When did it all go so wrong?

That’s a question many folks in Albuquerque — and throughout New Mexico — have asked themselves, again and again. Why is public policy here so destructive? Why do elected officials refuse learn from the state’s neighbors, and implement lower taxes, right-to-work laws, school-choice reforms, and other innovations that hold promise to enrich and improve lives?

Yesterday, KIVA aired a lengthy conversation with a man who helped supply a big chunk of the answer. “Steve” (perhaps not his real name) accessed the WABAC Machine, and took listeners on a tour of left-wing radicalism in the city and state. His claims, verified by KIVA’s staff, went a long way toward explaining why Big Government prevails — and is getting even worse.

Did you know that after going on the lam, due to his terrorist activities with the Weather UndergroundMark Rudd came to Albuquerque, and taught at what is now Central New Mexico Community College? Or that Emil Shaw, a prominent member of the Communist Party of the United States of America, moved to Albuquerque after “retirement” and worked with the SouthWest Organizing Project, American Federation of Teachers New Mexico Retirees, Gray Panthers of Greater Albuquerque, N.M. AFL-CIO Retirees Council, and Alliance for Retired Americans? Or that David Hilliard, a felon and former leader of the Black Panther Partyonce taught at the University of New Mexico?

UNM has bona fide Marxists on its staff today. For example, David Correia, the chair of the “Department of American Studies at the University of New Mexico,” writes about and teaches “in the areas of environmental politics, violence and its relation to law & property, critical human geography and political economy.” (His courses “Marxism and Nature” and “Environmental Justice” are notable, but “Nature, Science and Anxiety in the Zombie Films of George Romero” cannot be missed.)

And we’ve only scratched the surface of the army of radical leftists — many taxpayer-subsidized — at work in our state. Is it any wonder, after marinating in the toxic brew of anticapitalism and identity politics, that our “leaders” embrace policies that promise nothing but pain for individuals, families, and entrepreneurs?

Case in point: Last night’s attempt to impose “premium pay” and “sick leave” in Albuquerque. Pushed by Isaac Benton and Lan Sena, the ordinances would have devastated the Duke City’s coronavirus-lockdown-battered economy. To its credit, Albuquerque’s business community fought the measures with everything it had, and prevailed — for now. Rest assured, the proposed regulations will return.

It comes as no surprise you that Benton was once “a VISTA volunteer at UNM’s Design and Planning Assistance Center,” and now “volunteers with UNM’s Architecture program.” Sena has two degrees from UNM, and is employed as a “Healthcare Leader” for New Mexico Together For Healthcare, a lobbying organization. (Its goal: a single-payer system.)

Limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility? New Mexico’s elites don’t know much about those traditional American principles. Radicalized during their time at colleges and universities, empowered with resources from government and deep-pocketed foundations, and surrounded by people who think only the way they do, Benton, Sena, and their ilk press forward with their mission. But the more we know about who they are, where they came from, and what they want, the better able we are to fight them.

Last night brought a victory. The war, though, goes on.