Former Soros Activist Explains How Progressive Policies Ruined San Francisco

Former Soros Activist Explains How Progressive Policies Ruined San Francisco. By Virginia Allen.

Michael Shellenberger moved to San Francisco in 1993 to work on liberal causes, and even spent time working for George Soros’ foundation. He advocated the decriminalization of drugs and promoted drug treatment programs. But, Shellenberger says, he began to worry when he saw the number of drug overdose deaths in America rise from 17,000 in 2000 to more than 70,000 by 2017. …

Out of frustration over the problems he was seeing in San Francisco and other liberal cities, Shellenberger became determined to diagnose the problems driving the homeless crisis and find solutions. He presents the result of his research and investigation in his new book “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities.” …

From an interview with Shellenberger:

San Francisco remains one of the most spectacularly beautiful cities in the world. Just driving across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco, its skyline is stunning; three major bridges into San Francisco, incredible skyline, beautiful, surrounded by water, humpback whales not far from the coast.

But as soon as you drive downtown, you see tents. You see what are euphemistically called homeless encampments, but they are more accurately described as open drug scenes. That’s the expression that’s used by European researchers. I point out that the Europeans dealt with this exact same problem in the 1980s in places like Zurich, Switzerland; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Lisbon, Portugal; Frankfurt, Germany.

What you find is just these are people that are living on the street. They’re living on the street because … almost all of them, if not really all of them, are suffering from severe drug addiction, severe drug and alcohol addiction. …

Homelessness is a propaganda word. It was designed to mislead people about what’s really going on. It was designed by progressives to mislead people into thinking that people live on the street because they can’t afford the rent. That’s not the case. The people on the street, we know, are there because of addiction and untreated mental illness. …

You see people openly using drugs, smoking fentanyl, which is responsible for about half of the drug deaths, people defecating in public. It’s very common to see that. You see just a lot of tents, hundreds of people. …

It looks like what we think a Third World country looks like. I’m somebody that’s spent a fair amount of time in Brazil, in Africa, in India. I go to slums every time I go to developing and poor countries. This is different in the sense that, obviously, San Francisco is one of the richest cities in the world. The number of billionaires per capita is huge. It’s obviously the center of much of our technology boom.

The drug crisis is the result of deliberate policies that are imposed by progressives, demanded by progressives, to not treat addiction, not treat mental illness, and to basically defend the right of people to sleep anywhere, defecate anywhere, and not be arrested, not be mandated treatment. …

The Liberal impulse to coddle has been taken to extremes:

The coddling that has been increasing, really, for 150 years is now extended to people on the street, so we’re coddling the people on the street. We’re coddling addicts, we’re coddling criminals, we’re coddling would-be murderers, rather than providing them with the discipline and the rules that they need in order to live happy and healthy lives.

Look, to some extent, what we call coddling started out as kind of positive. … There’s always been a recognition that as we go from farm to city kids, to some extent, this is a process that’s been really wonderful for children. They can be children. They don’t have to be little workers or little adults, which is how we used to see kids.

But obviously, it’s gotten way too far. We see the rise of participation trophies for kids that don’t succeed in sports, basically a shielding of children from adversity. Yet we know that overcoming adversity is what builds strength and resilience.

One of the questions I had is there’s a lot of upper-middle-class parents or middle-class parents that are very progressive and liberal in the Bay Area who, yeah, they coddle their kids to some extent, but they also require their kids to do their homework. They require their kids to do chores. They require their kids to do sports. They require some amount of adversity of their kids. But then when it comes to their politics, they’ll say things like you shouldn’t require abstinence, for example, before giving people housing, because that would be blaming the victim. So there’s a bit of a double standard here.

Not coincidentally, the people paid to do the coddling turn out to be liberals. Coddling everyone who can be coddled might be seen as a jobs program for liberals.

Follow the money. Here in Australia, for instance, government spending on aboriginals is far greater than on other Australians (per capita). But where does this money actually go? It pays white people who provide the services the aboriginals are alleged to need. This creates an aboriginal industry — those in receipt of aboriginal welfare spending — which creates a large lobby group for continued and increasing spending. Bureaucrats love it.

With universities churning out ever more liberals, there is a need for more coddling jobs. This partly explains the proliferation of victim groups and those who require public assistance.