Insert obligatory Mencken “good and hard” reference here. As Michael Goodwin writes in the New York Post, “A new world order may be coming, or it may just be a long period of bloody disorder. The only clarity is an unshakable conviction that something fundamental is changing for the worse:”
The biggest change is that America, the modern world’s anchor of stability and security, is being roiled by a never-ending loop of turmoil and division. Mankind’s last resort feels unsettled and unreliable, adding to the sense of impending danger.
The lion’s share of the blame belongs to our awful governments, from New York City to Albany to Washington.
I can think of no other period when we simultaneously had such terrible leaders and ineffective lawmakers at all three levels. They seem to feed on each other’s worst instincts, competing to lay claim to the most sweeping changes, no matter the method or impact.
And so we are engulfed in waves of corruption, incompetence and arrogance, trickling up and trickling down, as government smothers society with agenda-driven policies. Just as modern culture often works against parents and families, modern government often works against social harmony and individual liberty.
Barack Obama leads the pack, and he will make history in two ways: as the first black president, and as the president who weakened America at home and abroad. Even race relations are on fire.
It’s a great column, but that last quoted sentence is a classic Fox Butterfield moment — of course race relations are on fire; that’s just what Barry and Eric Holder intended. And as John Fund writes today at National Review, “Most Americans Expect a Long, Hot Summer of Racial Unrest. [Pat] Moynihan Would Not Be Surprised.” Well, American elites have spent the last 40 years or so defining deviancy down and finally have both the politicians they want, and deserve. But to paraphrase Ed Koch, the “Progressive” elites have spoken, and now the rest of us must suffer.
But even wealthy elites are not completely clueless about the debacle they’ve created. Speaking of de Blasio, a friend tipped me to this column while I was visiting New York last week, “De Blasios Are Largely No-Shows at New York City’s High-Profile Society Affairs,” the Wall Street Journal noted last month, and as result, charitable giving is down amongst elite New Yorkers. “Unexpectedly,” as the namesake publication owned by de Blasio’s successor would say:
Since becoming the city’s first couple 16 months ago, Mr. de Blasio [and his wife, Chirlane McCray] have largely skipped many of the city’s high-profile society events. Their style offers a sharp contrast with predecessor Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist who, along with his longtime companion, Diana Taylor, were a fixture on the black-tie circuit.
The de Blasios and their aides said they do their best to attend a range of events, but limited time and competing priorities often intervene.
Their absence hasn’t gone without notice, troubling some who say their apparent reluctance to attend these events is a snub to the city’s philanthropic community. The criticism is particularly nettlesome for Ms. McCray because she serves as chairwoman of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, a nonprofit that raises money from private donors to support city causes.
Peggy Siegal, a New York City event publicist who orchestrates high-profile parties, said Mr. de Blasio had “disdain for the striving, successful New Yorkers and I have been told by insiders that he always listens to his wife, who also has disdain for the accomplished.”
“They obviously do not relate to New Yorkers who socially network to support charities,” Ms. Siegal said. “They have made themselves socially irrelevant. It is a major shortcoming not to mingle with all classes.”
In an interview, Ms. McCray said she was “certainly willing” to attend all types of events as head of the Mayor’s Fund in hopes of securing contributions.
“Wherever people are who want to donate, you will find me,” she said. “Not at everything because that’s just not possible. But I am out there. I’m definitely out there.”
Well, that’s one way to put it.
As the New York Post adds, “It’s not that you’ve hurt their feelings, Mr. Mayor: The rich are giving less to charities you control because they expect you to waste the money:”
Contributions are plummeting to nonprofits like the Fund for Public Schools and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
The Wall Street Journal notes that donations to the Mayor’s Fund (run by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray) dived 63 percent, to $19 million, last year from $52 million in the final year of Mike Bloomberg’s term.
At The Fund for the Public Schools, The New York Times cites a 38 percent dip, to just $18 million, from a yearly average of $29 million for the past decade.
Sure, de Blasio may annoy the 1 percent. He’s eager to raise their taxes and his “inequality” rhetoric implies their success is to blame for the woes of the poor. His backers — like the labor-allied Hedge Clippers — spend their lives bashing the rich and the “damage billionaire-driven politics inflicts on our communities.” (Huh?)
But most wealthy New Yorkers are plenty liberal, and donate generously to progressive causes. Yet how can they trust the mayor to make wise use of their gifts?
Perhaps they should have this question sooner, rather than later.