Both Sides Are Wrong
and both sides are right

This is a broadening of the Rats & Cheeseburgers metaphor. taking a more serious look at three distinctly different groups of people, each having different needs, and requiring distinctly different treatments, but all part of a totally out-of-control situation due to a single common denominator.

Homeless People

Largely composed of sufferers of substance abuse, mental illness, or both, are victims of nit-wit politicians in State Governments – Governments that once provided for them. They are now abandoned upon the foolish notion[i]First introduced in California by the 1967, Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, known as LPS that stemmed from the pressure of lawyers and patient rights advocates, like the ACLU. Later, Ronald Reagan had no choice but to sign what had become a veto-proof bill in 1972, satisfying the Democrat-controlled Legislature that had passed it by a vote of 77-1. that it is more compassionate to let these “disabled” people live on the street, wallowing in their own waste, with needles sticking out of their arms, than to house them and provide the care they desperately need.

Street Criminals

These people also need help, disadvantaged by the lack of education and opportunity due to no fault of their own. Many if not most, are where they are because their parents, and their parents’ parents’, and their parents’ parents’ parents struggled with the same unhappy state of our society.

The problem is a complex one, but these potentially productive “have-nots” remain unable to imagine a way to get a leg-up in Society without stealing from the “haves” – a regrettable situation, seemingly beyond the understanding of policymakers.

Illegal Aliens

This group is fundamentally different from the other two, being totally created by ill-conceived public policy. Milton Friedman said it best, but he said it so many times, in different settings, that he is often misquoted. To paraphrase, he said that immigration to jobs can be a good thing, and immigration to welfare is quite another. You obviously cannot have uncontrolled immigration and welfare at the same time because you have no way to sort out the workers from the beggars. Even in the absence of Friedman’s wisdom, it should be obvious that a country without a border fails to meet the definition of a country.

The common denominator in all of this is of course the need for law enforcement and the current lack thereof. Abiding by laws, rules, and regulations is fundamental to every civilized culture, but there is more to the solution than simply enforcing the law. Understanding that every debate has two sides, we need to examine each to see why neither has worked.

The Left Side

Some feel the pain and despair of these people more intensely than others, and those people tend to endorse potential remedies that involve empathy, understanding, and supporting these people, most of whom are helpless to pull themselves out of the open sewer that has become the intercities.

Their solutions involve building housing and giving them free needles, food stamps, and the like. While these programs make everyone feel better, they don’t really help the situation at all. In some ways, they make the problem worse.

Social experiments of that magnitude require a handful of generations to show results and politicians have a handful of years between elections. Even making a dent in the poverty of a single ghetto is beyond the capability of our governmental system, so thinking that the decades-old problems in Chicago or Philadelphia can be solved that way is foolish at best. The problem has gone on too long and has grown too large to be helped by such Left-single-minded attempts.

The Right Side

Others think that further enabling their aberrant behavior increases the problem and draws others into the cesspool. They opt for confining them and involuntarily treating their ailments. As mentioned earlier, that battle was fought and lost in California with the Lanterman–Petris–Short Act in 1972, which abandoned State hospitals that were dedicated to helping those people.

The problem with these Right-single-minded methods is that (a) they don’t address the roots of the problem, and (b) we could not possibly hire enough cops or build jails fast enough anyway.

So, neither approach has worked in the past, and neither will work in the future because they are both wrong when employed separately, and in opposition. But they both could be right if they were combined in a meaningful way. So what is a meaningful way?

Both Sides Are Right

Political parties and therefore Federal, State, and local governments don’t work together. They work in opposition for reasons that go beyond the scope of this discussion. Thinking people, on the other hand, particularly scientists and engineers, and others with analytical minds, know that when faced with what appears to be an impossible problem, they don’t back away or charge into it with guns blazing. They stop and consider the causes, isolate those causes into manageable parts, and put forth ways to attack each individually, before integrating their findings into one solution. So, combining the Left-single-minded ways with the Right-single-minded ways might hold promise when considered together. Such a venture would require intense understanding and cooperation from people and politicians on both sides of the aisle, and that might well make it impossible. It sounds naive to think that our elected leaders could accomplish such a thing, which is most likely true, but it is worth the effort to at least articulate it. 

All three problems are primarily big-city issues, but big cities have proven themselves incapable of impacting them. The following approach circumvents the issues that have stood in the way by breaking the problems into smaller, manageable pieces and employing resources not normally considered as part of the solution, to wit. 

A Grass-Roots Big City Renaissance
  • Create a City within a City – independent;
    • Education
    • Jobs
    • Law & order
  • The 5 “Essential Elements”
    • 1 – Police station
      • Flood the area with law enforcement
      • Rudy Giuliani method – no crime is left unpunished
    • 2 – High school
    • 3 – Vocational school
      • Plumbing
      • Electrical
      • etc.
    • 4 – Manufacturing business
      • Car parts – GM, Ford, Etc
      • Electronics – Assemble phones, write code, Etc
    • 5 – Critical retail
      • Grocery
      • Pharmacy
      • Home Depot
  • Get Governments out of the way.
    • Federal Government – too large and too clumsy
      • Can’t solve the most common problem.
      • Certainly not one this complex
    • Same with most State Governments
      • Large, clumsy States – California & New York – run by professional politicians.
        • Create problems, work on problems, and talk about problems
        • Never solve problems – their jobs depend on problems.
      • Small, nimble ones, e.g., Idaho, & North Dakota don’t have same problems
      • For those same precise reasons – they are small and nimble.
        • A homeless person is rare in Idaho.
        • Street crime in North Dakota ends abruptly
          • Smash-and-grabbers in the morgue with tags on their toes.
        • Illegals are there, but;
          • Not draining the Welfare budget.
          • Working hard and staying under the radar
    • Local Governments hold the key
      • Need Federal and State funding
      • But without bureaucrats “helping”
  • Get the Private Sector involved.
    • Unlike governments, companies understand;
      • Fiscal responsibility
      • The Profit motive
      • Solving problems
    • Unlike the public sector, businesses solve problems or go out of business.
    • Unlike public agencies, businesses hire people and make things for profit.
    • Profit creates jobs and fuels the economy
    • Public jobs slow the economy by spending money they don’t have.
  • The Renaissance Team
    • Federal Congressman
      • Advisory capacity – no vote
      • Handles Federal funding
    • State Congressman
      • Advisory capacity – no vote
      • Handles State funding
    • Representative from each of the 5 “Essential Elements”
  • Pick the right Location
    • No border states with impossible illegal alien pressure
    • No States with great weather to attract homeless
    • No Sanctuary City or Sanctuary State
      • A Right-single-minded perspective can adopt another point of view.
      • A Left-single-minded view is harder to change.
  • Start small
    • Minimum dozen city blocks
    • Maximum several dozen blocks
  • Scale Success
    • Local residents vote and Renaissance Team decides when to expand
    • Local leaders go on to become State and Federal leaders
      • . . . who know how to solve problems instead of talking about them.
By: Jim
Written: August 2023
Published: September 9, 2023
Reader feedback always appreciated[ii]. . thoughtful commentary perhaps more so than shallow thoughts
i First introduced in California by the 1967, Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, known as LPS that stemmed from the pressure of lawyers and patient rights advocates, like the ACLU. Later, Ronald Reagan had no choice but to sign what had become a veto-proof bill in 1972, satisfying the Democrat-controlled Legislature that had passed it by a vote of 77-1.
ii . . thoughtful commentary perhaps more so than shallow thoughts