Bookworm explains how San Francisco became Potterville

by CynthiaYockey on January 1, 2010

OK, just to make sure, even though we are still in the It’s a Wonderful Life season, I want to remind my allusion-impaired gentle readers that if Jimmy Stewart’s character lived, because of his virtuous actions, his hometown of Bedford Falls would remain clean and wholesome. However, if he had never been born, then it would turn into corrupt Potterville, with a Main Street lined with bars and drunks and prostitutes. Sadly, this would have been a consequence of ruthless and unfettered capitalism, so that it represents the exact opposite of the results of fiscal conservatism and merit-based advancement, but whatever.

Bookworm explains in a recent post how San Francisco became Potterville due to Leftism and liberalism. I think she is spot on.

I appreciate that Bookworm took care in expressing her objections to the excesses of the gay community. These excesses, and the mindset behind them, illuminate the sense of mission I feel about getting the Pharaoh of liberalism to let my gay and lesbian people go and make their new home in Fiscal Conservative Land. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, due to discrimination and second-class citizenship, gays and lesbians actually are extremely resourceful and self-reliant about creating their own businesses and going into entrepreneurial professions. We belong in Fiscal Conservative Land, not the Nanny State.

Another thing I like about Bookworm’s post is her temporal panorama of San Francisco from the 1960’s — when my family lived in Walnut Creek and visited my father’s parents in Berkeley and we occasionally went to San Francisco — to the present. I’m also glad she fingered the Left’s animosity toward capitalism as one of the causes of San Francisco’s decline — but Jamie Glazov’s book, United in Hate, is a much better explanation of the Left as a totalitarian movement in love with other totalitarian movements and determined to destroy capitalism than the book she references, Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, which flabbergasted me by having no indication whatever that Goldberg is aware of Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer. Glazov is an intellectual heir of Eric Hoffer and brings Hoffer’s landmark work into our contemporary world, so his insights are considerably more apt than Goldberg’s.

Here is an excerpt from Bookworm’s post, “America’s Homegrown anarchic totalitarianism“:

The one thing that Jonah Goldberg’s book misses is the fact that the New Age, crystal-gazing American socialist utopia does not allow itself to control all people within its political borders. Instead, in the name of political correctness, American socialist cities have a two-tiered system: law-abiding citizens are on the receiving end of heavy-handed government control, while politically correct protected victim classes are removed from any controls whatsoever. The result is the worst of all possible worlds, with law abiding citizens beaten down both by their own government and by those whom the government allows to roam free. San Francisco provides a perfect example of this Western socialist dynamic.

San Francisco’s intense hostility to capitalism

Some of the contrasts between intense government control versus anarchy are very obvious in San Francisco. On the control side, the City’s mandates pry into every area of business and even personal life. At a macro level, the City is very, very hostile to business. It has its own minimum wage law (SF Admin. Code, Secs. 12P, 12R, & Appx. 68), which controls anyone doing business in or with the City of San Francisco. The City apparently feels it’s not a big enough burden on businesses to have the feds set wages too. The minimum wage laws are great for those who can get jobs; but lousy for those who discover that, as a result of the hostile environment, there are fewer businesses around to provide jobs.

Read the whole thing.


I just found related snark from Little Miss Attila via Instapundit about Berkeley High School ending science labs because black kids never excelled there and therefore the labs should not exist if they only benefit white kids. I gather it hasn’t occurred to anyone that then they wouldn’t be there for the next George Washington Carver or Charles R. Drew, when he or she comes along, either. I’m starting to understand the general tone of peevishness toward liberalism in the conservative commentariat.

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Bookworm January 2, 2010 at 1:34 am

Thank you, Cynthia, for your kind words about my post. I hate seeing San Francisco decay. It was such a lovely City.

Liz January 2, 2010 at 8:26 am

In terms of books, would it be possible for you to have a permanent link to the books you write about and recommend? It’s just that I’m living abroad right now and some of them won’t be available here for several months, and I don’t want to have to scroll through all your posts trying to find what I was looking for. Sorry if that’s way out of line.

Cynthia Yockey January 2, 2010 at 8:14 pm


You must be talking about the books I recommended in my comment at Roger Simon’s blog on Jan. 1, right? I will make that comment a post here and create a category “Books I recommend,” so you will be able to click on that in the category list to find those titles and others I add later. I appreciate your interest!


SFGoth January 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Well being a Libertarian who lives pretty much in the geographical center of S.F., while I started reading your post, it wasn’t like I really had to read the whole excerpt. Outside of Detroit, which suffers from the same kinds of problems + the Black “establishment”, S.F. is probably the country’s worst-run city. (There’s a wonderful and recent S.F. Weekly article you can look up that goes into the mechanics of it.) Can it be fixed? No, not until the city is forced to declare municipal bankruptcy and a federal trustee appointed to run it. Dear god, please give us bankruptcy. Thing is, S.F. is the USA writ small. Oh, and guess who gets the shaft? Moderate, head down, go-to-work gays and lesbians (like other people who don’t want, need, or get a gov’t handout).

Peter January 2, 2010 at 5:45 pm

The “two tiers” spoken of here damages everyone, perhaps most notably those in the community for which there are few, if any, rules. I have mentioned before that, if not for the excesses of things like the Folsom Street Fair gay marriage would probably have passed in California. I shall move away from that because I actually know little of the gay community or whatever that long string of the alphabet they’re using this week. Where I live and worked there is no gay community, merely a sprinking of lifelong spinsters and bachelors.

I do no something of the black and brown communities for they are large and vibrant, or perhaps, were vibrant. No one needs police protection more than the black and brown communities these days and nowhere is it harder than to provide that protection. The criminals mostly prey within their own communities if for no other reason than that is where they are. I had long lost count of even the victim of a crime hollering “your just bustin’ him ( the bad guy, caught in the act) because he’s blllaaaack! Um, no, lady, isn’t that your purse?

It doesn’t take too many of those before the bluesuit decides he hates working there and the animosity grows. Nor do I know what to do about it except to go wild some night and start hanging leftists from handy lamp posts.

And there is the big problem, the left is at war with the rest of us, they want nothing more than our death and destruction, we, on the other hand, want merely to be left alone. So we will not, perhaps can not, slap the left down until it becomes really, really desperate. And then it will get really ugly. We wanted merely to be left alone in 1941, too.The next thing Germany and Japan knew, their cities were burning and their surviving women and children now wailing widows and orphans.

I don’t know, I’m just an old bald fat guy watching the world crumble before me, knowing it would be so easy to stop the madness but, through our own lack of action in the ’60s and ’70s, it may be too late now.

SDN January 2, 2010 at 7:58 pm

“I’m starting to understand the general tone of peevishness toward liberalism in the conservative commentariat.”

Peevish is far too mild a word, my dear. Leftism is incompatible with liberty.

JLB January 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm

The corruption of Bedford Falls into Pottersville would not be due to unfettered capitalism. Potter controlled the gov’t as well – he was the draft board, re-named the town, etc. With that in mind, he would also establish the zoning laws and licensing requirements for the town – allowing the bars and clubs. Picking which business he would allow. Without George Bailey, Potter is completely unopposed. More and more are trapped in his scurvy web.

Competition is key in both business and gov’t.
Which in the end, further explains SF, Detroit, etc.

Stinky January 3, 2010 at 1:50 pm

This was an excellent piece – thank you for recommending it!

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