The Japanese like their drink. They can get drunk at night, but they show up the next day. I have seen this many times.
Surely this illustrates a truism: Work hard / Play hard.
The general theme I see playing out in this book is this: The truth of Progressivism and Big government *if* the proletariat are a dirty, uncouth rabble who can’t find their way out of the gutter, and perhaps don’t want to.
In the case of New York City (given the policy of accepting a mass of immigrants), there was no way to produce a halfway decent society without strong and constant government intervention by do-gooders. There were just too many people ready and willing to live in their own filth. Sure, in many cases, there might not have been much they could have done about it, which simply proves the point (one that Lincoln made):
“The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves in their separate, and individual capacities.”
Clearly New York City had reached this point. The influx of immigrants overwhelmed any natural mechanisms for people to start a new and productive life on their own.
Country folk (other than the now ubiquitous farm subsidies) wouldn’t know what to do with government intervention. If some bureaucrat wants to stop by and milk Nessie in the morning, then fine. But otherwise what use are they? They are simply in the way. But for the sort of rabble who congregate in cities (and they always seem to), their lives must necessarily be regulated by government for their own good.
No one here at StubbornThings likes that notion. They want less government. We represent the type of people who don’t mind working, but we don’t want to pay for the rabble who won’t make even the barest attempt to: stay sober, work hard, stay out trouble with the law, not sleep around and populate the world with their bastards, etc.
But the reality is that big cities, even now, require a strong nanny state in order to function. We can laugh at the idiots in New York who try to limit the size of Big Gulps. But the basic impulse to control the rabble isn’t necessarily wrong.
We conservatives (at least those few here) probably understand the principle that Jefferson did long ago: “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.” The was certainly New York City at the time.
Modern methods (and vast amounts of public money) have ameliorated many of those ills. Modern transit systems, hospitals, and police forces — none of which Jefferson anticipated — have helped make big cities a livable place. And not only a livable place but a preferred place.
Some cities have abrogated this inherent “social contract” and have increasingly become dirty and unsafe places. Now bums, feces, discarded needles, gangs, violence, and/or illegal aliens plague some whole cities, or portions of them. There is no John Jacob Astor who has stepped forward to state the obvious. Our “Progressive” leaders have done what they can to wall us off from even discussing these problems.
The various reasons for this turn around in America have been discussed here. But this is oddly the reverse state of things in some cities where they are not doing the basic job required of them — the job that New York City once faced and more or less dealt with.