions of how the world might works under ideal circumstances are in truth not ethical at all. They are incompetent. They are irresponsible.

And thus we have the current fiasco in San Francisco, where the progressive voters left their hearts while their brains AWOL. The Martian leader of the invasion in “Plan Nine From Outer Space” has it right. Meet Chesa Boudin, the City on the Bay’s visionary District Attorney, elected in 2019.

Boudin had, it is far to say, no qualifications for the job of the head prosecutor of a major U.S. city with a growing crime problem. He had never prosecuted a case. But then he didn’t think most cases should be prosecuted. He dreamed of something kinder, gentler, that didn’t require anything so crass and mean as “punishment.” His experience with America’s judicial system showed him that there had to be a better way, as Robert Redford’s clueless idealist in “The Candidate” kept saying. He is “the son of jailed Sixties radicals,” and his kind and caring parents are the inspiration for his campaign against what civilizations have known for eons, but America’s progressives have chosen to forget: bad people abound, and if society doesn’t stop them, they will stop society.

In my value system, and one I am proud to say has been consistent on this issue all my life, Chesa Boudin’s parents, his role models, were bad people. They were members of the Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist organization that bombed banks and government buildings, including the US Capitol. They wanted to bring “The Man” down, man. The Weathermen were too mild for Mom and Dad, so they formed the May 19th Communist Organization, more violent and anti-American still. In 1981, the Boudins took part in the armed robbery of a bank truck. A security guard and two policemen were killed, and Chesa’s parents were convicted of felony murder. At the trial, they explained that the stolen $1.5 million was needed to fund the creation of a black nation-state in the American south. Good plan!

This was the inspiration that led chip-off-the-old-block Boudin to the office of the San Francisco District Attorney. The voters are 100% responsible for electing him, and it is tempting to say that they deserve to have their city falling apart around them, except that innocent people are being hurt. Violent criminals who had been recently released by police on parole or when charges were dropped, have been killing people. For example, Hanako Abe and Elizabeth Platt died in a hit-and-run accident caused by a man had been arrested for 73 felonies and 32 misdemeanours in San Francisco alone. He was driving a stolen car while high on crystal meth. 26-year-old newlywed Sheria Musyoka was killed on his morning jog when a drunk career criminal in a stolen truck ran a red light. Another perp police had detained twice this year after domestic violence incidents allegedly killed Synciere Williams, a baby of just nine months.

To be fair, this all is as Boudin promised duringn his campaign, in which he vowed to to end cash bail, vastly reduce the size of the city’s prison population, “reimagine” criminal justice and stop enforcing so-called “quality-of-life” crimes such as prostitution. Wonderful! In a video message at his swearing in ceremony in January 2020, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Boudin that “the hope you reflect is a great beacon to many.” After two days in office, he fired seven top prosecutors, replacing them with public defenders. Within months he had released almost 40% of the city’s prisoners. Shockingly–well, to those who voted for him, I guess—homicides have increased sharply, along with burglaries and carjackings. Arson is up by almost 50%. From taking office in 2019 to March of this year, Boudin has tried just 23 cases. For comparison, his predecessor, also a progressive, brought more than ten times as many cases to trial over an equivalent period. Prosecutors in neighboring Alameda county dismissed 11% of felonies brought to them by police; Boudin has dismissed 40%. Of the 131 arrests made for domestic violence in the last three months of 2020, Boudin dismissed all but 20. Nor is he willing prosecute the dealers behind the explosion in fentanyl overdose deaths in the city.

But again, it’s the ethically-addled citizens of San Francisco who are the villains here. In addition to proving their unfitness to govern themselves by voting for Nancy Pelosi, these “idealists” also passed  Proposition 47, a 2014 ballot measure that reclassified many elonies including theft of anything worth less than $950 and most drug possession and drug use offenses as misdemeanors. Now shoplifting is so routine that Walgreens closed 17 locations in San Francisco.

You know: social justice! Boudin’s parents, who he regards as heroes “dedicated to fighting US imperialism around the world,” would be so proud.

Now San Franciscans are trying to mount a recall campaign. I hope it fails. Maybe if dreamy-eyed progressives see what happens to what was once one of the nation’s most desirable cities when policies defy reality as it has been revealed over centuries, they will recognize their foolishness and the damage they have done.

We can hope.


Source: Unherd

19 thoughts on “San Francisco’s Hard Lesson In Unethical Ethics

  1. That’s what happens when Harry Callahan is no longer on the job.
    I sort of agree with you in the hope that the recall fails so they learn a lesson but if the dreamy eyed progressives outnumber the victims of the policies I expect that it will fail and we will have even more victims. I don’t wish that on anyone.

  2. You’re right, actions fueled by “good intentions” are not at all ethical if they don’t include serious consideration of what unintended (but often predictable) consequences could result from the implementation of an idea being pushed beyond common sense. Being kind to animals shouldn’t include attempting to pet rattlesnakes and wolverines.

    Speaking of rattlesnakes, it seems our buddy Boudin’s resume also includes writing a couple of semi-veiled apologias of Hugo Chavez.

    Hard call on whether to vote him out. Some innocent people (those who didn’t vote him in) will suffer if he stays in place, but others may benefit from his work not being replicated elsewhere if enough of a cautionary tale is created. It takes a Hindenburg for the legacy media to go there with the failures of the left, They don’t, for example, seem too concerned with SlowJoe’s prevaricating “Hero of Waco” nominee for head of the ATF, David Chipman.

  3. I don’t know if I’m the lone native San Franciscan reading this blog. Perhaps those who left the state read this informative blog but most of those that still live in SF wouldn’t recognize an ethics issue if it hit them. I am no longer an SF resident but still a local since I have a business here. There is really no hope for SF. In the last 50 years the City has depended on tourism for its economic wellness but that day is gone. No one wants to come to this cesspool of homeless encampments and crime. With Silicon Valley’s wealth unlikely to move from the most glorious climate on earth, the City will bump along as the enriched socialists pour money into failed social programs aimed at the people that they are able to avoid in their daily lives. What a deal!

    • JG, Sydney, Australia reminds me very much of San Francisco in terms of delightful climate. Both on the Pacific rim and cooled by Arctic/Anarctic waters. It really is what San Francisco used to be.

  4. You are wrong. Leftist thinking is a mental illness. It is also very predictable. When leftist policies don’t work, no leftist rethinks the policy. The ideology insists on the policy, so it HAS to work. They always come to the conclusion that they just didn’t try hard enough. The reason crime is spiking is because the cops are still racist, the limit on theft prosecutions is still too low, Trump voters still exist, he only dismissed 40% of the felonies, etc. They won’t recall him, they will insist he get rid of more police, dismiss more felonies, etc.

    Look at Detroit. Fifty years of leftist policies have been a disaster and were from the beginning. However, did Democrats say ‘Hey, we spent all this money on our new policies and things got WORSE, maybe those weren’t good policies’? No, they never did. They spent several $trillion trying to ‘improve’ Detroit and they never once considered that the policies might not work. (I easily could have used the Department of Education for this example as well)

    In leftism, ideology drives reality. If reality doesn’t respond the way the ideology says it should, you just aren’t trying hard enough.

    • Well, socialism has never really been tried. Hundreds of failed communities have tried to try it, but without success. Someday someone will succeed at trying it and then we all know it will work.

  5. Ta-Nehisi Coates is the son of a former black panther. He and Boudin seem to be the black equivalents of Red Diaper Babies like Bernie Sanders et al.

  6. While I agree with letting the progressives there stew in their own muck Jack, one must consider that when the circus tent these clowns have raised for themselves inevitably comes crashing down, the wealthiest among them can and will flee the city, or even the state, and in turn take their destructive ideologies and policies with them to another state, and thus the cycle continues anew in another host.

  7. I made my one and only visit to the San Francisco area in 1986. I combined a vacation with attending the American Society for Public Administration national conference, and I spent two weeks experiencing the area from NAPA to Carmel. I was blown away by the experience and loved the area. A friend who worked for the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office was recruiting me hard, and almost succeeded in convincing me to make the move to California. Finishing graduate school and getting another job offer closer to home won out, saving me from now being a 67-year old refugee retiree headed back east! I have great memories of that time in the bay area, and will keep those rather than personally witness what it has become. Another good friend retired from the Oakland PD in 2010 and moved to my area; his tales of the unraveling of social order during his last years there presaged what we see happening now.
    It is tragic that more people can’t see (or don’t care) that unraveling the social order is relatively easy, while restoring what is being lost will take years if not decades of concerted effort.

    • I’m at the same point, Jim. After my sophomore year in college, my lovely choreographer in the first show I ever directed invited me to swing by SF and stay with her TV actor parents for a week at the end of a Western vacation visiting room mates in Spokane and California. I also fell in love with the city (and my choreographer, who did not reciprocate), and had two later visits that were almost as memorable. I will avoid going back now at all costs, even to retrieve the heart I left there.

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