Intellectual honesty to Olympia's (and Seattle's) homeless problems

Picture of an Olympia homeless camp underneath the 4th Avenue Bridge which is scheduled to be cleared out on September 11th, 2019. (photo: KOMO News)

This hard hitting, blunt assessment of what it will take to fix Olympia's drug-addicted homeless problem comes from a very liberal (and unlikely) source: an artist and activist who has worked with the The Rachel Corrie Foundation.

Candace Mercer writes on

"Some even defend theft and violence as a reasonable response if it originates with the “oppressed.” This is a rationalization used by homeless advocates and addiction evangelists to challenge the very legitimacy of the social contract. Neutralizations are euphemisms designed to loosen norms, allowing deviance to flourish unchecked. In an attempt to quell the natural moral dissonance that comes from doing something wrong, these repositionings allow people to litter without shame, steal without guilt and cause harm without remorse. Because there is no pushback and no consequences, anti-social behavior is emboldened and lawlessness is the inevitable result."

Mercer disputes the claim that the rising cost of housing is driving homeless, " Lack of housing is not driving property crime, drugs are. Theft is routinized as a form of reparations and neutralized with the term “survival crime,” the goal being to decriminalize crime itself. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the average substance abuser spends $1834 on drugs per month which is more than enough to pay rent in Olympia. Addiction leads to morally compromising and dangerous situations, including sex work. One reason the Artisan Commons Park was closed at night was due to men preying on homeless women."

But Mercer doesn't stop there in puncturing the distorted claims of the homeless industrial complex, "Olympia’s benevolence is being extorted by addicts who want to live where they want and take what they want, be it land or personal property, without interference. Citizens are expected to support, even embrace, this subculture as a valid lifestyle choice, one which will lead to chronic, perhaps lifetime, homelessness."

The extensive and well thought out essay provides the perfect anti-dote to the feckless promises of the Seattle/Olympia politicians, bureaucrats and activists who are making homeless problems worse, not better.

She states what few have dared to say in addressing homelessness problems in proudly liberal cities like Olympia or Seattle (or San Francisco or Los Angeles): if we don't enforce common-sense laws, the homeless and drug subculture will become the norm and we'll have lifetime homelessness in these cities.

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