In a recent interview, Doug Casey offers his perspective on the explosion of homelessness in parts of this country, and what it means. He doesn’t mince his words.
I see it as part of the continuing decline of Western civilization.
The West has always been distinguished relative to the rest of the world by its order, its cleanliness, its respect for property rights. These things are all going by the wayside. We were a middle class society with “bourgeois” values, essentially Boy Scout virtues. But these things are now held in contempt, even while the middle class is being squeezed. “Ground between the millstones of taxation and inflation,” as the phrase attributed to Lenin puts it.
Some members of the lower and middle classes are still moving up, but it’s easier to fall than to rise. Most of the homeless are whites who are headed down. We haven’t seen this since the 1930s.
This epidemic is concentrated in so-called sanctuary cities, which go out of their way to bring in people who are unwilling or unable to support themselves. But most of the newly minted “street people” aren’t migrants. They seem to mostly be failed ex-members of the middle class.
. . .
Cleaning up after these people isn’t a solution. It’s cosmetic, at best.
What we have are thousands on the streets who produce nothing, and only consume. They survive on food stamps, various welfare programs, handouts, petty theft, and the like. In other words, they’re not an asset either to themselves or to society. They’re an active liability, and they’re actually encouraged by being allowed to group together on other people’s property.
Will cleaning up after them solve the problem? No, it aggravates it.
It’s now an epidemic. It started in 2008 when lots of middle-class people lost their houses. And oddly, the trend toward people living on the street has been growing over the last 10 years of artificial boom.
We’re going to have a very real bust very soon. The high levels of debt that we have today have allowed the whole country to live above its means. When the economy adjusts to lower levels of consumption, a new avalanche of people will lose their jobs, and they’ll have no savings to fall back on. However, their debts will remain and keep them from getting back up.
. . .
This is an explosive problem. These are people who will have nothing to lose. They’re going to be overcome by envy of and resentment against the rich. You can count on them to vote Democratic in 2020. There’s no question the state of the economy will be by far the biggest influence in the election.
All the while, because of the financialization of the economy, the rich are getting richer. This isn’t just unfair—it’s dangerous. Incidentally, “unfair” is a word I hate to use, because it often implies a whole set of assumptions. But that’s another topic. Anyway, the situation is setting up the United States for class warfare, the haves against the have-nots. Middle class societies are stable; we’re becoming less middle class.
. . .
It’s another sign that the state of civilization in the United States is changing radically. So far it’s been a slow slide down. But when the economy falls apart this time, it’s going to look like we’ve fallen off a cliff. We’re going to have to adjust to a whole new reality politically, socially, and economically. I’m not looking forward to it.
There’s more at the link.
Mr. Casey’s comments reminded me of our earlier discussions in these pages about homelessness. He’s quite right about the problem being concentrated in cities that welcome and subsidize the homeless. Almost all of those cities, as far as I know, have Democratic Party administrations. Is it possible that they see homelessness as a way to ensure their political domination for years to come, by cultivating a “crop” of voters who are guaranteed to support the party that gives them the biggest handouts? Is this a deliberate political tactic? I have no idea, but I’ll leave it to you to make up your own mind.
As for “class warfare”, sadly, yes, that’s happening right now. Just look at the clash inside the Democratic Party between hard-left and centrist voices. So far, the hard left is winning handily, and looks set fair to dominate the party for years to come. They’re going to become the party of agitprop. Some of their current Presidential candidates are already mouthpieces for agitprop. That doesn’t bode well for their party, or for democracy.
The problem is, money can never solve the problem of homelessness, just as it can never solve the problem of crime. One has to change the person inwardly – a true conversion. That’s come to be seen as a religious perspective, but it applies equally well to any transformation of a human life. Unless the homeless regain some sense of self, of personal value, of pride, they have no motivation to improve their lot in life. Unless they see a way up, they’ll stay down. Why shouldn’t they? Money can’t provide that for them. It has to come from within themselves, a desire to change. Most of the homeless I’ve met don’t appear to have that.
I’ve heard suggestions that we should resurrect something like the Works Progress Administration of the Great Depression era, but this time on a compulsory basis, forcing the homeless to work for their daily bread. I’ve even heard religion advanced in support of this proposal (“If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat”). I don’t see that working. Homelessness is not a crime; therefore, one can’t “punish” the homeless by forcing them into what would be, in effect, a sentence of confinement, of loss of freedom. If we do that, we take away one of their most fundamental rights – and if we do that to one class in society, how long can it be before it’s extended to other classes, possibly including our own?
I don’t think we’ll find a solution for homelessness on a national level. I think it’s up to local communities to do what they can, in their own local circumstances, to deal with it as humanely as possible. However, I do believe very strongly (and I’ve said before in these pages) that subsidizing homelessness, by throwing money at the problem, is not the way to go. As the late President Reagan said, “If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it.” Throwing money at homelessness is effectively a subsidy. It will solve nothing. If it were a solution, how is it that the billions we spend on the problem as a nation have so far produced nothing except more and more homeless people?