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Rights and wrongs

(Private note to epador: NS4YS Warning)

It seems that someone told the Boston Globe that the National Level of Stupid had slipped, so they cracked open their Strategic Stupid Reserves today and let loose a fresh supply of dumbness.

It was tough to wade through the torrents and find the most idiotic specimen, but I think I found a good candidate in this column: "Americans Deserve A Right To Housing."

Yeah, on the surface it all sounds nice and warm and fuzzy and thoughtful. But let's do something heretical here: let's take the notion seriously, and see just what it means.

Housing comes in two flavors: private and public. Public housing is owned and operated by the government at some level (local, state, federal). This has been around for a long time, and I don't think I need to recount the horror stories of just what "public housing" means. I, personally, tend to associate it with its oldest form, prisons.

That's not entirely fair, as sometimes government housing works out all right. But the vast majority of housing in this country is privately owned -- by individuals or businesses.

That means that the housing is private property. The sanctity of private property is one of the foundations of our culture and laws. "A man's home is his castle." "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." It's one of the reasons that the Kelo decision -- allowing government to take private property and give it to others for private use -- so rankled so many people.

So, just what does this "right to housing" mean here? It means that the government looks at the property owners and tells them "you own that property. You are responsible for maintaining it. You will pay the taxes and all the other expenses in keeping it. But we, 'the people,' have rights to use it as we see fit. You will accept that, do as we say, and not complain, lest we charge you with 'violating the civil rights' of the people who do not own your property, but have 'rights' to it."

It's similar to the "right to health care" argument. There, it's the health-care professionals who are being drafted into involuntary servitude, told what they can and can not do, what they can and can not charge, for their services.

People have certain essential needs. Food, shelter, and health care are among them. But those needs to NOT grant people the right to take from others.

The fundamental concept behind these "rights" is simple: "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs." It's been tried around the world, and it never works. And at last tally, the body count from these "noble experiments" is around 9 digits -- and climbing.

Comments (13)

Without a guaranteed rig... (Below threshold)
Dan Irving:

Without a guaranteed right to housing in the United States, thousands of households are struggling to find and keep housing they can afford.

What about the hundreds of millions that don't have this problem? Oh, that's right - the needs of the few outweigh the needs the many!

How silly of me.

I work for a big city welfa... (Below threshold)

I work for a big city welfare department, in a city with several large public housing developments.

Fifty percent of all crime in this city takes place within three blocks of public housing complexes.

The unemployment rate for tenants of public housing is approximately 95%. Unemployment in this city as a whole is currently less than 4%.

Why is this? Answer is easy:

Public housing tenants pay 30% of their "income" in rent. If their income goes up, so does the rent. If your income goes down, so does your rent.

Why on earth would anyone work? You can get welfare, food stamps, free medical care and still sit around the house eating Doritos and smoking pot all day. The kids are in "daycare", or perhaps they might actually be at school (but most aren't).

You can move a couple of friends into the apartment, and "neglect" to tell the housing authority. Happens all the time.

In this city, we had four Projects that were torn down and replaced with Hope VI grants. The old housing was demolished and new housing..."townhomes!" were built.

Five years later, they are ripped to shreds and havens for drug dealers and crime.

Tear. Them. All. Down.

If you want to help people with housing, then give them vouchers. No more than 5 years of vouchers, either. Just like Welfare Reform, we need a Public Housing Reform.

By the way, I am all in fav... (Below threshold)

By the way, I am all in favor of subsidised housing for low-income seniors.

But people who can work should work. And it's not our job to house them.

Myron Cohen said "Everybody... (Below threshold)

Myron Cohen said "Everybody's got to be someplace."

Consider the following proposition: Do people who live in the United States have a right to be someplace?

Every square inch of land is either owned by private individuals, corporations, or one branch of government or the other. Two hundred years ago, you could just wander out into the unoccupied wilderness (forget about the Native Americans for the purposes of this discussion), throw together a lean-to and live off the land.

Today, you have to pay for the right to be somewhere -- you have to own or rent. Good luck if you loose your job and want to revert to the old family business of being a hunter-gatherer.

Lets start putting public ... (Below threshold)

Lets start putting public subsidized housing oout n the cape, right near where the Kennedy's decided their wonderful idea of a wind farm could not go.

Hmmm. Sounds like the Rich... (Below threshold)

Hmmm. Sounds like the Richard Allen homes, Scott

Here in California, there i... (Below threshold)

Here in California, there is tremendous pressure now for suburban cities to re-zone for "multi-family housing", which is a polite way to say "projects".

Suburban cities here are full of apartment buildings, and multi-family complexes for seniors.

But the "advocates" for public housing complain there are not enough 3 and 4 bedroom subsidized housing for "the poor".

In other words, they are trying to make suburban cities take in the urban poor. We already have that problem in the county I live in, where "the poor" are given Section 8 vouchers to rent $600,000 houses. No, that is not a typo.

Let's just say some of them have a problem fitting in.

Scott: That 600k home is a... (Below threshold)

Scott: That 600k home is about 1200 sq feet and will fall down at the first tremblor, right?

All the illegals buying up homes and moving their extended families into them are also changing the face of suburban California. I saw it happening on my owm block two years ago. And guess who bought my house when I left?

JT thanks for the warning, ... (Below threshold)

JT thanks for the warning, I premedicated this time.

No one mentioned the French success with their housing and citizenship for all... ...I wonder why?

Absolutely!Few of ... (Below threshold)


Few of us knows what it's like to live under dictatorship.

And none of the Libs do. If they had, they'd never embarass themselves by arguing the socialist point of view, and offer support for the likes of Chavez, Correa, Kirchner, Castro, Che, etc.

Liberals don't offer suppor... (Below threshold)
Lee, the mythbuster:

Liberals don't offer support for the likes of Chavez, Correa, Kirchner, Castro, Che, etc. - Left extremists may, but liberals don't.

Ok, I am an idiot. What th... (Below threshold)

Ok, I am an idiot. What the heack does NS4YS mean. If Jay sent this secret code to me I would be totaly clueless.

Lee, why were Kerry and Har... (Below threshold)

Lee, why were Kerry and Harkin meeting with El Commandante Ortega in the middle of the Sandinista oppresssion?

They have to be careful doing that shit today, since the Reagan Revolution, but these men don't change. Your actions speak louder than words.

Get your head out of your ass, Lee.






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