Bill de Blasio’s dangerous socialist dream

Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that the only threat to liberalism is the alt-right. Many forces on the left support some of those old, bad ideas, and they’re not all masked antifa

Now comes New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, a favorite among “progressive” Democrats whom New York Democratic voters easily nominated for a second term on Tuesday, to explain to a friendly interviewer that the obstacle to economic progress is private property:

“What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property. I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be. I think there’s a socialistic impulse, which I hear every day, in every kind of community, that they would like things to be planned in accordance to their needs. And I would, too. Unfortunately, what stands in the way of that is hundreds of years of history that have elevated property rights and wealth to the point that that’s the reality that calls the tune on a lot of development…

“Look, if I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed. And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents. That’s a world I’d love to see, and I think what we have, in this city at least, are people who would love to have the New Deal back, on one level. They’d love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day-to-day reality.”

This is mind-boggling. The mayor of the world’s financial center, the hub of American and global capitalism, thinks that the obstacle to progress is private property, the institutional system that has brought billions of people around the world out of back-breaking poverty. Thinks that politicians should determine where building should be built and “who gets to live in it.” Thinks that the people of enterprising New York City have a widespread impulse toward socialism and comprehensive, coercive central planning.

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