RE: Do y’all remember the award-winning news documentary “Seattle is dying?”

As a matter of politics, I’m more or less on board with Peter’s take.

I observe that Portland is experiencing troubles effectively identical to Seattle’s, and none the less just re-elected the feckless Mayor Ted Wheeler. Given that his only opponent was an open Antifa sympathizer, that was probably the right call. But one might ask why there were no grownups on the ballot to choose from.

Or maybe the more interesting question is why Wheeler counts as a grownup in today’s culture in the first place.

So, too bad for Portland and Seattle, and much gratitude that Omaha enjoys the mayoral ministrations of Jean Stothert, who is kind of a badass. (Coincidentally, in her earlier career, she earned a nursing degree at Seattle Pacific University.) 

As a matter of culture, all this strikes me as mostly inevitable. And decadent. And impossibly condescending. 

Roughly put, when you look at the research, what we might call “the top 5%” live lives of which their great-grandparents would generally approve. Social indicators like marriage, and sobriety, and industriousness are actually in fairly good shape among “the elite”. The only thing the great-grandparents would bristle at is the increased prevalence of divorce, but even on that measure, “the elite” tend to stay married in greater proportion than society as a whole.

What I see as the big change is that while today’s elite mostly conduct their own lives according to that set of great-grandparent approved values and mores, they are almost embarrassed by them, and steadfastly refuse to advocate for them in others.

That’s what I mean by “impossibly condescending”. The “elite” in Seattle and Portland refuse to demand moral conduct from “the underclass”. They refuse to advocate for the moral system they use to guide their own lives.

What’s more, they actually find virtue in their lack of demanding. My great-grandparents, upon seeing someone in a state of chaos as documented by KOMO, would almost certainly have had a fairly harsh reaction. Something like “in their immoral behavior, they have brought these troubles on themselves”. Or perhaps “there but for the grace of God go I”, which itself focuses the issue on God, which then brings a whole milieu of moral teachings to the table.

In contrast, today’s elite steadfastly refuses to attribute that chaos to individual moral or behavioral failings. It’s all “oppression” or “the patriarchy” or “privilege” or whatever.

In that sense, the permissive approach in Seattle makes perfect sense. What right do we have to impose and enforce individual standards of behavior, when all the pathologies in society are “systemic”?

In my view, that line of thinking is a dead end. But I guess we’re destined to run the experiment out to it’s conclusion.

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