Yes, you absolutely are right. That is a terrible title for the blog of a Freedom lover. which is why I felt the need to do it. Because it’s one part of the whole “toleration/authoritarianism” paradigm I did not talk about sufficiently. I kind of glanced off it, in pointing out that allowing people to do whatever they want is bad for other people and you need to draw the line there.

This is absolutely true. I don’t care if you want to live on the street, but I draw the line at your attacking passerbyes, pooping on the sidewalk, being allowed to camp anywhere that’s “public” because that makes cities unusable for other people. And eventually other people get tired of it, and the totalitarian boot comes down. (Not that it’s not there, before, since other people are being forced to indulge you and give you everything you want to live in this way, and never say boo to it. The difference is only in who is being oppressed.)

However, and this is important, and a fine distinction, the people who are being indulged are not actually receiving any benefit from it, and might be destroyed by the indulgence, because they never learn to correct their behavior to what is functional.

So, all the compassionate cities who allow the homeless to just shit on the sidewalk? They’re telling them they don’t even consider them human. Because animals also poop on the sidewalk. (The irony being a dog owner will be fined if his dog poops on the sidewalk, but if he, himself does it? That’s fine.) Allow them to “camp” anywhere, which often seems to mean just slump on the sidewalk with a sleeping bag? Any number of them will die when the winter cold comes.

It’s not just the awful effect on other people it’s the awful effect on themselves.

Now, these “effects” are of a different order, and they require different ways of dealing with.

Take the homeless, because they’re such a found of floridly bad behavior and of being indulged.

Pooping on the sidewalk should definitely be regulated, because it’s not only awful for the person (it is) but it also makes the city unhygienic (real public health issue) and impassible. It makes often expensive downtown properties worthless. It makes tourists stay away. All of this affects other people. Heck, the germ theory of disease caused a whole lot of public cleanliness laws including “don’t spit on the sidewalk.” This might seem oppressive, but it really resulted in a lot less disease and early death. You can be as filthy as you want in your own, private property, but don’t poop/pee/spit on the sidewalk. (Emergencies, such as someone throwing up are obviously different.)

And no, you shouldn’t be allowed to camp in parks/sidewalks/public venues, because by doing so you’re limiting how others can use it.

And of course you shouldn’t be allowed to attack other people. It’s not their fault or responsibility that you’re feral. Attacking people, particularly random passerbyes, used to be known to be a bad thing, because of course it affects other people.

BUT you want to be homeless? Permanently stoned? Beg for a living? Well, buddy, that’s your bailywick, so long as you’re not interfering with anyone else.

You know what society — and by society I mean lefty (and weirdly some right) custard heads — shouldn’t do: Tell stories about how we’re all guilty of your homelessness; talk as if only people who are forced to this choose to do it; pick the three families that are legitimately and temporarily homeless and pretend every other homeless is like that; start charities to “feed the homeless” and therefore make it easy for people to live like that; start charities that enable that type of life to continue; give help without a sermon.

Look, yeah, people are allowed to self-destroy. We’re not REQUIRED to enable it. Yes, sometimes you’re going to help someone in that situation, but yes, you absolutely should do it with a “Sermon” because your explanation of how they got to this point might be the one that finally sinks in.

Self-destructive behavior should come with its own consequences. For the person. Because sometimes it’s the only way they’ll give it up.

And that ultimately is the highest help you can give them.

152 thoughts on “WHEN TOLERANCE KILLS

  1. The homeless are not having a good time out there. They’re ill and they need help. Instead of mental health help, they get handouts from our tax dollars and places to shoot up from city officials. And they rape and kill each other, and freeze to death in the winter, and are infected with disease and bitten by fleas and rats. Even the homeless in sunny Venice Beach beat each other in broad daylight. They’re in hell, and they are kept there by liberal policies that do nothing to help them.

    The liberal policy towards the homeless is evil. And like all evil things, it cloaks itself in “compassion.”

      1. Some of the ones who brought themselves there have done such damage to themselves that they need help.

        But it has to be understood that those who help are in charge.

  2. Many years ago there was a TV Movie on the “Homeless Problem” that attempted to make people feel sorry for the “Homeless”.

    Unfortunately, IMO the message received was “what a bunch of idiots”.

    First, they had the husband lose his job and later lose their home.

    Second, they showed the husband being offered help (ie a place to stay) from a relative of his and the idiot TURNED DOWN THE HELP.

    Third, the wife stayed with him along with their children. IE She didn’t accept the help offered by her husband’s relative.

    And we were supposed to feel sorry for those idiots???????

    Oh, apparently the reviewers banned the movie for “piling on the garbage”. IE The scriptwriters keep giving the family more problems (like losing the pet cat).

    1. Sorry, that should be “panned the movie” not “banned the movie”. [Embarrassed]

  3. Attacking people, especially innocent passersby, should be countered with a single shot to the center of mass. Of course then disposal of the carcass becomes your problem. If you’re in a park, you’re supposed to notify the park management. Sidewalks and other public places are the responsibility of the city department of sanitation. If in the road, then the highway department. Most states make it a crime to not report a dead body. Thing is, there’s a problem of reporting the carcass of a person you shot, in that doing so would violate your 5th amendment right against self-incrimination. Of course if someone else sees the body and reports it at that time, then you avoid that problem. It becomes problematic if there’s nobody else there to report it, because if you dispose of the body without notifying anyone, then you’re tampering with a potential crime scene (the assault scene, not a murder scene.)
    Damn the government for making this so doggone complicated.

      1. There’s a Key West variant for free range chickens–it’s illegal to pen your chickens down there, so people (joke about) using icicles to kill the birds. Ice melts, no evidence. If you feel like burying it, feel free, but the coral is very tough to dig into.

              1. When the folks stayed in Melborne for a time to save for a new 5th wheel, Dad worked with some guys who would trap the hogs and feed them purina pig chow and other good foods for a few weeks to get some of the palmetto bush taste out, then butcher them. I don’t think they got many in the Keys, if any, but the rest of the place seems to have plenty.

                1. Oh, there’s shedloads of them in the rest of the state, they rototill large swaths of the ground whenever I go in the woods. I just don’t know if they travel over the bridges between the islands!

          1. Take no chances, stake them. remove the head and then burn them. Regular commies are annoying enough but undead commies? BRRRRRR.

  4. There was a neighborhood ruckus a year or so ago, when there was a small homeless camp in the greenbelt just outside the boundary of my neighborhood. One of their campfires got out of hand (after making the place noisome to nearby homeowners with feces, spent needles and syringes, and carousing to all hours) and burned the brush, a boundary fence, and darned near two homes. That was the far frozen limit, and a bunch of us came to a meeting, and complained so loudly to the city that the site was cleared. A year later, another homeless campsite in the woods across the boulevard was cleared. Apparently the dirtbags living there were making a nice living out of stealing bicycles, lawn tools, kid’s toys and anything not nailed down from neighborhoods all the way around.
    Neighbors were furious, and unloaded on the corporation which owns that tract. Look, if you want to laze around living in a tent in the woods, drug and drink yourself into insensibility – be my freaking guest with your life choices – just do so without wrecking life for the rest of us, ‘kay?

  5. What we’re seeing with the homelessness problem isn’t tolerance. It’s a billion-dollar rentier economy. The more homeless people a city accumulates, the more $$ they get to “solve” the problem. If they actually solved it, the money would go away. So they keep “solving” it by making it even easier for people to remain that way.

    A fairly conservative friend who works in public health in one of Oregon’s “progressive” cities has a front row seat to this. Tucker Carlson did a recent segment on it too.

    1. And it isn’t new; Leslie Fish wrote this in the 1970s working for a while in a welfare office in Chicago.

    2. Expenditures in these blue cities run from $35k to $100k per year per “homeless” person.

      Which is enough to buy each and every one a decent house and provide a monthly stipend. It’s more money than most of us make, and somehow manage not to be homeless.

      Then there was the study someone did following a street addict’s drug buys, and it came to over $100k/year.

      So yeah, it’s not about ending homelessness, it’s about keeping that budget appropriation flowing.

      1. and the votes. Homeless people vote. Homeless people get busses to voting locations. Sometimes they’re even the location they should be voting in.

        1. Yep, but they’re a pretty small fraction of the total in those blue cities. They could cheat a lot more easily simply by way of imaginary mail-in ballots.

          1. Especially since no Democrats are verifying before counting even if the law requires it. See WI, NH, etc.

    3. That… doesn’t surprise me all that much. Not sure what to do about that beyond vote the bums out and prosecute for misappropriation of funds.

      It is rather grotesque that they’re, essentially, farming people for money though.

        1. One of the saddest things I ever heard was a 6 year old who said “My Mom needs more money, so I’m going to have a little brother.” Think about that. She’s selling her KIDS. She’s getting pregnant so that she’ll have more money. The woman had three at the time, ended up with a total of 6. Getting child support from four dads, collecting welfare for the other two.

          At that point, having children becomes a business. Farming children for money.

          1. Thanks a lot LBJ with your “Great Society” programs. You taught generations of people how to be parasites.

      1. Bullets are cheap!

        Or if you live in an area with deer or pig hunting there can be “hunting accidents” that happen from hundreds of meters away…

    4. Flyover Falls, in a distinctly red portion of Oregon doesn’t have (much) of a homeless problem. AFAIK, the only residential shelter is run by the Gospel Mission, and they have a) a 30 day limit, b) a no-work, no stay policy. I’ve seen it in action–seems to work.

      Hard core homeless live at the shoreline of Flyover River (actually a lake at that point), but those tend to be pretty far from areas where they can cause huge problems. (Unlike Medford, where the camps are along a creek running along the spine of the city, with syringes, crime, and a few nasty fires each year.) It helps F-Falls that our winter tends to be freaking cold, so a lot of the less-prepared bug out to the warmer areas. (Like Medford, or the commie progressive strongholds.)

      1. lot of the less-prepared bug out to the warmer areas

        Eugene (grrrrr), Salem, Portland … But not Springfield, next door to Eugene.

        Although in Eugene, appropriate TPTB have complained enough that underbrush is cleared out under trees along the Willamette, both sides, or rather I should say “Willamette River Bike Path”. Camps still crop up, but they get cleared out faster. Now does that mean camps can’t be found: Along RR tracks? Under Beltline on River Road? Under Beltline on Expressway. On Beltline right of way? Etc.? Yes to all …

        We’ve been hovering right around freezing. Haven’t heard if the Egan Warming Centers are open at night or not. (Egan was a homeless person who froze to death in Eugene area, before the warming centers were available. OTOH pets not allowed, so a lot of homeless won’t use the warming centers regardless.)

          1. Northwest suburbs of Chi town there were about 25 churches with facilities for the homeless. They rotated on a schedule such that 4 or 5 were open every night. They were fed, showered, given a bed and breakfast and had to be gone by 7 am. Generally church members volunteered to ‘chaperone’ and in fact minister to them.

            Seemed to work well from fall to early spring. At least they got the message and true help if needed or wanted. Did hear some success stories. Also no drugs or drink. Was strong communication as was coordinated by one or two guys who worked with the communities for funding. Any problem children, data was shared and folks were banned.

            In general agree, and have little sympathy. Empathy yes, sympathy no. Have been down in the past but my bourgeoisie values never allowed me to accept that position. Be not proud and do the work and in no time back on the feet.

          2. Mostly churches. But some other places too. But it has to get down into the teens regularly, or snow. Hasn’t been quite that cold. Freezing. Foggy. Then too you hear it all over the news/radio, etc., that the warming centers are opening/open. Haven’t heard a word. Not Covid because they opened in anticipation of the snow coming in Christmas to New Years (which surprise) actually forecast correctly! Very rare.

      2. Same in Flyover Oilpatch West, we have a few layabouts downtown but the occasional spate of -25F temps tends to discourage ’em from taking root. Also, I’ve seen the cops come down on those who bother the normies, so the local attitude is not so enabling.

    5. Basic rule of economics: incentives matter.

      Fix the incentives and problems tend to be resolved. In this case there’s actually incentives to the bureaucratic classes for having more homeless so no wonder it will never get fixed.

      1. Well, and who set up the incentives that way? The bureaucratic classes.

        The desired end state is one where there is one homeless person left, and everyone else is in the bureaucracy ‘fixing’ the problem. The head bureaucrat is therefore Emperor of Everything, and nothing useful will ever be accomplished again.

  6. It’s not so much a hard heart that I have, as much as I don’t have a soft head.

    Way back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, I didn’t give the homeless money in Berkeley and such. I knew most of them didn’t need food-they knew where to get it, or medical care, or clothing, or even shelter in an emergency. They wanted the money for their addictions-drugs and alcohol were the big ones.

    I knew quite a few of them were self-medicating because they had mental issues. But, they had grown up afraid of psychiatric medication, because it wasn’t good when most of them grew up and most of them lived. Lots of nasty side effects, you could see why they wouldn’t want to be on them.

    Some…just had bad luck in general. Lost their job, didn’t have much of a social net in one way or another, couldn’t get a job that would let them afford to live anywhere reasonably good in the SF Bay Area…yea, I can sympathize.

    Most of them…well, weren’t. They had ways to make the world work for them, and they didn’t have to change them, because nobody was forcing them to. They could earn enough to do the “fun” things they liked-and they didn’t have to pay anyone for their “fun.”

    (If you wanted to hear cursing, give the homeless McDonald’s gift certificates back in the day. Profanity was astonishing…)

    What’s worse…are the people that feel virtuous in enabling this behavior. Because it makes them look good.

    1. There was a time I’d keep peanut butter jars to give the local beggers. At the time, they were really happy to see it, but not that long ago, that stopped.

    2. At one point I had less than a dollar on me–working minimum wage while I worked my way through school–and I handed like 70 cents to a panhandler. He looked down at it and said, “I can’t buy anything with that.”

      Contrast that with a man with a shopping cart–not asking for money. I approached him and offered him a Subway gift card I happened to have in my pocket. You would have thought I’d given him the world, and he headed right in to the Subway a short distance away. I doubt that one was on the street much longer. The first, on the other hand…

      1. Dad was a cop. The stories you saw on “COPS” was tame in comparison to some of the things he saw when he was out on the streets. He was right in the middle of the PCP epidemic and at least one of his fatal shootings was a PCP shoot (if you wonder why cops unload the magazine into the mentally ill and such, blame PCP). And, how many homeless were “frequent fliers” of one kind or another.

        I’ve long ago come to the conclusion that at some point, I’ll have to do terrible things to protect the people I love. I just hope that those times are rare.

      2. Panhandlers already have a job: they’re professional beggars. The more-skilled can make a very nice income, and frequently go home after a long day in front of Walmart to their own nice apartment and a change into clean normie clothes.

        We had a pro in Lancaster CA whose regular pitch was in front of Walmart. About once a month he’d get drunk and a little rowdy and jailed overnight. Cops said he usually had about $5000 in cash on him.

        There was another with a regular pitch at Burbank Blvd off the Hollywood Freeway. Nice guy, smiled at everyone. Approached my open window one day, and I said sorry I’m broke, and he pulled out a wad of cash and asked, “Do you need any?”

        The ones who aren’t panhandling are still working on a way out.

        1. Right. I interviewed a formerly (and very recently) homeless woman for a magazine article a few years ago, and she drew a very clear distinction between the few like her, who were temporarily and unwillingly homeless, and the majority who don’t *want* anything like a normal home because those things come with responsibilities that would limit their drug abuse.

          She stayed away from those people as best she could (gave homeless camps a wide berth) and took the first opportunity she found to get off the street and into a subsidized apartment. Was out on the streets for about 3 months, iirc. Not sure if she ever fully managed to reach full independence, because reading between the lines, she did have some mental instability issues, but I have a reasonable hope that she kept things together enough to stay off the streets.

          The progs would like us to think everyone that lives on the streets is like her, and “society” is what keeps them there. Reality is, there’s a wealth of resources available to all of the homeless, such that everyone that wants to get out and live a more normal life can do it, just like she did…if they want to. And there’s the rub.

  7. I’ve problems with present day terminology. For example, lockdown. A term originate in prisons for control of a captive population, then applied to schools now, with use of force, to any refusing to comply with government mandates. In this case the term is quite apt, that people accept such action outside a prison is a horror.

    The N word. Every time I hear that I see little 2nd grade Suzy waving her arm and shouting; “Teacher, teacher, Johnny just said the D word!” Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a d___.

    Homeless. They used to be called bums, grifters, hobos, criminals, on the morning glory lay. Homeless suggests they deserve sympathy and support not feelings and efforts we’d aim at bums, grifters, and criminals. In this case calling a spade a fruit tree we end up putting them on the streets rather than storing them in the shed.

  8. “The homeless” got onto the national radar screen during the Reagan era. We’d always had bums and hobos, but they were not seen as a national crisis. Unfortunately, a combination of the effects of having shut down most if not all mental institutions (look, idiots, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is not a goddamn documentary, and if you watch the actual movie, you can see that most of the patients there needed to be there) and a news media frothingly eager to paint the GOP as Mean Heartless White People picking on Noble Poor People, made homelessness a permanent thing—at least when the GOP’s in office.

    1. That was also about the time various states started cracking down on American citizen migrant workers– picker’s cabins were a thing in the 70s, but were slowly being regulated out of existence later on.

      So these folks who traveled to work were being “compassionately” deprived of the housing that had been part of their pay, because it wasn’t possible to keep the places legal for renting standards.

    2. A famous “homeless advocate,” at the time said he made up the, “7,000,000 homeless population,” figure at a Congressional hearing because the Congresscritters insisted on a number.
      And from that point on, it was gospel. (Actual estimate, from a decidedly liberal source, was about 250,000, mostly deinstitutionalized mental patients).

      1. Does beg the question, what is the statue of limitations for making false statements to Congress?

        Seems like some of the “magic numbers” problems may resolve themselves once people start going to jail for riding them…

        1. It doesn’t matter what the statute of limitations is because the federal government has made it virtually impossible for any but federal prosecutors to prosecute for violating federal law. Federal prosecutors are not going to go after those who serve the Leftist narrative unless there is a more thorough cleansing of the Department of inJustice than I suspect we’ll see short of an outright revolution, or at least a decisive cleanup of the election process in swing states such as Michigan, Arizona, etc.

        2. The way he told it, they pressured him into it. Not likely anyone would prosecute.
          And by now, the figure might be true.

    3. I had a fun time, back when one of the forums was free of Martian Brain Fungus, of talking about all the things that One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest was about. Not the least of which was the era, that McMurphy faked insanity (and, he had been arrested for assault and statutory rape) to escape a prison farm, and that if Ratchett wasn’t hard-core keeping the patients in order they would eat her alive.

      And, for one or two of them, that wouldn’t be a metaphor.

      But, because they wanted to have a Hero that would Stick it to the (wo)Man and go after “straight” culture and everything…ugh!

  9. Fulton Sheen’s A Plea for Intolerance points at the problem, and the foreword to Chesterton’s What I Saw In America lays out the philosophy and the tolerance that America is built on– I’ll go with the latter for a quote.

    Now a creed is at once the broadest and the narrowest thing in the world. In its nature it is as broad as its scheme for a brotherhood of all men. In its nature it is limited by its definition of the nature of all men. This was true of the Christian Church, which was truly said to exclude neither Jew nor Greek, but which did definitely substitute something else for Jewish religion or Greek philosophy. It was truly said to be a net drawing in of all kinds; but a net of a certain pattern, the pattern of Peter the Fisherman. And this is true even of the most disastrous distortions or degradations of that creed; and true among others of the Spanish Inquisition. It may have been narrow touching theology, it could not confess to being narrow about nationality or ethnology. The Spanish Inquisition might be admittedly Inquisitorial; but the Spanish Inquisition could not be merely Spanish. Such a Spaniard, even when he was narrower than his own creed, had to be broader than his own empire. He might burn a philosopher because he was heterodox; but he must accept a barbarian because he was orthodox. And we see, even in modern times, that the same Church which is blamed for making sages heretics is also blamed for making savages priests. Now in a much vaguer and more evolutionary fashion, there is something of the same idea at the back of the great American experiment; the experiment of a democracy of diverse races which has been compared to a melting-pot. But even that metaphor implies that the pot itself is of a certain shape and a certain substance; a pretty solid substance. The melting-pot must not melt. The original shape was traced on the lines of Jeffersonian democracy; and it will remain in that shape until it becomes shapeless. America invites all men to become citizens; but it implies the dogma that there is such a thing as citizenship. Only, so far as its primary ideal is concerned, its exclusiveness is religious because it is not racial. The missionary can condemn a cannibal, precisely because he cannot condemn a Sandwich Islander. And in something of the same spirit the American may exclude a polygamist, precisely because he cannot exclude a Turk.

    Basically– a lot of folks aren’t OK with anyone being able to be an American, they want tolerance to mean people can be American without needing to be American.

    1. I do love me some Chesterton, but that’s a lot of words to say “in America, where you’re from doesn’t matter, what you do does matter.”

      1. He spent even more saying, basically, “look, yes, I know we all know that Charming English Fellow who is an anarchist but he’s English so that’s OK.”

        I think…that may actually be a really big problem and why we make the rest of the world’s head hurt.
        We really ARE more like a religion than a country.

  10. “So, all the compassionate cities who allow the homeless to just shit on the sidewalk? They’re telling them they don’t even consider them human.”

    I think this is important, too. Communists, lefties, whatever you want to call them do not see those who aren’t like them as human. They don’t think these people are worth the effort to arrest because they consider them sub-human.

    It affects everything they do.

    1. But if they do consider you human, then instead of ignoring you or maybe even subsidizing you, they’ll do you the great honor of expropriating your possessions, starving you, and if you disagree with them, imprisoning and torturing you. If it’s one or the other, maybe being subhuman makes sense.

      1. The Inner Party didn’t care about the proles or bother them much because there was no way they could ever be a threat to the Party’s power.

        1. That was an point lacking realism in 1984. In the USSR, they worried about everyone. Though it was the show trials, not the sufferings of those outside the party, that leaked.

    2. More like they see the existence of vagrants as living assaults on property rights and bourgeoisie values.


      (They also get off on calling you selfish.)

  11. The free range asylum, and the tolerance, are not the real centers of gravity here.

    The issue here is that we have communists, and communists hate bourgeoisie values, and those who practice bourgeoisie values.

    What are these values? Getting married, staying married to the same person, serious parental investment in children, delivering on the deals you make, choosing slow steady wealth accumulation over gambling on get rich quick schemes.

    These are the opposite of slowly destroying yourself, of destroying others, and of destroying everything around you.

    When you value yourself enough not to slowly destroy yourself long term for short term ‘benefit’, you are too invested in the future to be easily bullied into destroying society the way the communist faith says must be done. Which makes you an intractable foe to the communists.

    Involuntary confinement in mental health hospitals was ‘cruel’, because it might possibly result in a return to bourgeoisie living. Sure, yes, mental health care is never a situation entirely without cruelty, if for no other reason than that the diseases are cruel. Psychiatric nurses have less reason to use lethal force than do cops. “Oh no, a cop handling a guy with meth in his system may have contributed to the guy’s death.” No shit, Sherlock. With psych nurses, a confined person may be on less dangerous drugs, they have fewer concealed weapons, and perhaps you don’t have crowds of dangerous bystanders, so you can spend more of your available manpower wrestling down the psycho with safer holds.

    Yes, confinement is expensive. More expensive than free range, everything considered?

    The basic problem with cost considerations is that we have communists involved in the implementation, and that they screw around to make the costs higher.

    They promote the situations where the mentally ill are out self destructing on the streets, because they see mentally ill homeless as a useful counterweight to the mentally ill who try to have good self-care, and to the mentally healthy.

    It is basically a similar situation to criminals, with the caveat that criminal junkies are an overlap. Hurting others violently or by fraud is a lack of regard for the long term benefit that would accrue to those others by them remaining unharmed. Destroying the investments of others by taking them for your own short term benefit, likewise is a rejection of bourgeoisie values. Likewise, criminals are seen by communists as a counterweight against those who mind their own business, and worry more about their own accomplishments than about what they take from others.

    Americans have learned trust from Christians and Jews, who at least do not burn down their own farms for shits and giggles. Americans extend that trust to communists, who absolutely will. Communist theology rests on a bunch of imaginary harms, so that they can sincerely see your failure to self destruct as harm done to others.

  12. Totally agree…My experiences as a parent, teacher and, long ago, social worker, are that the only kind of real love there is, is tough love…Pandering to addicts and bad behavers just cripples them for life…

    1. I spent a couple of years in a homeless shelter that had a residential program for those who were willing to cooperate with the system and try to get back into normal society. I didn’t have a drug or alcohol problem..I had an executive function problem, an atrocious jab record, age-related declining health issues, and family and other associates who were convinced that my various difficulties,were mostly due to lack of will or effort. In a culture where self-reliance is strongly encouraged, “Prove you aren’t a freeloader” can be a steep hill to climb.
      What I saw was that even among the homeless, there are those who are trying to improve their situation and break out of the cycle of desperate poverty, and those who prefer to drift with whatever is easiest and most convenient. It’s not easy to tell at a glance which are which.

  13. Hmm. Ok, I am going to take something of a contrarian point of view here. I’ve spent a number of periods in my life being borderline homeless. It didn’t quite happen, because, to be honest, I had family and local friends to turn to. It is quite possible not to have that, through no fault of your own. I never have been a drug addict, or anything except pretty solidly hard working, thrifty and conservative in my lifestyle and family-care, and my wife is pretty much in the same model. There have been a few very unlucky breaks that actually only God could have prevented – and certainly not us. I don’t live in the US, so, obviously the safety nets you have are not the same for me. Here’s the thing: most of the time my danger of homelessness was largely down to government regulation – especially now – where the Australian Government and my State (we’re federal -but in this case the state and national run in tandem) not only regulate what I do – and where and how I live – on public land, but ALSO on private land: ‘to protect the public… and me from myself’. There is an argument to be made for protecting the public from what I do on private land, in densely packed urban areas, or even if you could argue that my shanty would bring down the values of adjacent property. But to give you the extent of the ridiculousness here – I cannot legally live in a CARAVAN on my own property in an area where I cannot see or be seen by anyone (except by trespass on my property) where there are miles to the nearest other home. I can camp there in my caravan or tent for 60 days (as I could on much of the public land). But I cannot live there. You’re not going to deal with the deadbeat drug addicts – who will simply ignore the law and usually fail to get consequences. But heaven help you if you’re a poor battler who cannot get a bank loan (try it as an author with an erratic income). In Australia, yes, you can get social welfare payments… if you’re not a battler working your arse off and saving every spare penny. You can get rental support etc… but not if you’re working poor. Anyway most of the working poor would just about rather die than take it. All they (we – I am one of them) have is their pride. They NEED an alternative path where the cost of regulation and government doesn’t make things damn near impossible for them. The history of Australia – and south Africa (perhaps the US too) is these sort of people scraping together enough for a cheap block of relatively undesirable land, putting a cheap shed, living in it, and gradually building a home, as and when they could afford it. Millions of Australians did this, and now live in respectable houses and suburbs. Some never got past the shed, but most did. It is now completely illegal. They would demolish your shed, fine you to point where selling your land is the only option, and you’d quite possibly end up in jail for child abuse if you had your kids living there. This is all justified as “for the public good.” It’s a very slippery slope.

    1. Dave, that is absolutely horrifying – that you can’t live in a trailer on your own land! It’s what my parents did for five years in the 1980s, while building their retirement house on the acres of unimproved hillside that they spent twenty years buying! (Then, when that first house burned in the 2003 Paradise Mountain fire, they lived in another RV for three years while the house was being rebuilt!) It was almost a custom in Northern San Diego county, I think that half their neighbors and friends were doing the same – living in a trailer, RV or schoolie while working at a day job and building the permanent house on their weekends or days off.

      1. To me that is a very positive aspirational path to be fostered and nurtured – it lifts people up, makes them industrious, lets them have a dream to work to — people to whom that door is closed otherwise. But not so to the Australian bureaucrat.

        1. Ahh .. in the eyes of the Australian bureaucrat, “Those plebs are getting uppity, getting ideas above their station, the blaggards! Thinking that they can improve the property and build their own house upon it! The very nerve! Well, squash them at once, else what knows that notions they might be getting about independence, deferred gratification and insufficient respect to the Ruling Class?”
          Jeez, what happened to Australia? Here we were all thinking it was one of the last outposts of rough independence and all. Guess the villain in “Quigley Down Under” was more typical of the bureaucratic ruling class.

        1. A couple of years ago, I saw a video about using double-decker buses (and other familiar objects) for providing people estimates of size — and after the video, my primary takeaway was “So, ok, now I want my own double-decker bus! But what would I do with it?!?”

          It took me a couple of months to realize I can make it into a pretty nifty RV of sorts — and now I want one even more, even though I wouldn’t have the space for it, and the kinds of places I want to go tend to lend themselves to something a tad smaller — I’d much rather take a teardrop through the dirt roads of mountains, for example, than a double-decker bus….

          1. And immediately after submitting, I remembered something I want even more than an RV double-decker bus: an RV helicopter. But those are even harder to come by!

      2. What is happening on some lots up McKenzie, because of Holiday Fire, and up hwy 22, because of Detroit fire, both 2020 wild land fires.

      3. Those RVs are illegal to live in, in all the SoCal counties except Kern, and were illegal when I moved down there, in my travel trailer, in 1984. However, such laws are not much enforced, unless someone complains or there’s some other reason to come down on your head. And if the RV is newer or there’s construction in progress, the assumption is Upstanding Citizen which reduces further inquiries. The winter RV park at Slabs is entirely illegal, but Code Enforcement has better things to do that aren’t such a long drive from the main office.

    2. RVs and prefabricated ‘trailer’ homes are still legal in the US.

      If one’s land is suddenly incorporated by a near by town/city, one may find that zoning regulations no longer permit construction of a residence.

      Same area, used to have a state hospital. Family lore, when they shut down the state hospital, all the mentally ill people stayed in town, and the homeless population substantially increased.

      1. They’re legal. you just can’t live in one for more than 60 days without going through a nightmare of bureaucracy and expense (we’re talking at least $40K here). And as we found out here. ‘No’ without any justification or contestability is actually something they can do. It wasn’t like that, once. That’s why I say it is a slippery slope. The only way out is that private property remains private property, so long as what you do stays on it, and none of the public or local council’s damn

        1. I think the difference we’re running into here is that people who have private property are expected to tolerate any random vagrant living on it and taking dumps on it, rather than people living rough on their own property.

          Most of the homeless here are camping out on someone else’s land, and they’re expected to just smile and be happy, no matter what they do to it.

          1. Oh I get that. My point is the limitation on what the property owner can do on their OWN land are justified ‘for the public good’. They do not differentiate between the vagrant and owner, nor do they have to establish that the public is affected. It’s a catch-all excuse, which is why i say it is a slippery slope. No, I don’t want arb vagrants living on private or public property. “It’s not yours and public property is not habitable by anyone should be enough, without invoking ‘the public good’

              1. Yes. And property rights solve a great deal. As soon as those who neither own nor have to live with the consequences of the action start with claiming they act for ‘the public’ or ‘society’ or ‘the community’ – you know, it means the individual is getting shafted. ‘for the greater good’ naturally. Hate the bastards like poison, and trust like a scorpion in my boot.

            1. Sure, but Dave, Polis, may he rot in hell, made it legal in Colorado “For the public good”. Because Covid.
              We had defeated it on the ballot, despite fraud.

            2. I guess what I’m trying to say, what is happening here is not the opposite of there. It’s just a different excuse to attack property rights. Which is why I’m starting to think #teamheadsonpikes has a good idea.

        2. Note my issue is with camping on “public land” which in most cities are…. SIDEWALKS and parking lots. And this is tents, and soemtimes just a bed roll. And most of these people are ferally aggressive. Since Colorado’s governor authorized this, they’ve been invading even our backwater suburb. Not where we lived, thank heavens, but near the stores.

          1. We stayed in a park in Aurora when we passed through this summer (my beloved picked it because it had a rustic name. Turned out to be in a neighborhood of semi-abandoned homes). Did not see any encampments, but did see a few individual tents in some very odd spots.

      2. Doesn’t even have to be incorporated anywhere. Inlaws built their home on the Little Dechutes River across from La Pine state park, and along side it (on their side of the river). They also bought the property across from the lane that came into the property. Never intending to build on it while they were there, but needed to retain their building rights.

        Two regulations occurred. State/County, doesn’t matter. But they had a certain amount of time to put a septic on the “spare” lot, or it was never could be sold as a lot that could be built on; they did put in the septic. Lot on the other side of them, that they did not own, never could be built on. Both because of the septic installation problem (could not install) but because despite the lots being 3/4 acre, the house set back from the river, wasn’t far enough/ (Their house, having already been built, was grandfathered in; *rebuilding if a fire swept through? That IDK.) Fast forward to now, the people who bought their property, bought that property. (Property across the lane, either belongs to one of two nieces or the county took it for back taxes, hubby and BIL do not know, neither cares.)

        * Might be part of the problem with a lot of the lots along the McKenzie, destroyed in the Holiday 2020 fire. Legal when built, but setback now, rebuild might not be legal.

      3. Legal to own. Not necessarily legal to live in. Frex, Los Angeles County (where I’m intimately familiar with zoning regulations) doesn’t allow new occupation of singlewides at all (not even in an established permanent-residence trailer park, which are almost extinct anyway), and no RV living outside of an established RV park, or up to NN-days at a short-term facility like a Forest Service camp.

        It’s mostly a code enforcement thing, tho, not a legislated thing, which means it’s local by county or zoning district. In LACo, code enforcement says no living in non-permanent structures, so a trailer (or by extension an RV) not on a permanent foundation (with a minimum of 800sqft, which excludes most singlewides and all RVs) is not permitted, and whether you get away with living in a trailer depends on not being noticed by the little tin gods down in Zoning and Planning. Conversely right next door in Kern Co. singlewides are allowed, and the enforced rule for living structures is mostly “Don’t make us come over there.” The difference is quite obvious all along the shared county line.

    3. What a horrible example of the catch-22 that “public assistance “ often seems to bring. If you’re miles from the nearest neighbor and your shack or van can only be observed by trespassing, may I suggest you purchase adequate surplus military camouflage netting to make your home “disappear “. At least in the US we can post signs on our fence that read “Trespassers will be shot!” A free people must own effective firearms. It was a stupendous mistake to allow the gubermint to take them away in most of the Anglosphere. May the Lord bless and keep you!

  14. I suppose there have been homeless people just about as long as there have been homes. The difference is that once upon a time the incorrigibly homeless (aka the skid row bum) was seen as an example of how not to be. Regular people might be charitable towards such unfortunates but they always told their children to not grow up like that.

    Now liberals have raised him up as something to be celebrated instead of pitied.

  15. What frosts my cake is that so many of very same people who refuse to address the public health issues caused by defecating, urinating, and leaving needles on the public streets and sidewalk are all zealous about the covidiocy of masking and social distancing.

  16. A handy mnemonic I’ve heard about the homeless problem (and I’ve got no real reason to think it’s false) is “CATO 4321”. It breaks down as Crazy – 40%, Addicts – 30%, Tramps – 20%, Other – 10%. That defines the rough proportions one could expect to find in a random population of homeless people. There is, of course, a lot of overlap between the Crazy and Addicts. The Tramps are those who are homeless by choice – they like living an unrooted life. This would include the fulltime RVers and others who prefer to live a nomadic life. That last 10% – the Others – are the only ones that the usual bureaucratic aid to the homeless could actually help get out of their homeless status. These are the ones who are homeless through no fault of their own and are working to solve the problem themselves. For them, a brief hand up is usually enough to get them re-established in a good home.

    That 70% of crazy and/or addicted are the ones who are causing the vast majority of the problem. Re-establishing the mental hospitals and mandatory drug treatment programs would help a lot of them, but since it’s coercive help all the “right people” are against it.

    1. “Sixth Column” – “Hobo VS Bum”

      Hobo is homeless and roams by choice. They take day work or agriculture work and seek it out to pay their way; i.e. they will work for what they perceive as their needs. Bums OTOH will only take handouts. Bums will not accept any kind of handout that makes it possible to earn their hand up.

      1. A simple definition I heard many moons ago, as a social hierarchy of the rootless:

        Hobo: travels and works as needed. (Perfectly respectable.)
        Tramp: travels, but doesn’t work. (Looked down on by hobos.)
        Bum: does neither. (Looked down on by both hobos and tramps.)

        1. Yes. That is how I have heard it too.

          Just remember from Sixth Column of Thomas’s comment when he went out in his original hobo clothing for their spying mission.

          New category. That doesn’t fit in any of the category, those living in RV’s, tiny homes, whether they are remote working, or living on savings. May or may not have a home base.

            1. I just “love” those definitions of “Legally Homeless”.

              Some of those definitions applied to me when I was “between jobs” and had to move back into my parents’ home. 😡

              1. Inlaws who live in their mini-home (current configuration is a 5th wheel) in her mother’s backyard. Her brother is an adult living at home, will never be able to move out. Which is why BIL and his wife have to live there, VS wandering, doing the snowbird and camp host gigs only basing out of her mother’s place, they started out doing. All that stopped when her mother fell and broke her hip. The mother is 90.

                Our adult son. Technically he could move out. He can afford it, even without roommates. Although the chance of property managers renting to him is remote. Matter of rent percentage to monthly net income. Doesn’t matter that he has no bills and saves everything. Not worth the headache to get roommates. Oh. Wait. He has roommates. Roommates he can count on paying more than their share. Could have him pay rent. Why? He, as an only child, gets everything anyway. Why add to that? Besides, he has to come home when we wander to house sit and take care of the cats … We never see him anyway (he works swing, sleeps days). Only problem is him meeting someone and providing grandchildren. Living at home isn’t the main problem. Working swing is. At this point I’d suggest he live with grandma because she’s getting there. But working swing that doesn’t make sense, plus she only has one shower which would be awkward at 2:30 AM, given it is in the main bedroom bathroom, not the more easily accessible common hall bathroom. Grandma is 87.

              2. Michael Flynn makes fun of them — he was “homeless” when a small child, and he just thought they lived at his grandmother’s.

    2. The Left doesn’t have any principles against applying coercive help[1], so when the Left does object in a given case, it’s because it sees a useful cudgel.

      I have a strong presumption against coercive help because attempting it is dangerous and needs to be approached with humility and great caution. Even leaving aside soviet style weaponization of “help the crazy,” it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that one is helping the crazy and/or addicted homeless when one is just cleaning up the mess caused by them wandering around loose – doing nothing more than putting them out of *our* misery.

      Now maybe rounding up and containing the homeless can be justified on the grounds of benefiting the rest of us. But if so, I’d want to be honest about that, avoiding the cry of “But we have good intentions! We mean well for them! We really do!”

      [1] See, eg, how the Left is willing to provide us with coercive help against being fooled by “COVID Misinformation.”

      1. Sadly results are similar whether the material of the addiction is ethyl alcohol or some fancy derivative of opium, methamphetamine or cocaine. And ultimately the damage done by the addictive substance pushes the addicts into the crazy column with depression schizophrenia like actions and other mental irregularities. In many cases the addicts were marginal crazy to start with and used the addictive substance to numb/self medicate so they could cope. The addiction then sadly makes things far worse.

  17. OT – Saw the blast from the past on Facebook.
    So if you have only one personality, does that mean that all of the others have wandered off?

  18. Random tangent: A couple days ago I discovered scanned PDFs of the old issues Byte magazine up at worldradiohistory.com. I’ve been reading Jerry Pournelle’s old columns, which start in the March 1982 issue. The general style and tone is a lot like what he posted on his blog, just longer and more computer-focused. I’ve mostly skimmed the outdate tech stuff, but there are a few little gems sprinkled about, like his story about Arthur Clarke calling him up for advice on buying a computer, and Robert Heinlein describing Jerry as the “wurst spellur.”

    1. Well, their site searches don’t return anything by Pournelle, or any listing for Byte Magazine. A more specific link would be appreciated.

      1. Thank you! That was the website I was trying to think of to look up something the other day but couldn’t remember the name of, and my searches weren’t helping.

    1. The Administration has promised to nominate a black female. Bad joke has been, Kamala.
      I’d favor Condoleezza Rice, but I don’t know if she’s even a lawyer.
      The “make their heads explode,” suggestions on Twitter was Winsome Sears.

      1. I guess. Based on news, Supreme Court Judge not required to be already a judge, or even ever had been. Does not have to be a lawyer. Although the last helps doing the actual job. Being a recently confirmed appeals judge “helps”. For degrees of “helps”.

    2. Imagine the hilarity that would ensue if Biden nominates a black, trans woman to the Supreme Court.

        1. I hadn’t heard Talcum X had changed their pronouns and come out as Trans, though if offered a supreme court position he’d probably do it in a flash. Rachel Dolezal anyone 🙂 ?

  19. A friend of mine (now deceased, alas—he was the guy who published the Paranoia role-playing game, among others) told me and some others who were on an e-mail list about how they did it in Guatemala, back when he was doing business there.

    If people in a neighborhood got fed up with street people (thefts, vandalism, property damage, and so on) they’d contract in one of the local escuadrones de muerte to take care of business.

    Ojo por Ojo was rather mellow (for a death squad, that is.) They’d “disappear” a few of the worst trouble-makers, beat up a bunch of others, and suggest to all the street people that elsewhere was a good place to be. Like muy pronto.

    La Mano Blanca, on the other hand, was considerably more hardcore. They’d get lists from the homeowners and business owners in the neighborhood of poor people who were allowed to be there, with pictures. (This would include servants, garbage men, delivery people, and others with legitimate business in the area.) Then they’d set to work. Poor people who wandered in would disappear.

  20. Japan only started getting visible homeless people after the end of the Bubble economy (early 1990s) In fact I’d say it really only took off in the late 1990s, but it’s very limited to a handful of large cities and to certain locations (river banks mostly) in them. But it has never been a serious problem because there are no bureaucrats responsible for being paid for handling them. It’s also not a serious problem because Japan has, essentially, 100% employment. Even many (most?) of the homeless have jobs, they just don’t have jobs that will pay for accommodation, transport AND their desire for food/booze.

    My understanding is that in most places complaining to the police will result in the homeless person being moved on, and if for some reason the police decline and/or the homeless don’t get the hint, the Yakuza will happily step in and make sure they get a clear message to leave.

    1. Um, no, it is a very serious problem, but most of the Japanese and Korean homeless endeavor not to be seen. Mostly ex-businessmen or ex-workmen, with a few addicts. The popular things are secret camps in parks, or not so secret camps in underground underpasses for walkers. So a lot of high school aged schoolkids see homeless guys every day, but most adults don’t because they use cars.

      1. The video game industry is having a heck of a time playing catch-up on development, because it turns out a lot of their workers were of the legally homeless type… they were sleeping in internet cafes and those business pods and stuff. (the internet cafe option is really nice, I’ve done that, although in my case it was on accident– there are little rooms/cubicles and you can order dinner)

        1. I’ve heard rumors of that. I know a coworker got transferred from SF area (our company had bought the company she worked for, just took awhile before they shutdown in SF and got everyone moved). She and her husband sold their house in SF, paid cash for the one they bought locally, AND paid for two rounds of IVF (triplets, one set of identical twins, two boys, one girl …). But otherwise, have hear rumors of tech industry programmers buying second hand RV’s and living in them. Moving as often as legally required. That on top of the business pods and internet cafes. Isn’t Google contemplating building an employee apartment dorms on their campus? They already want you to work, eat, and play, there … (This came out before the pandemic, so don’t know if it went any further. Or, rumor.)

      2. Like I say elsewhere I live in more rural Japan. There are very few if any homeless here and, in fact, plenty of empty (but old) flats that can be used to house people that need housing (and have been if I understand the local news correctly).

        But your link pretty much says what I say, that the size of the problem is very small compared to the country. Presuming (at the absolute top end) there are 20,000 people homeless in Japan that makes it something like 1/1000 of the inhabitants of greater Tokyo (presuming that all the homeless were in greater Tokyo which they aren’t of course) or 1/5000 of the entire population. Since other estimates put the number down in the 5000 total range those numbers drop even further.

        I think I’ve seen articles that the homeless population of San Francisco is about 1% of the total in 202x. The homeless population of a large Japanese city is probably an order or two of magnitude less so between 0.01% and 0.1%.

  21. During the height of BLM madness in 2020 Philly got a HUGE encampment (run by BLM activists) on the Little League fields along Ben Franklin Parkway. Stayed there for (I think) 10 months before the city finally cleared it out after “negotiating” with city services for camp “residents.” Useful idiots in my neighborhood were taking clothing and food donations down there on a regular basis. The city closed the two outer lanes of the Parkway to traffic and the activists painted their slogans on the street. At one point some of the homeless moved down to the Azalea Gardens behind the Art Museum. Interestingly, they got moved out in a couple of weeks. Also interestingly, the folks that moved to the Azalea Gardens did so because they were apparently tired of being harangued by the BLM folks. One guy in an interview said that he’d been talked into moving into the baseball fields from his usual spots in Center City by the BLM people. At the time of the interview, he was ready to move back to Center City. These homeless guys (mostly men) were the “by choice” folk and were simply taking advantage of the city’s laxness in enforcing anti-camping laws. Clearing the Gardens was easy and quiet for the cops. Clearing the Little League fields was messy and drawn out because the city was afraid of the BLM folks.

    After they finally cleared the baseball fields, the city put up fencing all around the area to allow the grass to regrow. When we left Philly in Dec ’21, the fences were still there. And yet, Philly will continue to re-elect Democrats at every single level. That’s a huge part of the reason we left.

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