- The American Conservative - http://www.theamericanconservative.com -

No Sh*thole People, Please, We’re Rich Liberals

“Aren’t we bringing crime?!” protests resident (NY1 screengrab [1])

Remember how horrified liberals were when President Trump’s vulgar remark about not wanting people from “shithole” countries as immigrants was reported? Sure you do. And do you remember how aggrieved a lot of the liberal Twittersphere was when I said on this blog that people don’t want housing for the poor in their neighborhood, and that they aren’t wrong for that?

Well, look at what’s going on in midtown Manhattan. [1] I can’t embed that video, but it’s a news report from NY1, a local news station, about a raucous meeting of residents of West 58th Street in Manhattan — “Billionaire’s Row” — who are outraged by the city’s plan to house 150 homeless men in an old hotel space there. Watch the clip — it’s hilarious. The people are understandably upset (“Aren’t we bringing crime?!” protests one resident), because they are afraid of violence, chaos, and the decline of property values. Seriously, they are — this is what they said in the public hearing. Watch for yourself. There’s even a moment where the audience heckles an old lady from a local church who speaks up for the shelter.

I’d bet you my next paycheck that every one of those wealthy Manhattanites is a liberal — it’s easier to find a drag queen in Branson than a Republican on the West Side (people named “Podhoretz” excluded), who utterly deplores Trump. Especially for his shithole remark. But when it comes to moving the poorest of the poor into their neighborhood, well for heaven’s sake, darling, keep the shithole people at bay.

Says reader Sam M., who sent this clip in:

I don’t know. Maybe all the rich Manhattan people are Trump voters.

But of course they aren’t.

Ha ha!

You were right. They are liberal right up until the homeless folks threaten to move in.

If you are a liberal who was disgusted by Trump’s remark and my statement about it, then please post the name of your city and neighborhood so your municipal government will know where to put the next homeless shelter. It is very easy to moralize about this stuff … until it actually costs you something personally.

70 Comments (Open | Close)

70 Comments To "No Sh*thole People, Please, We’re Rich Liberals"

#1 Comment By Anne On February 10, 2018 @ 2:35 pm

Again, with the whataboutism. What about these guys, they must be liberals, and they don’t want homeless people moving in next door. Huh, huh, huh?

So what are we doing, comparing rich liberals in Manhatten with the billionaire Republican in the White House or homeless New Yorkers with third world immigrants? You really have to do the second first to see if there’s enough equivalency to make comparing the first worth anybody’s time.

So who are these future shelter dwellers? According to the NYC Coalition for the Homeless, most started out poor, living on the margins, so that one missed rent check could put them on the streets. A large majority suffer from serious mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia), addictions and other severe health problems. There’s a catch 22 at the heart of most people’s fear of these homeless: they’re feared because they act crazy and yet they can’t be “locked up” until they commit a violent act against themselves or others. So the fear makes sense, and yet it doesn’t, since the actual incidence of violent crime among this population is relatively low.

But what does any of this have to do with immigrants, even immigrants from “sh*thole” countries? Do most of them have serious mental or other disabilities? Do many give even the appearance of being crazy or dangerous? No. All immigrants who enter the US legally — and these are the ones Trump was supposed to be talking about, whether he understands who they are or not — go through a lengthy vetting process to exclude all of these problems, and more. The only (legal) immigrants not subject to all these checks, most of which are performed even on others offered asylum, were the thousands of Cubans coming into Florida during the first couple decades of the Castro regime.

So homeless New Yorkers vs immigrants equals apples and oranges. Those rich New Yorkers may be every bit as mean-spirited, if not as clueless, as our billionaire-in-chief, but the folks the two sides want to exclude are not equivalent. So what is this about, a need to show the other tribe isn’t any better than yours? As if. Since when is Trump representative of anybody but Trump?

#2 Comment By Jon On February 10, 2018 @ 2:35 pm

Humph!

With this incessant assault against Liberals, I might as well be considered one. The stone which the builders had rejected has become my cornerstone.

It’s all labels. And, what is behind this nomenclature such as Conservative vs. Liberal are people.

NIMBY another catch phrase and abbreviation is an understandable reaction to densely populated areas where neighbors contemn for living space though it also occurs in the exurbs. Families watch over themselves and when their local government decides to hold hearings about placing a group home or congregate care facility near them some will protest. Having lived in NYC, I have as a community planning board member heard some of these controversies. Sometimes the public wins and the facility is not located in their midst or in a compromise is pared down in size.

#3 Comment By Terry On February 10, 2018 @ 2:39 pm

Wait. The rich are hypocritical trash? That’s not news.

Takoma Park, MD.

#4 Comment By Jonah R. On February 10, 2018 @ 2:51 pm

CMPT: “Okay, how do you know any of this? Seriously, how do you personally know that wealthy white liberals aren’t doing much to advance the interests of black people, the homeless or some other group that might need help? Have you examined the donor lists of organizations that support these causes and determined that wealthy white liberals aren’t making donations? Have you polled, or read of polls of, wealthy white liberals and learned they’re not supporting these causes?”

I’ve lived in white, liberal (and sometimes wealthy) neighborhoods nearly all my adult life, and whatever checks my neighbors may or may not have written or however they may have voted, their choice of housing location speaks far louder. I’ve been hands-on with an antipoverty group at a church for some time now, and I would estimate that no more than 2 percent of the community as a whole supports us in any way, financially, materially, or as volunteers. We have a low-income neighborhood of shoddy townhouses built in the 1970s, and it’s where nearly all of our crime occurs. Locals fall all over themselves to take on more housing debt to live in one of the new, outlying subdivisions, not our crowded, sketchy, but extremely affordable core.

But please understand, I’m not trying to slander rich white liberals alone, because they’re not necessarily worse on this issue than conservatives or anyone else; they’re just less honest. The church work I do draws skepticism from Christian conservative friends of mine who make borderline-snide remarks about how I’m wasting my time trying to help people who don’t help themselves. I saw that coming. What I didn’t see coming was that my rich white liberal neighbors’ kids would regularly fly to places like Guatemala to shore up their college applications with quickie long-weekend “service” opportunities (complete with lots of grinning photos on Instagram) while never even acknowledging the poor and needy people (white, black, and Hispanic) who live four blocks away.

That’s why I think Rod’s ongoing point still stands: most people who get all righteous on this subject still do not willingly live among the poor, or welcome them in, and rarely in large numbers. The growing number of gated communities, and ambitious people’s desire to live among other such people in “good neighborhoods,” provide evidence across the country.

My hat is off to individuals and communities who manifest a spirit of true Christian charity. Let’s praise them and use them to inspire others. (I’m not sure that a quarter-percent raise in sales tax represents generosity on the part of a community, but so be it.) Still, if people’s actions truly reflected their official beliefs about poverty and race, there wouldn’t be so many bad schools in places like the District of Columbia…or anywhere, for that matter.

#5 Comment By Egypt Steve On February 10, 2018 @ 4:03 pm

I don’t think this is a really fair comparison. Liberal reaction to Trump’s s—-hole comments generally included claims (which I assume are true) that immigrants from Africa are generally highly educated and very low risks to fall into crime. The objections to his statement, which I shared, were that (1) Trump assumed all African immigrants are poor and violent, when this is clearly not true; and (2) that he pretty much made no pretense about his racist intentions when he said he’s prefer Scandinavian immigrants to Africans — not even bothering to add that some Africans, he assumed, might be good people or even neurosurgeons.

#6 Comment By Bob Taylor On February 10, 2018 @ 4:19 pm

MikeS, Jesus would have been a disgusting vagrant in your sight. May God displace your heart of stone with a heart of flesh.

A few years ago, a careful study of homeless men in the Toronto area found that half of them had suffered a traumatic brain injury in the past. MikeS, you ought to be able to distill a probability from that fact.

There but for the grace of God go you, MikeS.

#7 Comment By Reformed Trombonist On February 10, 2018 @ 5:29 pm

Rod, I hate to say it, but I agree 100%.

#8 Comment By CMPT On February 10, 2018 @ 6:42 pm

AAGGGH, FORMATTING CORRECTED FOR REAL, THIS TIME:

Jonah R: “[W]hatever checks my neighbors may or may not have written or however they may have voted, their choice of housing location speaks far louder. I’ve been hands-on with an antipoverty group at a church for some time now, and I would estimate that no more than 2 percent of the community as a whole supports us in any way . . .”

My apologies in advance for the long comment.

I disagree with the idea that the decision not to live around homeless people evinces a lack of support for them or the causes that help them, which was part of your original comment. I don’t understand at all this notion that, no matter what else you do, you’re not helping homeless people unless you invite them to live around you. Certainly, no homeless people hold that view. Moreover, if that was the only meaningful way of helping homeless people, you would quit the work you’re doing with your church.

While practically no one in any demographic is doing for the poor and homeless all that Christ called for them to do, I stand by my assertion that, but for the wealthy and upper-middle class, most of the organizations that make a substantial difference for the homeless would be defunct. The financial needs are simply too great to be satisfied by only those who have substantial amounts of disposable income.

“[M]ost people who get all righteous on this subject still do not willingly live among the poor, or welcome them in, and rarely in large numbers. The growing number of gated communities, and ambitious people’s desire to live among other such people in “good neighborhoods,” provide evidence across the country.”

Well, I can’t opine on most of the country, but I live in Los Angeles County, which is the nation’s homeless capital. As several commenters above have already made clear, the number of homeless people here is greater than the total population of most cities in the entire country. It’s certainly fair to criticize policies and beliefs that have caused this problem, but when I examine what’s being done here now, I don’t see evidence that wealthy and upper-middle class people, in general, are going to great lengths to prevent homeless people from finding housing near them. For starters, the homeless people in these areas are already living near them – they’re just doing it in parked cars and doorways. So, then, the issue is whether these well-to-do folks, in general, are resisting measures that will help house homeless and low-income people in well-to-do neighborhoods.

Well, if you want to build a large multi-family development in the more expensive parts of L.A., you’re going to have include low-income units within that development so that low-income people can live there. Nevertheless, developers are still bending over backwards to build these developments and middle and upper income people are still buying or renting these units even though they know some of their neighbors are going to be the kind of people that Rod says no one wants to live around.

We’ve seen many posts and comments on this blog proclaiming no one wants to live around poor people or minorities. Ironically, those threads are occasionally interrupted by other posts and comments that highlight the backlash from some minorities and poor people against . . . gentrification. Gentrification is the single greatest piece of evidence against the claim that no one wants to live around poor people or minorities.

What people of all demographics don’t want to live around is a lot of crime, but crime has gone way down even in the poorest and/or least white neighborhoods, and even while the number of poor and homeless has increased or at least remained constant. So, obviously, it’s entirely possible to live around poor people, minorities and homeless people without having to live around a lot of crime.

#9 Comment By mr burns On February 10, 2018 @ 6:47 pm

Truly loving others is incredibly difficult, even helping other is a risk (the saying “no good deed goes unpunished” didnt arise out of nowhere). But luckily one can pretend to virtue easily if one is rich. Just dispense some largess and escape from any personal contact with the troubled and mentally afflicted. And it is far cheaper than actually funding places like churches or inane asylums which do in fact try to love and protect the troubled and mentally afflicted. Liberalism is just the convenient belief that government, an institution created to have monopoly power to kill, expropriate and imprison, can somehow love, cherish, heal and educate people if only they are given sufficient power to expropriate other peoples wealth. Convenient because then one need do nothing oneself, and with sufficient money and political clout it is never your wealth that is taken nor must you ever experience the mindless incompetence and counter-productive results of government programs. Or so liberals believe.

#10 Comment By Tom On February 10, 2018 @ 7:01 pm

Most well-off or well-adjusted communities don’t mind a few token minorities or low-income people living among them. But that’s the key–a few. It allows them to claim solidarity with these folks without really having to pay a price. It’s a form of virtue signaling. They still control their neighborhoods, their schools, etc. But once it reaches a tipping point where they feel they are losing power or influence because of numbers they will self-segregate themselves by moving to another part of the city and start another enclave. Why this is news to anyone is beyond me. It’s more that fair to point out the hypocrisy.

#11 Comment By FL Transplant On February 10, 2018 @ 7:54 pm

I think NIMBYism is a human and not a political condition. I’d imagine that there aren’t many arch-conservatives who’d be happy if their neighbor wanted to open up a shooting range next to their home, or if a megachurch applied for permits to demolish most of the neighborhood to build an additional house of worship. Where I used to live all of the conservatives –the vast majority of the population–and the few remaining libruls are fighting a company that wants to build a new natural gas-fueled electric generating station in the area, and a few years ago successfully organized to fight off plans to use a couple of old gravel mining pits as disposal sites for fly ash (the residue from burning coal in a power plant) disposal. Thinking global warming/climate change is a librul conspiracy and support expanding the use of coal as a fuel doesn’t mean you won’t want to keep a fly ash pit away from where you live.

#12 Comment By grumpy realist On February 10, 2018 @ 8:42 pm

The other problem has been that in the large cities, the cheap but clean hostels which USED to exist for people on the margin have all been torn down and rebuilt as expensive condo projects.

I’ve been seeing this in Chicago–there were some nice single-room hostels in the south loop which during the last real estate frenzy were torn down to make way for yet another set of overpriced condos. There was a lot of discussion in the papers about where the prior inhabitants would go, but as far as I remember it all petered out with no action being taken.

Greed, Rod–that’s what we’ve been seeing. If you want to talk about NIMBYism in NYC, don’t forget the NIMBYism of cities who couldn’t care less about the effect real estate projects have on the mix of housing available.

#13 Comment By Mark Ellinghaus On February 11, 2018 @ 8:50 am

Equating homeless New Yorkers (many of whom have mental illnesses and serious addiction problems) with legal immigrants from African countries is pretty offensive Rod. You really should know better.

#14 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 11, 2018 @ 11:10 am

Most well-off or well-adjusted communities don’t mind a few token minorities or low-income people living among them. But that’s the key–a few.

Well, if people of African descent are 15 percent of the national population, and they were 15 percent of the population of each community in the nation, then this entire postulation would be moot.

The real or imagined pathologies come from having an identifiable group packed together with long-standing imposed (and sometimes self-perpetuating) disabilities, and then we talk about “how many of them” to admit to “our nice clean neighborhood.” To have a neighborhood stretching for miles where “blacks” are the overwhelming majority is an artificiality. So is a neighborhood where “everyone” or “almost everyone” is “white.”

I live in Los Angeles County, which is the nation’s homeless capital. As several commenters above have already made clear, the number of homeless people here is greater than the total population of most cities in the entire country.

Homeless people quite naturally tend to gravitate toward abodes where there is little or no winter. You don’t have to wonder whether churches will open up their basements as emergency shelters when the temperature drops below zero.

If there were any political will at all, it wouldn’t be that hard to arrange for every homeless person to have either a Tiny House or a modest one-room studio apartment. A few cities have even had some success at pursuing polities to do that. I seem to recall Utah taking the lead.

#15 Comment By Anonymous Philadelphian On February 11, 2018 @ 2:12 pm

I live in Center City, Philadelphia. There are a lot of homeless people on the street here, even during winter. I would much rather have homeless people in shelters in Center City than on the streets of Center City! Or, better yet, in one of Project HOME’s permanent supportive housing residences, one of which is a few blocks from my home.

#16 Comment By JonF On February 12, 2018 @ 6:31 am

Apparently you made a side trip to Home Depot for that broad tar brush sale, Rod, before your flight out.
I live in Baltimore, a neighborhood known as “Pigtown”. There are homeless people hereabouts. And as you know I loathe Donald Trump and all his evil works. The key thing about those Manhattanites isn’t their politics, but their net worth. Their politics likely begins and ends with that fact.

#17 Comment By Maggie On February 12, 2018 @ 9:19 am

Boston, Massachusetts (Brighton). I work about four blocks from a homeless shelter, in an area that used to be known as “the combat zone.” My church just across the Common has weekly dinners for the homeless.

The neighborhood I live in now is about 50/50 students and Orthodox Jewish families; adding a homeless shelter would make us the perfect setting for a reality show.

#18 Comment By Polichinello On February 12, 2018 @ 9:31 am

This reminds me of George Lucas’ efforts to troll his Marin County neigbors when they refused him a permit. He said, “Fine. I’ll build low-income housing instead.” Hilarities ensued. Sure, they want their cheap maids and gardners, but have them live there? HA! That’s for the schmucks in Solano County!.

#19 Comment By kgasmart On February 12, 2018 @ 10:58 am

You must know by now that the objection to Trump’s comments — from many people and not just liberals — was that he said no one from s***hole countries should be allowed to emigrate here and that he identified countries with brown people as s***hole and a country with white people as desirable.

So, we have a moral imperative to let in the tired poor, huddled masses – so long as, you know, they live over there.

Honestly, though, what’s happening in Manhattan here is the rule rather than the exception. In my neck of the Florida woods, we limit development because we don’t want to become another (insert name of sprawling community here), but a little-known consequence of this is that by building virtually nothing, the value of existing homes rises. The wealthy NIMBY types insist they’re standing up for the environment; conveniently, by doing so, they’re also standing up for their own home values.

And in part, as a result, there’s almost no affordable housing unless you’re willing to live in a ramshackle trailer; and while “#TheResistance” is strong here, they never seem to get around to this issue. Wonder why that is.

Lastly, [2] – but one, conveniently, where none of those immigrants can dream of affording to live.

Because we have a moral imperative to welcome these huddled masses – so long as, you know, they live somewhere else.

#20 Comment By james On February 13, 2018 @ 8:16 pm

Really not sure what to say how these issues relate in any way to liberal vs. conservative political thought. I have lived in cities most of my adult life, and currently live within three blocks of a very large homeless shelter, across the street in two directions from very large section 8 housing apartments, and one block away from a homeless encampment next to the highway. This is city living as I have always known it, and I wouldn’t trade it for the “peace and quiet” of country living for anything. My condo building has 45 loft spaces, and my neighbors represent every political bias from All-Fox-All-the-Time to flaming socialists, but we all feel that this is how we want to live. Basically, my life experience makes it hard to grasp how anybody finds that objections to living near poverty are more likely to be found in any particular political subgroup.