Environmentalists and the “Affordable Housing” bond measure.

I’m not often in the political company of self-described “environmentalists”. I consider myself a “conservationist”.

It’s probably not something that most modern people have given much thought to, but “conservation” is really a logical corollary of capitalism. “Conservation” is a constraint on human behavior that humans impose on themselves.

“Environmentalism”, in contrast, is not about human thought or human responsibility. It is about human intrusion and human illegitimacy. Humans screw things up. Humans are incompatible with nature. Humans don’t belong. Humans should just go away.

So awful are humans in the eyes of radical ecologists that there is even a “voluntary” movement for human self-extinction.

Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

The basis of the angst for human existence lies largely in Malthusian fears of “overpopulation”, and the profligate, irresponsible consumption of earth’s resources by human beings. And the historic experience of human societies with overcrowding, disease, starvation — particularly in urban settings — have provided a rational basis for those fears.

Anthropologists have observed that in primitive times — before the mastery of herding and agriculture — the human population of the planet was perhaps 25 million people, limited by the MINIMUM food supply available to humans. As the food supplied varied between abundance and scarcity, the human population expanded and contracted. But the years of scarcity defined an overall limit to the “sustainable” human population of the planet.

The inventions and facilities of modernity — particularly herding and agriculture — have allowed human populations to exceed the natural limits of food supply, and supplies of other resources such as land and climate. But environmentalists ask if it is ultimately wise to create too much artificial expansion of human habitat which will at some point become “unsustainable”.

Modern principles of technology and of governance have allowed us to increase human populations beyond the numbers that would be naturally sustainable for any given location. But at some point, should those who care for the environment say: “Enough is enough! It’s not wise to fool Mother Nature”?

The fundamental question is: “We know how to support a larger population, at least temporarily, but SHOULD we support a larger population that is ultimately NOT sustainable in the long term”?

Measure A subsidizes housing for socially and economically fragile people and allows them to exist in an environmental niche where the forces of nature and availability of economic resources would NOT normally allow them to exist. The justification for this subsidy is NOT that it provides SUSTAINABLE living conditions for people. It is NOT that it is good for the environment. The justification is ONLY that it will skew election results in a direction desired by certain political actors over the short term, a direction that will extend and continue the subsidies for UNSUSTAINABLE living.

The justification is the essence of circular logic: the subsidies are justified because it will give people an incentive to vote for politicians who will continue the subsidies.

It CAN be argued that providing subsidized housing for a population that is incapable of obtaining of producing sufficient resources for its own sustenance is a BURDEN on the environment, because it leads to localized overpopulation, overcrowding, and over consumption of common resources like air, water, and waste disposal.

The continuing bay area housing shortage is a manifestation of UNSUSTAINABLE OVERCONSUMPTION of housing. The solution to the housing shortage is NOT to subsidize more UNSUSTAINABLE OVER CONSUMPTION, it is to STOP UNSUSTAINABLE OVERCONSUMPTION.

Those who were given EMPTY and DECEPTIVE promises for “affordable” housing by politicians should learn to DISTRUST the politicians who made the promises. And then thye should address their housing needs by seeking housing arrangements that are suitable to their needs and means and sustainable for the community and the environment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s