A New Yorker Knows
Now that Michael Bloomberg is being foisted upon Democratic primary voters as the establishment’s last stab at stopping the (more overtly) communist juggernaut, people are hearkening back to a supposedly tough comment he made a few years ago about his potential 2020 presidential rival Donald Trump: “I’m a New Yorker and I know a con when I see one.”
As a commenter at Patterico’s blog today points out, Bloomberg the “New Yorker” was born in Boston and grew up in Medford, Massachusetts. So much for New Yorkers knowing a con when they see one.
More broadly, I wish everyone would stop this long-standing tribal practice of citing a geographical location as evidence in their favor, as in “I’m a New Yorker and I know a con when I see one.” Where is the reasoning to support the idea that a self-described New Yorker (regardless of whether he really is one) has a better nose for a con than anyone from anywhere else?
If anything, New York seems like unusually rich soil for successful cons of every sort. Bloomberg himself pulled one. Trump has built a neon empire on chutzpah and name-selling. New York is one of America’s hotbeds of “democratic socialism” (i.e., masked communism), progressive social policy, institutionalized race-politicking, public school boondoggling, and a host of other political cons. Half the crap on Broadway is pure fakery and glitz without purpose or lasting value. The news networks have traditionally been based in New York, and there is no industry in America more provably built on the Big Lie theory than TV news. And New York is also the fake hometown of another popular progressive totalitarian con person, Hillary Clinton. Come to think of it, the 2016 election was, among other things, a contest between the two most outrageous New York frauds, which means that even the Washington political establishment itself, than which there is no bigger con on the planet, now views New York as its spiritual home base. Enough said.
So where does anyone — even a Massachusetts con man — get the gumption to use his supposedly being a New Yorker as proof of his being streetwise? Geographical mythologizing is a moral weakness of humans from every location, I suppose, and especially of big city dwellers; but New York seems like an exceptionally ridiculous example of this weakness.
Contrary to Bloomberg’s false New Yorker boast, I genuinely pity those New Yorkers who don’t fall into this easily-conned “New York values” trap. It must be a tough place to live for a sincerely self-determining, independent-thinking individual who isn’t obsessed with government and glitz, and who sees through all the outward bravado and the shiny surfaces that seem to be so effective on so many around him.
If Bloomberg recognizes the Trump con so well, I would say he achieved this insight less on the “New Yorkers can see through things” principle, which is parochial nonsense, and more on the “Takes one to know one” principle, which may have some old-fashioned human truth about it.