4 thoughts on “Cruel Salvation”

  1. Virtue, like charity, is a personal thing. They can’t be forced on someone. It has to come from within, an individual’s choice to act a certain way.

    Perverse incentives is a better term to describe what is going on with migrants and also with organizations perpetuating the problems they were created to solve. Outcome based altruism is the best way to approach solving problems, if people are really concerned about solving problems rather than making themselves feel better.

    A large problem is that obfuscation is used to prevent people from understanding what is going on. I am not sure if this is intentional or just a natural result of the process.

    1. Back in January, City-Journal ran an excellent look at Seattle’s homeless problem. Not the homeless problem per se, but the problem of the city’s homeless-industrial complex that feeds it.

      Over the past year, I’ve spent time at city council meetings, political rallies, homeless encampments, and rehabilitation facilities, trying to understand how the government can spend so much money with so little effect. While most of the debate has focused on tactical policy questions (Build more shelters? Open supervised injection sites?), the real battle isn’t being waged in the tents, under the bridges, or in the corridors of City Hall but in the realm of ideas, where, for now, four ideological power centers frame Seattle’s homelessness debate. I’ll identify them as the socialists, the compassion brigades, the homeless-industrial complex, and the addiction evangelists. Together, they have dominated the local policy discussion, diverted hundreds of millions of dollars toward favored projects, and converted many well-intentioned voters to the politics of unlimited compassion. If we want to break through the failed status quo on homelessness in places like Seattle—and in Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, too—we must first map the ideological battlefield, identify the flaws in our current policies, and rethink our assumptions.

      And the author goes into great detail, such as:

      The homeless mythology is not merely anti-factual; it’s also a textbook example of what sociologists call pathological altruism, or “altruism in which attempts to promote the welfare of others instead result in unanticipated harm,” as engineer Barbara A. Oakley explains. The city’s compassion campaign has devolved into permissiveness, enablement, crime, and disorder.

      The problem with the phrase “unanticipated harm” is that the people pushing such policies have such a defective view of cause and effect and human nature that they can’t anticipate any better than the average six-year old.

      And advocates who purport to fix a problem, such as homelessness or immigration, have more incentive than anyone to maintain or worsen the problem they address, as that increases their own prestige, importance, and perceived virtue. Indeed, if they milk it right they can build a thriving and lucrative career on coping with a problem that ordinary people would just solve with ease, such as by arresting vagrants, building a wall, or making it untenable for illegals to work and live in the US.

      1. The idea that Seattle gets nothing for their money is completely wrong. I’m sure they get a number of 6 figure salaries and 7-8 figure consulting contracts.

        1. Indeed they do. Whole empires are being built on it. So now the city has a vast array of politically powerful groups who will make sure the problem can’t be solved.

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