Progressive city officials in the 2020s appear determined to make all the mistakes liberal city officials made in the 1970s and ’80s, but with updated language. Michael Shellenberger’s “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities” chronicles various experiments in unreality conducted by one city’s activists and political class in the 21st century. It is a bracing narrative.

San Francisco’s travails with public defecation have made headlines in the last couple of years, and for good reason. Thanks to generous welfare payments, lenient law enforcement and clement weather, thousands of homeless have made their way to the city from elsewhere, and the ranks of the local homeless have swelled, too. They need somewhere to relieve themselves, and the installation of portable toilets doesn’t seem to help. City leaders, trapped by an ideology that equates lawbreaking with victimhood, don’t know what to do about it.

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