Bill De Blasio Is A Cowardly Tyrant Fueling New York’s Demise

Bill De Blasio Is A Cowardly Tyrant Fueling New York’s Demise

In Bill de Blasio’s world, during a pandemic, rioters have a right to non-peaceable assembly, but law-abiding religious believers have no right to meet peacefully.
Ben Weingarten
By

The grave injustice inflicted upon one person is now being compounded into a grave injustice for millions of New Yorkers.

It took decades to bring New York City back from the brink — facing crime, squalor, and bankruptcy — to the peace and prosperity that has marked it since Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s tenure. Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio seems intent on sending the city back to the bad old days, threatening to undo decades of progress while operating under the banner of “progressivism.”

The twin crises of the Chinese coronavirus and the present rioting and looting have created the perfect storm for the city’s demise. In response to the Wuhan virus, New York City committed willful economic suicide, and in response to the current lawlessness, NYC called for curfews it failed to impose, encouraging its descent into chaos.

While the crippling coronavirus shutdown can perhaps best be attributed to incompetence, there is no such excuse for permitting New York’s streets to become a war zone. The latter represents a failure of the most basic duty of our elected officials to protect our lives, liberty, and property.

The Mayor Has Failed His Most Basic Tasks

De Blasio’s failure is either a function of ideology, cynicism, cowardice, or a combination of the three. If ideology, it dictates the proper response to aggression is appeasement. If cynicism, it is born of a belief that tolerating mob rule will win the mayor plaudits. If cowardice, it is rooted in a fear of upsetting some by upholding justice for all.

Regardless of de Blasio’s rationale, by encouraging “restraint” in the face of rampant criminality, he has signaled to the mob that its actions will be tolerated, in effect legitimizing them. This will only invite more mob acts, in a city in which people have steadily acted with greater and greater impunity against authorities during his tenure. As with de Blasio’s general anti-cop program, he is only further endangering the most vulnerable, those law-abiding citizens residing in the city’s least-safe neighborhoods.

While New York City has overcome all manner of hardships in its history, it is not immune to the consequences of de Blasio’s bad ideas. These ideas were best illustrated in a June 2 exchange between the mayor and a reporter.

“While you recommended that protesters stay home, for others in the city you’ve enforced gathering bans, not recommendations,” a reporter said to the mayor. “The retail store owner who’s been closed for two months and is experiencing financial ruin has been banned from opening his store. People for whom attending houses of worship are a regular part of life have been banned from doing so with more than 10 people. Yet you’ve expressed solidarity with this particular protest cause. Is that why it’s been given dispensation to [sic] this regard … [over] pandemic guidelines?” the reporter asked.

He summarized his question as follows: “Are we in a pandemic or not, and do we have one set of rules for protesters and another for everyone else?”

De Blasio proceeded to pat himself on the back for the coronavirus response, before getting to the crux of his answer:

Before Thursday [when protesters began taking to the streets] … we were doing one thing, one thing only: Fighting back this disease for everyone’s benefit. … When you see a nation, an entire nation, simultaneously grappling with an extraordinary crisis seated in 400 years of American racism, I’m sorry that is not the same question as the understandably aggrieved store owner, or the devout religious person who wants to get back to services. … This is a powerful, painful, historical moment. … We’re not gonna treat it like it’s just any other day.

In other words, yes, there is one set of rules for protesters — and the rioters and anarchists embedded among them — and another for everyone else. And the mayor gets to dictate them.

De Blasio Makes up His Own Set of Rules

With de Blasio at the helm, New York City subscribes to a different Bill of Rights than the rest of the country. Those rights are conditional. They can be selectively applied depending upon the circumstances and parties involved.

In de Blasio’s Bill of Rights, during a pandemic, rioters have a right to non-peaceable assembly. Conversely, law-abiding religious believers have no right to peaceably assemble, nor to engage in the free exercise of their religion. That is, hooligans can light cop cars on fire and loot Nikes and Rolexes, but religious Jews cannot mourn the deaths of their loved ones.

While de Blasio fiddles, permitting anarchy on the streets, law-abiding citizens are left largely defenseless, their Second Amendment rights curtailed. Law enforcement will not defend us, and we cannot defend ourselves, including against those pilfering the businesses we are not allowed to operate.

This is to say nothing of de Blasio’s implied ahistorical “1619 Project” reading of American history, or the value judgments he is openly making. For our freedoms are accorded to all, and they are inalienable, not subject to the whims of the former Sandinista-supporting mayor proving in real time this was no youthful indiscretion.

De Blasio has been content to deprive people of their most basic freedoms during the coronavirus pandemic. Now he allows some to attack the most basic freedoms of others without defense, or recourse.

The American ideal is a society in which all people are treated equally under the law, regardless of skin color, in which all people enjoy the same rights, and none are afforded special privileges. Those letting their cities burn, like de Blasio, explicitly reject this view. They impose their identity politics on society under the guise of faux morality and virtue.

We all pay the price.

Ben Weingarten is a Federalist senior contributor, senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and fellow at the Claremont Institute. He was selected as a 2019 Robert Novak Journalism fellow of the Fund for American Studies, under which he is currently working on a book on U.S.-China policy. You can find his work at benweingarten.com, and follow him on Twitter @bhweingarten.

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