Even when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg receives criticism, he is regarded as "a pragmatic, apolitical, solution-oriented centrist," as Joe Nocera once described him in The New York Times. But it isn't so.
The conventional wisdom is wrong. Although Bloomberg belongs to neither the conservative movement nor the progressive movement, he is an ideologue. His response to events is influenced by his paternalistic ideas about the direction society "needs to" head more than by a dispassionate response to the facts. This makes him a lot like most politicians. The conceit that he is a pragmatist is based in nothing more than the fact that he is more willing than most to transgress against norms of personal liberty.
The latest illustration of his ideological approach: his response to the Boston marathon bombing.
"Look, we live in a very dangerous world," he said. "We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11."
We have to understand that in the world going forward, we're going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff. That's good in some senses, but it's different than what we are used to. And the people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry, but we live in a complex world where you're going to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution I think have to change.
It is hardly surprising that an unapologetic paternalist who frequently shows disregard for civil liberties would favor creating a more expansive surveillance state than the one that presently exists.