by Rick Hoar
October 24, 2010

One can generally expect to find a strong liberal base in most major U.S. cities. The big-government-entitlement, redistribution-of-wealth, never-even-thought-of-teaching-a-man-to-fish crowds tend to aggregate in those urban environments where resources are scarce and the gap between the have’s and the have not’s is at its most extreme.

So, when my wife and I were planning a temporary relocation to New York City, the biggest of our big cities, I have to admit I wasn’t excited about the potential socialist nightmare to which I could soon be subjected. After mingling with the fine peoples of this truly great city though, I have found something truly unique in the New Yorker that I never anticipated.

I should preface these observations with my disclaimer on socialism once again: It is not, in and of itself, evil. Federal socialism is Nazi-ism, but the human experience is undeniably rooted in our ability to socialize freely and interact with some degree of dependency upon one another. The most fruitful civilizations are the ones that can collaborate naturally and take advantage of the stability a healthy family can generate.

All that said, it’s also true that socialism tends to be at odds with independence and personal liberty. I do think it is good to be able coexist and cooperate with your fellow man, but that a pioneering spirit and the self-reliant strength of free will are traits that must remain intact if our species is to continue to prosper and progress.

So, what’s the synthesis?

Well baby, New York gets it! Walking the streets, I’m amazed to find the folks here are genuinely my kind of people. On the surface, they seem driven and focused on only their own success. These people will march headlong through hesitant traffic and head-down through subway crushes, hell-bent on reaching their destination, on doing their job, and on going home to rest before the next mission gets underway.

New Yorkers aren’t simple robot workaholics though. Tourists will frequently interrupt these people as they do the march of the worker ant, to and from the hive. I’m always shocked to hear their warm and helpful replies. People will stop and help each other out, share laughs, commiserate about the weather – they’ll be real people – all in the brief moments that mass transit allows them to share.

So it is possible to be both productive and lenient, self-reliant and selfless. That New York state of mind is a no-nonsense, dog eat dog, get ‘er done urgency, cut with an earnest sympathy for the fallen and combined somehow with comfort for living like sardines, stacked, unceremoniously, 2 Million deep on an island less than three miles wide from shore to shore.

That’s why I love it. This is living. No gilded cages here - just a giant, churning engine of productivity that’s driving the business of the entire free world. Independence is the fuel, socialism is the lubrication. Utopians take note.