If we didn’t have a “homelessness problem,” the left would have to invent one. Which is what they’re now doing here in my town of Aspen.
The local lefties, which is to say nearly the whole town, have decided to throw more taxpayer money at ending the homelessness epidemic here.
“Epidemic” is of course a relative term. Anecdotal and observational evidence suggests that this very, very rich town of 6,500 people holds exactly one homeless person. Everyone calls him “The Homeless Guy.”
The Homeless Guy doesn’t sleep outside. It gets a tad chilly here in the winter for that. He instead has a home away from homelessness. The Catholic church downtown apparently puts him up.
The church says he’s not alone. They say there are 22 altogether, though they’re apparently never all together. I live in downtown Aspen and I haven’t seen them.
The lefties have rejected even that generous total of 22 as “extremely low.” They insist that there are many more.
We don’t know how the lefties know there are many more, but we know why. It’s because many more is what they want. They want there to be enough to justify – nay, to necessitate – a program. Make that a BIG PROGRAM.
I admit to being a little jaded about this. I once played at homelessness and panhandling to get a feel for it. It’s not easy.
I learned a few things in talking with many of the people and providers in shelters. According to the providers, giving these people cash on the street corners exacerbates their problem by enabling them to stay there and stay impaired.
You see, many of these people have substance addictions. Many others are emotionally or mentally disturbed. Sadly, most are on the streets because that’s where they want to be – or so they think anyway.
That’s consistent with the presence of The Homeless Guy here in Aspen, where real estate prices are about the highest on the planet. A studio apartment runs 7-figures. If he were truly homeless and wanted not to be, wouldn’t he move to a regular town where he’d might afford a regular place to live?
Even the long-time director of the existing program in Aspen is wary of throwing more money at this. “You might get people gravitating to Aspen because of free housing … to snowboard, smoke dope and chase girls which is what I’ve had people tell me they are doing.”
Indeed, big cities like Seattle and San Francisco have witnessed what happens when you give free stuff to vagrants. You get more vagrants.
Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that we should not let anyone starve or freeze. America is a rich country. We should feed and shelter everyone regardless of how they got into their situation, and I’ll do it at my place if necessary.
These aren’t freeloaders in the ordinary sense. They’re people with serious problems. They should be offered treatment for their problems.
But beyond that, only a fool thinks their problems would be go away if just we gave them a house to destroy.
So why does the left want to do that when even the dedicated director of the existing program thinks it might make the problem worse?
It’s because “addressing homelessness” is one of many ways that the left obtains its daily dose of feel-good. It enables them to tell the world and themselves that they’re caring and compassionate people even if, or maybe especially if, they’re using other people’s money.
They’re not out to actually fix anything. For the left, problems are not to be solved – that’s for nerdy and unwoke STEM majors – but to be milked.
If their programs draw more vagrants to town and perpetuates their suffering, that’s all the better. The left is happy to pay for their own feelings of moral superiority in the coinage of other people’s suffering.
“Addressing homelessness” is therefore one of the left’s many feel-good, virtue-signaling, America-bashing hobbies.
If we didn’t have a “homelessness problem” (and I can remember when we didn’t, in economies far less prosperous than the current one) then the left would have to manufacture one in order to feel good about themselves. Here in Aspen and elsewhere, they’re doing precisely that.
The victims of their vainglorious propaganda are the rest of us – including the vagrants themselves.
Leave comments below. Correspond and subscribe at theAspenbeat@gmail.com