Homelessness In California Marks The Beginning Of The End Of Civilization
By Don Feder
February 24, 2019
The way blue-state cities deal with those we call the homeless foretells the end of civilization in America.
Governments weren't established to control medical care or ban plastic bags, but to assure public order – first and foremost, to keep the streets safe, clean and (as much as possible) disease-free.
Instead, with the growing homeless crisis, we have a devil's brew of addiction, mental illness, crime, filth and coming epidemics.
What do New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle and the District of Columbia have in common? They're cities run by leftists in deep blue states. They're also cities with the largest homeless populations. Coincidence?
It's estimated that almost half of the nation's homeless flop in the Golden State.
Most are addicts and crazies – many are violent as well. As long as they can shoot up, use the streets as toilets, panhandle, get free stuff from the city, and periodically scream obscenities at passersby, they're content living al fresco.
There is no in parallel in our history.
In January, our unemployment rate was 3.6%. During the Great Depression, we had 25% unemployment. People desperate for a job couldn't find one. Sure, we had Hoovervilles, but the destitute didn't live in cardboard crates, using drugs and urinating and defecating wherever they chose.
Russia has more poverty, alcoholism, addiction and mental illness than the United States. Do you think the city fathers of Moscow would tolerate our homeless circus for a minute?
In Los Angeles, it's impossible to deal with the disease that goes hand-in-hand with homelessness. Dr. Drew Pinsky, MD, who's practiced for 35 years in the San Fernando Valley and specializes in addiction, says, "Oh, my God, we're going to have a typhus outbreak."
Pinsky notes: "Sanitation has also been ignored by the city (Los Angeles). The sanitation situation around the homeless encampments has broken down to a point that I don't think we've seen in the history of this country." He speaks of sidewalk dumps where the rodent population has exploded. Besides typhus, he warns of tuberculosis, measles, Yersinia (a strain of which is more commonly known as Bubonic plague) and other infectious diseases bred in the filth of homeless camps and carried by armies of rats.
In San Francisco, reported instances of human feces in the streets increased from 5,500 in 2011 to 28,000 in 2018. The city should change its nickname to The Sewer by the Bay.
The left must take ownership of this crisis. In the 1970s, compassionate liberals had mental patients deinstitutionalized ("Keeping them locked up is inhumane!") – throwing schizophrenics who were incapable of caring for themselves onto the streets.
Then they led the drive to decriminalize drugs, again in the name of compassion. On the ballot in 2014, California's Proposition 47 downgraded most drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. The cops won't arrest drug dealers because local judges and prosecutors don't want to send more to prison for "victimless crimes."
To make the situation even more dandy, many municipalities behave like a combination food bank/hippie commune. San Francisco distributes tons of free snacks in the encampments, along with 4.5 million syringes a year and instructions on how to shoot-up safely. Used needles litter the streets. A community activist says everyone who's lived in the city for more than 5 years has either been assaulted by a homeless person or knows someone who has.
The courts have made their own inimitable contribution. In 2018, the U.S. Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit held that prosecuting the homeless (forcing them off the streets) violated the Constitution because their situation is an "unavoidable consequence of their status or being." In December, our allegedly conservative Supreme Court refused to consider reversing the ruling.
Rome was overthrown by bringing barbarians into the empire. Medieval Europe had religious wars. Louis XVI bankrupted France and the Revolution cut off his head. And 21st century America has the homeless – not just the crisis but our response to it. Civilizations are usually destroyed from within.
In her incisive article in The City Journal, Heather Mac Donald notes: "For the last three decades, San Francisco has conducted a real-life experiment in what happens when a society stops enforcing bourgeoise norms of behavior. The city has done so in the name of compassion toward the homeless. The results have been the opposite: street squalor and misery have increased, even as government expenditures have ballooned."
Despite the results which they can see, smell and feel on the soles of their shoes, Democrats refuse to give up their dogma, to wit: No one chooses to be homeless. There isn't enough space in shelters. We have to spend more on housing.
Former San Francisco Mayor, now California Governor Gavin Newsom, who's an energetic Trump-hater, devoted all of this year's State of the State Address to a situation he calls "a disgrace," and has allocated $1.5 billion to help local governments – which is like attacking a rampaging rhino with a peashooter.
It's believed that building a single unit of housing for the homeless in Los Angles costs $500,000 – and that's on the low side. In San Francisco, it's estimated that housing 8,000 homeless would cost $6.4 billion.
Most would be there for a matter of weeks. In Mac Donald's article a vagrant (we used to call them that) says he was offered space in a shelter four times, but "I don't know if I didn't want to give up drugs, but I could have went in way before now (sic.)"
Democrats who've championed the principle that government can and should do everything – provide health care, pay off student loans and control the climate – can't keep sh**t from happening in the streets.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains a Facebook page.