What’s Wrong With Quiet Enjoyment?

In the aftermath of the overwhelming recall vote of Frisco DA Chesa Boudin, progressive activists have argued vehemently that the voters were wrong. They bring up crime stats. They compare San Francisco with other cities and states where tough-on-crime prosecutors are in office and Republicans in control to show that the “explanations” are false, promoted by conservative media like the New York Times propagating lies and fear to mislead the public.

In other words, there is no lesson to be learned and this was just some outrageous manipulated distortion of public understanding by the hard right that proves nothing more than how evil the right is and how they merely need to work harder to thwart the evil right.

The left’s response to Boudin’s recall is instructive. The voters who decided to recall their left-wing prosecutor were simply confused. “Why is recalling a prosecutor supposed to be an answer to homelessness? How is the mythic fusion of CRIMEANDHOMELESSNESS supposed to translate into any sort of ‘stark warning’ on these two separate policy questions?” demanded Tom Scocca. “Perhaps more than anything, Boudin’s recall shows how inchoate anger over the visible symptoms of inequality — homelessness, public drug use, property crime — can crystallize into a renunciation of an individual politician, even as voters broadly desire the policies that politician champions,” concludes Piper French.

The biggest takeaway from Boudin’s decisive defeat, according to the left, is that voters really like Boudin’s policies.

Without much need for fanfare, the alternative explanation of why one of the most progressive cities in America, deeply blue in all respects, chose to recall first three school board members who used their position to dedicate public schools to anti-racism and then a newly-elected progressive district attorney who did pretty much what he promised to do in his campaign? Because the quality of life still matters to people, and it was sucking in Frisco and was getting worse daily.

The city was progressive, and it was on a trajectory that its residents rejected. Even if most of the problems had nothing to do with Chesa Boudin, his policies or his exercise of authority, he bore the brunt of public disapproval. Now he’s gone. Even the woke of San Francisco want to enjoy their lives, their homes and their streets. They don’t want the police to needlessly shoot unarmed black men. They do want to be able to walk down the street without stepping in human feces or over needles or bodies.

Is that wrong?

The lesson from Boudin’s recall is different than lessons from other places and people because San Francisco is different. It went further than almost anywhere else, Portlandia notwithstanding, in indulging the fixes that progressives believe will bring about Utopia, the reimagining of a city for the benefit of the oppressed, the marginalized and the downtrodden. And it came at the expense of the quiet enjoyment of the vast majority of woke residents. At some point, the majority of people are going to ask themselves, “Am I really so woke as to live my life, let my children live their lives, in misery and mediocrity?”

The left’s response to these reversals has been to portray voters as the victims of brainwashing by conservative media.

Do people not walk out of their homes (how dare these selfish miscreants have homes when there are people who are housing challenged) and see the streets with their own eyes? Who are they to believe, the progressive activists, the conservative media or their own lying eyes? They aren’t antagonistic to helping others, and to the plight of those less fortunate or burdened by discrimination. They simply want to enjoy their lives as well. They want their children to enjoy their lives. The progressive obsession with the oppressed comes at the expense of their quiet enjoyment.

I’ve half-joked about some woke friends who are constantly heartbroken at all the suffering of the marginalized, but have yet to give a black person the keys to their house or car, or offer their child’s seat at Harvard to an undocumented Salvadorean immigrant. Why should they eat dinner tonight when there are others who have nothing to eat?

The very progressive people of San Francisco came to a realization that they were not willing to forfeit their quality of life, their quiet enjoyment, for the sake of others who didn’t enjoy a life like theirs. If the only point of existence, of the effort to succeed and accomplish is to wallow in the same misery as the most oppressed, why bother? And no, they’re not wrong to want to enjoy their life, even if there are others who can’t. At minimum, the quiet enjoyment of our lives is one of the reasons to exist. Sure, we can help others as well, but if the demand is that we live in misery until everyone can live in Nirvana, then it asks too much.

This is the lesson of Chesa Boudin’s recall, not that Boudin is the person necessarily responsible for it. But as long as there are arguments, fights, battles to be waged, this lesson will not be learned.

15 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With Quiet Enjoyment?

    1. ljakaar67

      Geneve is exactly right.

      I found that ad on par with the Willy Horton ad in lying to the people, and that’s from the DA who was Mr. Integrity.

      And then I had to (chose to) argue with his supporters that the ad was accurate, hence so there was nothing misleading about it.

  1. Paleo

    Exactly this. SF used to be my favorite city in the United States to visit. Last fall we visited the area and limited it to a drive through between two stays. It just looked different. The tents and the mess. People got tired of that. They got tired of convenient drug stores and grocery stores closing because of the cost of constant shoplifting that was ignored. The progs just think that we outside their club aren’t intelligent enough to comprehend what is happening right before our eyes.

    They do it with everything. They’re doing it with inflation. Ignoring that their policies triggered it and are pooh poohing it. People know how much they’re straining to keep up now and the progs wreck their credibility by denying that it exists.

    The combination of arrogance and incompetence these people display is both astounding and very unappealing.

      1. norahc

        “promoted by conservative media like the New York Times propagating lies and fear to mislead the public.”

        Never thought I’d see the day where people called the NYT conservative.

  2. EconDataScientist

    Decades ago, my Economics professor said: “I am a big supporter of public transit, because then more schmucks take the bus and I have less traffic to enjoy my car”


    The buck had to stop somewhere. Boudin was the face of law enforcement in the city. He wouldn’t prosecute shoplifting, therefore, there was more of it. He wouldn’t prosecute rampant public drug use, public indecency, ect., therefore there was more of it. Pretty soon, John Q. Public gets tired of having their noses rubbed in the shit perpetrated by the lenient policies of the man in charge.

    Maybe the folks in San Francisco will learn something, maybe not. Time will tell, I guess.

  4. Mark Schirmer

    How about: The lifestyle elite, like every dictatorial or monarchal elite before them, sneers at the unwashed masses. How DARE they not accept our meritocraticly defined “good”. Heathens.

    1. SHG Post author

      In your dream fiefdom, are we all royalty or all serfs? Except in America, even a serf can become a royalty.

  5. B. McLeod

    It looks like a lot of people had not thought through the possible impacts of having no legal protection for mere property rights. Once these were illustrated by some anecdotal evidence, they realized that wasn’t the society they were after.

  6. ljakaar67

    I live 1/2 mile south of Haight and 1/2 mile west of Castro (they are both my neighborhoods, where I walk, shop and enjoy life) and I agree 100% with you.

    So many folks with their heads in the sand unable to see the data (Asians and Blacks voted for the recall, Boudin’s strongest supporters were in white, wealthy very progressive precincts) and worse, unable to believe San Franciscans know more about what’s going on here than they can see from their back-east homes.

    It’s condescending and makes me very leery about electing anyone with these views (and sigh, we still have several supervisors here who hold the same opinions)

    Our police response to crime does suck and I’d be happy to see that department reformed. And our board of supervisors is quite bonkers, they literally (as in not figuratively) voted down temporary housing for our homeless because they wanted to pressure themselves to vote for permanent housing… And of course they haven’t worked on permanent housing, which leaves 8,000 or more homeless (who are often mentally ill or drug addicted) on our streets without treatment, without hygiene facilities, and making life difficult for residents, families, children, and the businesses around them. How this inaction can be labelled progressive and not seen as cruel and inhumane is beyond me. And yes, it just leads to increased crime, neighborhood deterioration, and a very unfriendly, unwelcoming, cold-hearted city.

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