Confronting The Madness

Ep. 24 Tom Wolf and Chief Dale McFee Confront Pathological Altruism

January 15, 2022

Pathological Altruism: Behavior in which attempts to promote the welfare of another, or others, results instead in harm that an external observer would conclude was reasonably foreseeable.


Over the holidays, I read a book by author Michael Schellenberger, "San Fransicko: Why progressives are ruining cities.


The book posits that progressive policies on homelessness, inequality, and crime have made the cities that progressives control worse, not better. 


Schellenberger believes that the real problem isn't a lack of housing or money for social programs. The real problem is an ideology that designates some people, by identity or experience, as victims entitled to destructive behaviors. The result is an undermining of the values that make cities and civilization itself possible.


Mr. Tom Wolf appears prominently in San Fransicko. Tom is a former homeless heroin addict who has now become an advocate for recovery. While reading the book, I couldn't help but be impressed by Tom. He has the voice of lived experience combined with a pragmatic, empathetic, and non-ideological approach. I was thrilled he agreed to speak on this episode.


I was also grateful to have City of Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee join in the conversation. Dale is a systems-oriented thinker who has been leading transformational change within Edmonton Police Force.


We discuss homelessness, addiction, mental illness, drug and housing policies, policing, and politics. We also draw on Tom's experiences in San Francisco to help us consider the type of policies our cities in Canada need to investigate further.


I loved this conversation and am grateful to have had the opportunity to listen to Tom and Dale grapple with some of the most intractable challenges of our time.

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