The most progressive city in the most progressive state in the nation is a feces-filled, crime-riddled ghost town that resembles something like “a failed state,” according to California expat Joe Rogan. All of which is to say, San Francisco is an utter disaster.
Curious minds might look at the city’s ruinous condition and wonder its source. And if pressed, one might even speculate that it’s the rotten fruit of communism, corruption, lawlessness, homelessness and drugs, Defund the Police, continuing COVID-19 tyranny, and an obvious anti-business bent.
For most, these obvious afflictions, either alone or together, are enough to explain San Francisco’s societal decline. However, for a tiny few, there’s something else that is to blame—capitalism.
Earlier this week, San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston offered a hilariously bad take on the city’s deteriorating condition, saying:
“…what you’re seeing in the Tenderloin [district] is absolutely the result of capitalism and what happens in capitalism to the people at the bottom rungs.”
Now, to be clear, capitalism is: “a system of voluntary exchange, predicated upon the right to own property.” In its highest and best form, it is characterized by cooperation, rather than coercion or compulsion. And, as history demonstrates, it is vastly more conducive to human flourishing than any other competing system around.
So, according to Preston’s argument, a system founded upon free people, free exchange, and property rights is responsible for the vast humanitarian crisis unfolding in America’s most left-leaning city. Incidentally, such a contention stands entirely at odds with Texas’ experience, which has benefitted handsomely from a faithful and consistent application of capitalistic principles to its policy framework. He goes on:
“The biggest driver of why folks are on the street is because they lost their jobs, income or were evicted from their homes, usually for not being able to pay their rent.”
Now, this is quite an interesting statement to make since it mixes a partial truth with an omission of the most obvious kind. Of course, people need employment to survive and thrive (which, coincidentally, is a point that contradicts the city’s guaranteed basic income philosophy). And when employment dries up, those with few or no resources are apt to suffer the most. But what prompts those jobs and opportunities to disappear? Is it voluntary exchange and property rights, or perhaps could it be big government and bad policy?
The answer is obvious.