Virtue signaling in Minnesota should stay local

St. Paul, Minnesota, excels in Leftist virtue signaling — which would be fine if they’d keep it in Minnesota and not try to force it on the rest of us.

Virtue signaling Minnesota St. PaulA few days ago, I put up several photos showing the extreme virtue signaling that one finds in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the form of signs that people place in front of their houses. With perfect timing, two of my favorite sites put up posts today about Minnesota.

At American Thinker, there’s a post about the profound way in which Somalis have changed Minneapolis’s character. Considering that two of the photos at my site, showing yard signs in St. Paul (Minneapolis’s sister city) in which the home owners are either showing excessive tenderness for Muslim sensibilities or begging that their houses be spared future race/religion based attacks, that article is right on the money. Meanwhile, over at Powerline, there’s a post about Minneapolis’s decision to sponsor a program taking on America’s collective guilt because, 400 years ago, it took part in Africa’s tradition of slavery, something stretching back thousands of years.

Since Minnesota virtue signaling seems to be a theme, I have some more photographs to add to the show. The first photo is a typical yard sign, which I saw several times while driving around St. Paul:

In addition to the yard sign, the house had something rather sweet that I saw in front of several houses — a glass-fronted box filled with books. The principle is that passers-by can “take a book and leave a book.” In this particular “library box” the only book visible bore this title:

Regarding the next photo, I always laugh when I see someone boast that “science is real.” Science is not a “thing,” like a rock or a cabbage. It’s a process. And if you value the scientific process, you’re not going to say that men can magically become women (which is an idea I’m sure this homeowner would espouse). Moreover, if you say that men can magically become women through hormones and plastic surgery, so much so that they can compete in women’s athletics, you’ve completely negated women’s rights. With just those two notions in mind, the whole sign becomes rather silly.

The next photo needs a small preface. My older readers probably remember Paul Wellstone’s infamous funeral. Paul Wellstone was a Progressive Minnesota politician who died in a plane crash in 2002, something that was very tragic. However, for most Americans, Wellstone is remembered less for what he did in his life, than for the “pep rally” his funeral became:

The basketball arena at the University of Minnesota holds 20,000 people. Tonight it’s jam-packed. Not for the Gophers, whose Big 10 championship banners hang from the rafters, but for Paul Wellstone, the liberal senator who died Friday in a plane crash while campaigning for re-election. A pantheon of Democrats—Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Tom Daschle, Ted Kennedy, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry—has come to pay its respects.


But the solemnity of death and the grace of Midwestern humor are overshadowed tonight by the angry piety of populism. Most of the event feels like a rally. The touching recollections are followed by sharply political speeches urging Wellstone’s supporters to channel their grief into electoral victory. The crowd repeatedly stands, stomps, and whoops. The roars escalate each time Walter Mondale, the former vice president who will replace Wellstone on the ballot, appears on the giant screens suspended above the stage. “Fritz! Fritz!” the assembly chants.

“Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning,” Wellstone declares in a videotaped speech shown on the overhead screens. “Politics is about improving people’s lives.” But as the evening’s speakers proceed, it becomes clear that to them, honoring Wellstone’s legacy is all about winning the election. Repeating the words of Wellstone’s son, the assembly shouts, “We will win! We will win!” Rick Kahn, a friend of Wellstone’s, urges everyone to “set aside the partisan bickering,” but in the next breath he challenges several Republican senators in attendance to “honor your friend” by helping to “win this election for Paul Wellstone.” What can he be thinking?

At least one person in St. Paul remembered Wellstone’s politics so fondly, s/he made a rather unintelligible 8 1/2 by 11 document, laminated it, and put it out on the sidewalk for everyone to study:

One yard, however, was my favorite. What first caught my eye was the virtue signaling “All are welcome here” sign. It was only a split second later than I noticed the Honeywell Security sign, which pretty much says, “You’re not welcome here at all.” I was still laughing halfway up the block.

Aside from the rampant virtue signaling, the reality is that St. Paul seems to be a charming city: It’s well-maintained, the streets are filled with beautiful houses from the Victorian era forward, the place is overrun with little colleges, many dating back a century or so, and people are friendly.

When I’m in St. Paul, or in Minnesota generally, I don’t mind that they’re all crazy Leftists because I’m a big believer in local politics. Local politics reflect local concerns and address local problems. People who like a locality’s politics can move to that area, while people who dislike the politics can leave. The same holds true for ill-managed Leftist cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

What I bitterly resent about the citizens of pretty St. Paul, as well as disastrous Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, is the compulsion the citizens in those cities have to force their voluntary policy choices onto the United States as a whole. What they’re doing negates the virtues of constitutional federalism (a federal government of limited powers and state governments of only slightly limited powers), destroying the beauty of “50 laboratories of democracy.” If your policies are that good, lead by example, not by coercion.

Of course, some Minnesota policies have national ramifications. The state’s coddling of Islamists, for example, makes Minnesota a too-perfect breeding ground for Islamist terrorism. The federal government should have a say in this national security matter. Likewise, when Leftist civic policies turn cities into breeding grounds for dangerous contagious diseases (L.A. now has both typhus and typhoid), that too may have national ramifications that call for federal action.

Otherwise, if Leftist cities, whether in Minnesota, California, Seattle, or elsewhere, want to experiment with Venezuela-style politics, I say “Let them.” If the policies work, more power to them; and if they don’t work, they become an object lesson in the dangers of Leftism.

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