Why homelessness is still with us


It’s the interviews I’ve had in Washington, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and, three times, in San Francisco. Someone locally, assuming I was not, apologized for the inconvenience. I just complain that it is sad, but that I have seen evil somewhere. (In OECD countries, I did not.)

In time, it becomes evident that we have different goals. What irritates someone is the fact that they fall asleep Pano. The city is soft, so it is a lamp to them. Luckily, someone will shoot all the canvas villages to keep them out of sight. That the universal answer is there, starting with “w” and ending with “elfare state”, then the fact that I am a very good visitor that I can’t stress.

Such cold hearts. Such greed. But some of my contacts are those who donate more time and money to charity than I have ever been. Some progress to the point of gradual questioning. Some are my friends, and it would not be wrong for me to view them as cruel or abusive.

The problem is not tolerance. It’s innocent. Their belief is the truth in the market as a better or lesser way: to evaluate a person’s performance and appearance. Whatever it brings is, even tragically, a kind of Revealed Truth.

If you believe that there is a strong connection between deserts and rewards, you should believe – you should – that sleepless people are coming. You have not left yourself in the lurch of social events: mental illness, birth into a hopeless family, dangerous education or a middle life falling into the pit of events. You are guilty of epic, almost operatic naivety. But you are not avenger; by se. You are not selfish. You’re Candide, not Scrooge.

The difference is greater than the education. The left will not make a contribution to the developing world until it has entered the heads of the working class. At the moment, it has the ill-fated idea of ​​what drives a Congressional Republican, a libertarian billionaire or even a middle-income earner who sleeps violently with “bums”. If it were selfish, these people, I think, would support the social security net. An increase in the individual tax rate to pay for it may be minimal. Rewards – no need to run syringes and settle in large cities – are huge. You do not need to know your John Rawls to see that the self-centered story of the less fortunate is as powerful as the fair.

No, they refuse because they think it is wrong in principle. They think that it distorts the results (or rather, the gains) which, though unequal, are born fairly. What they put on the market is an unthinking but profound belief that another generation in England puts on “our courts”, or that a spiritual pervert can put “karma” on them. The advantage of going out, is the idea. These people are not doing their homework for the poor. They simply “defile” the amount of life that results from inheritance by other random species. Their failure is merely speculation, not conscience.

These ideas are found everywhere. But a republic based on the idea that human life is completely self-contained would be incredibly prone to it. If Europe does not have a homeless (though still a lot), it is not because the people there are kind. It is not a belief associated with “socialism”. It may be that centuries of feudalism have left the original recognition of human birth.

The concept of human Enlightenment, which was English, Dutch and French before the United States, is filtered through a real filter. Politician Eileen McDonagh has shown that monarchies are often pioneers of good living. Many social reformers were blue-bloods who saw meritocracy through the eyes of jaundiced. Consider Bismarck or Shaftesbury. Consider, in this case, Franklin Roosevelt.

In the winter of DC 2018, a friend of mine was shocked by the beggar as our Uber passed him in the mud. Then, in a sad-and-not-angry way, he wondered how one could make “self-defeating” decisions. It is so deep, this belief, and the rare form of the New World that I will never miss.

Janan’s email at janan.ganesh@ft.com

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