We’re in the opening stages of a mayoral race in Saint Paul.
Now, the various stakeholders and activists are doing what they do – thinking big talks, dreaming big dreams via the political system. As to what I think this city actually needs from a new mayor? It’s irrelevant. We can want whatever we want – but Saint Paul is a one-party town, and what we will get is someone who’s kissed enough DFL-special-interest ass to rise to the top of the oligarchy, Someone who will give a vigorous speech or two declaiming how his or her repackaging of 1960s liberal orthodoxy is fresh and new and will bring all the changes that the previous mayor’s repackaging of orthodoxy didn’t.
Leading to 4-12 years of big government-driven stagnation
Part of the problem is that Saint Paul DFLers think that prosperity is something that government, at any level, can bring via careful planning. It’s a common conceit on the left.
To speak to that, I’d like to make the essay “I, Pencil” mandatory reading for everyone in this country. The 1958 essay by Leonard Reed, talks about the impossible complexity of building that humblest of tools of the modern world, the #2 Pencil, and how there is not a single person on the entire planet that can create and assemble a pencil, from scratch, with all of its precursors (cedar, graphite, clay, wax, zinc, tin, rubber and petroleum paint, plus the materials and labor that go into producing each of them). And this complexity is multiplied, and exponentialized, with things that are more complicated – bicycles, cell phones, trains, cars, the Internet.
And if you were waiting for the movie? Here it is:
The idea that a bunch of “political scientists” can legislate, plan or dictate this failing city to prosperity, even if they focus on that (rather than “inclusion” and other social justice fripperies) is…
…well, the status quo in Saint Paul.