Paternalism in housing — questions for the ‘good people’

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Mayor Andy Berke and other candidates for mayor worry about “affordable housing” in Chattanooga. (Photo TV12)

Mayor Andy Berke and other candidates for mayor worry about “affordable housing” in Chattanooga, a concept that does not address homeless housing at the very bottom of the market. (Photo TV12)

Here are my questions for well-meaning and high-minded people in Chattanooga who reject out of hand a proposal to allow a spontaneous bottom of the housing market.

The barrier to the creation of this true floor in the housing market is the high standard that civilized people with incomes, cars, nice clothes, houses, jobs and savings accounts wish to impose upon the homeless — obviously for the benefit of the poor.

By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 101.1 FM

I propose that truly “affordable housing” is that which people who are homeless can afford. That is to say, houses that are essentially free because they are built unmolested by the homeless people themselves, using the principles of recycling of construction site offal.

These questions are spontaneously asked, in no particular order.

Friendly questions about high standards

➤ Do you really believe it is our way or no way?

➤ Is it fair that you impose “no housing” rather than accept substandard housing occupied by a formerly homeless person?

➤ Why are systems, institutions and organizations and their agendas more important than allowing an individual to make an effort to secure his own place and build his own success?

➤ Why do you support government, charity and institutional intervention even if it means a barrier for the poor in making their own way?

➤ Do you believe that dependence and charity in favor of the poor is so important that we need to continue to prohibit their self-government and the prospect of land ownership as envisioned in the minority report — the “Your shantytown is my housing free trade zone” plan?

➤ A homeless person builds a shack that he can defend legally from the bulldozer; who is to say that he shouldn’t have it and that we must block occasions that would allow him to build?

➤ Why are your health, welfare, and safety standards so important that you continue to forbid the establishment of a housing free-trade zone in which each homeless person builds from recycled goods his own hutment, dwelling, home, security, mansion, hovel, sleeping place, storage area or castle?

➤ Compare your house to mine. What happens if your house doesn’t meet my standards and I have authority to order your removal from your address?

➤ Is it possible that between you and me your housing standard might be lower than mine? If so, would I be right to exercise a legal or governmental authority to punish your occupancy of your house?

➤ Paternalism has its roots in care for others, but also their incompetence. Do we want these people to leg it? Or do we want them to stay and build lives in our city, to which by God’s providence they have been led?

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Your shantytown is my housing free trade zone

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