Most Extreme Liberal

On the red-eye back from California, where I was researched San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom‘s super-secret presidential bid, I came across a passage about Rudy Giuliani in the book Santa stuffed in my stocking, The Tipping Point.

The book discusses how ideas and trends become popular and uses as one example the dramatic crime reduction in New York City. The book’s author, Malcolm Gladwell, talks about Rudy Giulaini and the crime fighting strategy of The Broken Windows Theory, which said the first step to restoring safety and social disorder is to physically clean up the neighborhood and tackle quality of life issues, because that’ll send a signal to others that law and order are in tact.

Author Malcolm Gladwell writes:

In the 1960s, liberals made a similar kind of argument, but when they talked about the importance of environment they were talking about the importance of environment they were talking about the importance of fundamental social factors: crime, they said, was the result of social injustice, of structural economic inequities, of unemployment, of racism, of decades of institutional and social neglect, so that if you wanted to stop crime you had to undertake some fairly heroic steps. But the Power of Context says that what really mattes is little things. The Power of Context says that the showdown on the subway between Bernie Goetz and those four youths had very little to do, in the end, with the tangled psychological pathology of Goetz, and very little as well to do with the background and poverty of the four youths who accosted him, and everything to do with the message sent by the graffiti on the walls and the disorder at the turnstiles…Giuliani and Bratton – far from being conservatives, as they are commonly identified – actually represent on the question of crime the most extreme liberal position imaginable, a position so extreme the it is almost impossible to accept. How can it be that what was going on n Bernie Goetz’s head doesn’t matter?

— Azi Paybarah

Most Extreme Liberal