Bill O’Reilly recent coined a new term, “San Francisco Values“. His intention in using this term is to describe the kinds of “far left” or “extremely liberal” values shared by many in ultra-liberal areas of the country like San Francisco.
Both in his recently-released book, Culture Warrior, and on several occasions on television and radio, I’ve heard Bill voice concern that if America as a whole were to be dominated by San Francisco values, that the face of the nation would dramatically change. Some (probably about 20% of the country) would feel this is for the best, but the overwhelming majority – including O’Reilly and I – would not.
So, on election day, I wanted to use Bill O’Reilly’s definition of San Francisco values to engender debate about these principles and discuss a couple things…
- Are they real? Do people really believe these things?
- Are they being characterized accurately? Let’s take the spin out of the discussion. You may need to help me with that.
- What would the US look like if these philosophies became the prevailing wisdom in America?
Here’s a list of the ideals Bill describes as “San Francisco values”, along with some of my commentary…
- “Cradle to grave entitlements, supported by a ‘punishing’ tax rate” – A significant expansion of what Americans deserve and should expect the government to provide for them. Universal health care would be a great example. Taxes would have to increase dramatically to support this move, and the burden would fall mostly on “the rich”. By the way, here’s a fascinating article about distribution of wealth and income.
- “Anti-military sentiment” – In Nov, 2005, San Francisco voters approved a non-binding referendum banning military recruitment in schools. 60% of voters stated firmly that they opposed guns in general and military recruiters in the schools in SF. Read stories on Advocate.com and edweek.org.
- “Legalized drugs” – Many liberals believe that drugs, particularly “softer” drugs like marijuana, should be legalized. SF and California in general have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana. Many have abused these laws, and there is a general sense that America would be a better place if drugs were legal. I thought one site I found was great… Called ACT UP San Francisco, it opines, “ACT UP San Francisco encourages a healthy lifestyle through vegetarianism, medical marijuana, and questioning the medical orthodoxy.” So, healthy lifestyle = medical marijuana + a few other things that question the establishments of the culture.
- “Unfettered abortion rights” – Many liberals in SF, and around the country, support abortion rights as paramount. They do not view the unborn fetus as anything but a blob of cells, and feel the mother has the right to do anything she wants to it, because her individual rights trump that of the blob of cells (which has no rights). The rights of the baby aren’t even considered. For some, like George Tiller in Kansas, this extends even to late term abortions in which a viable baby can be killed any time up until the umbilical cord is cut, as long as there’s a health threat to the mother — even if that “threat” is that she’s depressed by the pregnancy.
- “No parental notification for abortions” – This is a privacy issue. Also a paramount ideal of the left. Nobody can ever be told anything about anyone, or their privacy is violated … no matter what the circumstances. Especially when it comes to abortion, because it has to be kept legal and unrestricted at all cost. I know there are abusive parents out there, and most parental notification laws (such as the recent prop 85 in California, which was voted down – articles for and against) account for that with an “abuse exception”. Also, many of these laws include a statute that allows a judge to overrule the notification law in cases when the girl is “mature enough”. And given these loopholes, I can’t see why we wouldn’t as a country want 13 year old girls to have their parents notified before they get an abortion — the parent doesn’t even have the legal right to stop them, just be notified, by the way. They have to give their permission if a 15 year old wants to pierce her ears or get a tatoo, but not to get an abortion? How does that work? Answer: it doesn’t — except in San Francisco (metaphorically speaking). Or, back to the Tiller thing again… 10 year old girls were raped, got pregnant and had abortions in his abortion clinic, but the clinic won’t turn the name of the rapist (not the girl) over to authorities to prosecute. That’s not privacy, that’s criminally insane. That’s somewhat different from the parental notification issue, I realize, but under the same conceptual header. Bill also wrote a column on this recently.
- “Rehabilitation instead of punishment for criminals” – Many liberals believe that criminals should be rehabilitated instead of being punished. This is a blindness to the reality of evil. Punishment is a deterrent. It’s this flawed thinking that says we can’t spank our children anymore or that if we just talk to the terrorists everything will turn out okay. Sometimes (not always) tough measures are required, but not according to San Francisco values.
- “Gay marriage” – Many liberals believe that the definition of marriage is too restrictive, and should be expanded to include alternate lifestyles such as homosexual marriage. I can’t see how it could stop there (and not extend to bigamy, bestiality, etc), given the concept of equal protection under the law, but gay marriage is the only real issue on the table at the moment. SF is well-known for having defied state law (gay marriage is always defeated by a wide margin when on the ballot and actually voted on, so it has to be “back-doored in” by activist judges) and started issuing gay marriage licenses anyway. This would be brought to the mainstream if San Francisco values became the law of the land (so to speak).
- “Open borders” – San Francisco values dictate that national borders are an outdated concept. Pretty much everyone from everywhere deserves the same rights that we enjoy as American citizens. We don’t really have the right to regulate who gets those and who doesn’t. We’re rich; it’s our obligation to provide for those who aren’t.
- “Income redistribution” – Essentially the same issue as open borders or the entitlement system. Many liberals believe that it’s the government’s responsibility to provide for us, so it’s their responsibility to take what it determines some people don’t need (rob from the rich…) and give it to those whom it determines to need it more (…and give to the poor). So, it becomes the government’s job to define how much I deserve to have or make, and if it’s too much, then it takes it and gives it to those who aren’t getting their fair share. As long as we’re just regulating capitalism, it’s one thing, but the more of this we do, the closer we get to socialism, and that makes me nervous.
“No display of religion in the public square” – SF is known for letting militant homosexual groups do things like dress up as nuns in parades and mock catholicism, but not allow a Christmas tree to be called a Christmas tree because it offends people. If you want to bury the Virgin Mary in cow crap or soak a crucifix in urine and call it art, or demean Jews, or take the word “God” off antying in the public square, or abolish any semblance of Christian symbology during Christmas, then you’re the friend of San Francisco values. Any religious or philosophical display is fine, as long as it’s not Christian or Jewish, because these are considered hostile to the rest of the values on the list.
So, I’m sure that many will disagree with the way I’ve characterized these. Some of the discussions we could have could probably be whole topics in and of themselves. Some we’ve already discussed. But I thought I’d throw this out there, especially since if the democrats really do take control of the congress today (as many are speculating — and which I do NOT anticipate to happen, just for the record), then we could see some of these values showing up at our front doors.
What say you?