As Goes Minnesota?

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Lance Morrow was one of the few bright spots at Time magazine. He seemed a throwback to the earlier generation of Time writers, whose fluid and occasionally daring prose sparkled with insight, while giving little or no hint of his own biases or ideology. One almost got the sense that Morrow was objective (imagine!), though his occasional set-piece essays (as opposed to his news features) hinted that he might have some conservative sympathies.

In his retirement years, he has emerged as more evidently conservative, though not with some of the usual ideological markers, like quoting Hayek or something. Instead it resembles plain common sense.

Like his article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, “How Minnesota Went from Tom Sawyer to Huck Finn.” There he recounts writing a cover story for Time in the 1970s about how Minnesota was “the state that works.” Today, not so much.

Read the whole thing if you have Journal access. If not, here are the key bits:

In 1973, there were two strong political parties in Minnesota, both centrist and in touch with the state’s voters. A profound change occurred in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, especially among the wealthy and young. They contrived to seize political power by leveraging certain idealistic or merely sentimental impulses in the public mind. It was the prospering woke who elected the progressive Minneapolis City Council that supports defunding the police, and it was those white elites who, more than her fellow Somali-Americans, elected Ilhan Omar to the House. A mostly white “meritocracy,” caring more about, say, transgender rights than about job creation, took command in Minneapolis and elsewhere in the country. . .

[P]rosecutors in Democrat-ruled cities across the country (Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York) began to refuse to prosecute minority criminals—almost no matter their crime. See no evil, prosecute no evil. An age of magical thinking persuades itself to embrace many inversions of the truth—one of them being the idea that the criminal is the victim.

The left, now dominant, will pay the price. Fantasies of retaliation will play vividly in voters’ minds when they go to vote in November—just how vividly, the Democratic Party and President Biden will discover.

The difference between my 1973 story and the news reports of 2022 amounts to the difference, as it were, between Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Tom gives you the boyish, innocent, sun-shot rendering of Hannibal, Mo., in the middle of the 19th century. Huck’s story is the version of America that includes poverty, murder, alcoholism, child abuse, race prejudice, blood feud and imbecility. Minneapolis today looks a little more like the Huckleberry Finn version, although without Huck’s humor or his rascal charm.

So when is the “Hinderaker for Governor” campaign going to get under way? November is only 10 months off.

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