Homeless advocacy should focus efforts on conservative members of government

letter to the editor
Willow Yang/File

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James Masser is right when he says that, in practice, homeless people have no rights, but when he says the Constitution does not protect the “right to exist,” I would hope he might see it through a different lens. The writers of the Constitution had just fought a revolution summed up in its founding document as being about the “unalienable rights” to “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” If the right to exist is not explicit in the Constitution, it is because no one ever thought it could be challenged. Rather it is implicit, because otherwise, what would be the point of insisting that the government protect even property rights, much less the rights to free speech, religion, the press and more, if the government had no obligation to protect the very right to live?

When one look at it that way, one opens up a new terrain. We really should be confronting conservatives and insisting that they are hypocrites if they do not protect homeless people. They cannot be against the philosophical dangers of big government if, in real life, they support the big government in attacking its own citizens. This is a battle we should fight, and if it also means fighting for the soul of the Constitution, to quote George W. Bush, “bring ’em on.”

Lastly, Masser is right again when he says that no one listens to the homeless. But at the same time, the direction of history is not so predictable as the “scientific” socialists used to say it was. Reality has a way of breaking through. The voices of the poor may yet be heard.

Jeremy Weir Alderson is the director of Homelessness Marathon.

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  • California Defender

    Homelessness is exacerbated by the left, not conservatives. In fact, it is conservatives that are the job creating engines and productive taxpayers that provide the resources to lift people out of homelessness.

    While the left creates government dependency and imports millions of poor people who further increase competition for the jobs and resources that conservatives produce.

    To reduce homelessness:

    1. Combat drugs as effectively as tobacco
    2. Provide robust mental health treatment
    3. Provide practical job training (construction, janitorial, gardening, etc)
    4. Deport all illegal aliens and reduce legal immigration
    5. Stop engaging in foreign wars and provide robust care for vets
    6. Create “America first” economic policies

    • HeyHeyHey

      I am not sure where your understanding of Leftist thought comes from but at least half of those positions are supported by common sense left-leaning individuals, particularly (1), (2), (3), and (5). Not exactly partisan.
      I would say that immigration and free trade generally benefits the country, however.

      • lspanker

        Why did you not sign up for (4) and (6)? Just curious…

        • HeyHeyHey

          Pardon, I do not often use this platform.
          (4): I am quite sympathetic to the undocumented as I come from a family of both former and current undocumented immigrants; immigrants who have committed the crime of coming here but otherwise abide by the law. I can understand the problems of mass illegal immigration such as security and the “race to the bottom” but mass deportation would be a massive cost burden, exacerbated by job loss. I would prefer providing a path to citizenship for those who are undocumented – perhaps vetted as to alleviate fears of security. To the extent of my knowledge (and thankfully, more receptive to my Latino roots), this is the better solution.
          Unlike the more understandable fears of illegal immigration, legal immigration is a net bonus and is no danger to our society but a strong pillar for our economic prosperity; this is a near consensus between economists and it would deeply hurt our economy to ax it.
          (6): I do not believe that “America first” policies (i.e obstacles towards establishing international trade) are not the solution to the woes of American society since free trade is considered beneficial for the country overall and these policies instead makes us less efficient. There are circumstances to which I can understand a need for protectionism such as in the hostility against NAFTA from Mexican side whose agricultural industry was utterly destroyed by the Agreement but to my knowledge, our free trade policies have only further benefited our country.

          • lspanker

            I can understand the problems of mass illegal immigration such as security and the “race to the bottom” but mass deportation would be a massive cost burden

            We don’t need to spend zillions of dollars or have ICE agents knocking down doors of suspected illegal aliens. We merely need to enforce the immigration laws we already have, and remove the incentives for illegal immigration by steps such as E-verify and requiring proof of legal residency before allowing people to collect government benefits and receive social services. I would propose 3 additional steps as well:

            (1) Offer of free first-class transportation home to the country of origin of any illegal alien who voluntarily surrenders him or herself (and family) to any ICE or law enforcement agency. No charges would be filed, BUT the individual would be fingerprinted, photographed and entered into a database where any future illegal entry would be punished with one year of hard labor for every individual over 18 years old.

            (2) Auditing all welfare and social security checks mailed to PO boxes in border cities to see if the individuals collecting those checks are US citizens and/or legally entitled to such. When you have cities such as Lukeville AZ with a population of a few dozen but hundreds of PO boxes for the purposes of receiving government checks, it needs to be investigated.

            (3) Investigate the groups or organizations that advertise on billboards and flyers in Mexican border cities, how to receive US government benefits.

          • HeyHeyHey

            Hmm, I have my doubts about the administrative costs and the subsequent economic costs but meh, I will have to look more into it.

  • Man with Axe

    You wrote: “…conservatives…are hypocrites if they do not protect homeless people. They cannot be against the philosophical dangers of big government if, in real life, they support the big government in attacking its own citizens.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “attacking its own citizens.” When I visit my daughter in San Francisco it appears to me as if homeless people rule the roost. The proper approach to homelessness is to create government programs and charitable programs to help mitigate the negative consequences of homelessness, but it is not to allow homeless people to reduce the quality of life for everyone else.