San Francisco’s Homeless, Part III

San Francisco’s Homeless, Part III
A homeless man sits passed out in San Francisco on Feb. 23, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
David Parker
8/26/2023
Updated:
9/6/2023
0:00
Commentary
Continued from Part II

San Francisco homelessness is postmodernism par excellence—cultural relativity in which no one judges another and certainly no one orders anyone to be treated in a mental hospital or placed under conservatorship against their will.

Still, in the article “San Francisco’s Homeless,” Parts I and II, I suggested that cities have a right to create laws, if only for health reasons, that no one may live on the sidewalk—eat, sleep, urinate, defecate, pitch a tent, indulge addictions.

If a city feels guilty about such a law, let citizens tax themselves (property tax, sales tax) and pay for what’s required: food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. Offer those services, but not all in one neighborhood; spread the homeless into residences and community centers throughout the Bay Area.

If an unsheltered person refuses treatment, move him or her to the outskirts of town—to a vacant warehouse, surplus office building, or decommissioned military base. Provide services there. That would move the majority of drug dealers out of town. Two birds, one stone.

What about new housing? In a market economy, housing is built for those willing to pay. It isn’t something given away.

In a market economy, where the rich and poor pay almost no taxes, it’s not fair to ask the middle class to foot the entire bill, to pay $430,000 a unit for housing that they themselves cannot afford.

How does San Francisco get away with spending $1 billion on an estimated 8,000 homeless people? District elections of the Board of Supervisors.

In San Francisco, progressive candidates need only 35,000 gerrymandered votes in an electorate of 500,000 to win a board seat, control the municipal government, and give away money. That isn’t democracy.

What’s the root of San Francisco progressivism?

France. Jean-Jacques Rousseau led France to understand itself as a shared collective, a fraternity—that outright rejects British and American classical liberalism, the notion that free markets (the invisible hand of nature) organize society better than anything that man can do by design.

To the French, the very definition of civilization is that man prevents forces of nature from controlling human life, prevents capital markets from undermining culture, equality, and fraternity. The French could never live in an unregulated economy.

Compare a French garden, hedges precision-trimmed to resemble poodle dogs (Versailles), to an English garden that appears to have absolutely no planning.

In other words, the culture of France is culture, not business or democracy. Over France’s long history of warfare, internal espionage, privileged aristocracy, and unsustained democracy, the individual, crushed, had nowhere to go—until the discovery of the New World. Finally, Europeans could stop focusing exclusively on culture—on food, fashion, music, art, and philosophy (at a level that few Americans can appreciate)—because there was opportunity elsewhere.

Worldwide for the past 250 years, immigrants haven’t stopped coming to America to better their lives (and their children’s). They mostly do it to earn money, although eventually, they realize why the opportunity is here: America upholds social, political, and economic freedom. That’s what attracts independent, responsible, adventurous, self-motivated, entrepreneurial people, an entire society’s worth.

In 1933, those freedoms were reduced as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt imposed Leviathan, huge government, on the lives of all U.S. citizens, pushing the nation down the road to socialism to accomplish what politics in France achieves—economic equality.

However, to achieve socialism, even European socialism, a nation must use force. At a minimum, high taxation.

In other words, to reverse the New Deal, to reverse what the United States has become (an indebted oxymoron: freedom with government), force will again be necessary—to bring the United States back to what the Founding Fathers gave us: freedom from government.

Such a paradox: In the name of liberty, using force to create equality. For the left, it starts with the nation’s public schools, where children are indoctrinated with socialist ideas—as in France, where teachers in their Ecoles Normales (teacher colleges) are persuaded to join the communist party and then teach students why Marxism is the best alternative to capitalism.

There, teacher unions and colleges place front and center all the bad things that America has done—slavery, for example—without mentioning the horrors that have occurred in most other countries, or the good things America has done in relation to other countries, such as defend Europe in World Wars I and II and then rebuild Europe.

Not properly taught, American students today have no sense of patriotism or bonding with the history and culture of British and American democracy. Rather, they’re taught to reject what their immigrant parents risked their lives to come here for: freedom from government.

Brainwashed, as are students in Russia, China, and North Korea, American students teach their parents that they’re marginalized victims in a country that despises them.

Thus, “woke” American descendants don’t appreciate the superior civilization to which their parents came. They don’t appreciate that Western civilization (fifth-century Athens, first-century Rome, 18th-century Age of Enlightenment) isn’t simply one cultural approach, but an evolutionary step forward for humankind—a step that places the individual, not the community or its leaders, at the center of society.

The poorly educated woke don’t appreciate that it’s the Western civilization that gives them the foundation of social, political, and economic freedom from which they can freely criticize their country, plus cancel the speech of anyone with whom they disagree—especially on college campuses, the nation’s epicenter for restricted speech.

Nor do they appreciate how civilization progresses: survival of the fittest, which is why almost unconsciously, European immigrants to America overwhelmed and replaced the continent’s native populations. People from an aural culture with no math or science cannot compete.

For today’s socialism, thank France—Claude Lévi-Strauss, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan, and Jean-Paul Sartre, the postmodern structural deconstructionist French intellectuals who made France in their vision. This made San Francisco progressivism, which makes most American colleges, where almost all conservative professors have been fired (according to David Brooks, New York Times columnist and PBS NewsHour commentator, they’ve been reduced to 1 1/2 percent).

To postmodern cultural relativists, the marginalized, including the homeless, must be free. Meaning no one has the right to tell them what to do.

Really? Allow the drug-addicted mentally ill to wander the streets in the name of “cultural lifestyle”? That’s cruel. They need treatment—or to be sent to live in one of the 100,000 vacant homes in Detroit.

Society has an obligation to protect children from witnessing unclean, disoriented people lying on the sidewalk, unconscious, needles hanging from their arms, waiting to die. Society cannot simply wait while it indulges the reasoning behind cultural relativity, reasoning that leads to doing nothing.

Society cannot indulge postmodernism’s vocabulary and definition of words: episme, discourse, archaeology, absence, and (phal) logocentrism; while trying to understand postmodernism’s thoughts: disorder, taxonomic, collapsed hierarchies, enunciative modalities, and privileged truths (“How the French Think,” 2015, Sudhir Hazareesingh). Public policy isn’t possible when citizens don’t understand its bandied words or concepts.

Still, postmodernism (even intersectionality) isn’t completely wrong. Just not usable for public policy. It insults society if one considers Thomas Jefferson’s reasoning for inaugurating this nation’s (and the world’s) first public schools; namely, that students as future citizens must learn to read, do math, and know history, to immediately recognize threats to democracy.

Jefferson knew that America’s unprecedented democracy was frail, that what the Founding Fathers created could easily be lost. It was a nation without a king or queen, with a government so small that citizens wouldn’t know it was there, where every citizen regardless of wealth or social status had the vote (the very definition of Jeffersonian democracy).

In relation to American democracy, socialism is a return to aristocratic planning and leadership, what immigrants to America fled. The extent to which a free nation turns to socialism is the extent to which it’s dying. America is dying.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
David Parker is an investor, author, jazz musician, and educator based in San Francisco. His books, “Income and Wealth” and “A San Francisco Conservative,” examine important topics in government, history, and economics, providing a much-needed historical perspective. His writing has appeared in The Economist and The Financial Times.
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