My email to/rant against David Cole

Putting this under the fold as it’s drama. Lest this seem excessively rude, it’s written in a similar style to that used by Cole.

Dear David Cole,

I was very disappointed at your recent article “”Chaotic Diversity” in My Backyard.” I’m a supporter of the concept of YIMBY, which you describe as “trading the brutality and ugliness of low-density suburbs for the freedom and beauty of Brazilian favelas.” Have you heard of the concept of the apartment or the duplex? I am currently living in a duplex, it looks nothing like a Brazilian favela. You talk a lot about diversity, did it occur to you that white Americans might want to live in apartments or duplexes as well? I can think of two groups in particular:

1. Poor whites unable to afford houses.
2. Single whites who don’t need such large living spaces even if they could afford them.

As to the notion of “trading houses for favelas,” it’s not trading anything for anything. It’d be like if the government had previously only allowed expensive restaurants and then legalized cheap ones. Would it lead all the expensive restaurants to disappear? No. Consumers would be able to choose. When you’re a believer in the government forcing everyone to do A and not B, you naturally see it not doing so as pro-B and anti-A. It’s not. It’s NEUTRAL. I have no objection to you having a house on your property. The problem is you forcing everyone else to make the same choice.

You do have a point when you talk about crime and the degradation of neighborhoods due to certain forces. You write that:

I’m not expecting anyone to pity affluent L.A. Westsiders, keep in mind that if they’re willing to come for well-off Beverly Hills Jews, they sure as hell will be coming for you, too

As if it were a theoretical possibility. What universe are you living in? Poor whites don’t get the special protection that the middle and upper classes do. If they happen to live in an all-white town in Appalachia, it’s only because no one else wants to live there. If there’s a poor white neighborhood in Chicago where immigrants want to live, there’s no one out there protecting its “local character.” Allowing more migration to your neighborhood might mean less to theirs, along with much cheaper housing, so why shouldn’t they support it? If you’re asking them to show solidarity, well, I’m afraid that that ship has sailed a LONG time ago.

You write that:

I get the frustration of fighting government red tape. To that extent, I’m on his side. But once again I’ll point out that Belgrade and our Democrat overlords have taken away the right of local neighborhoods to choose to have anti-density ordinances in their own “backyards.”

Look, when Alexandria Ocasio Cortez gets elected and raises your gas prices to 10$ a gallon, she’ll say “we decided to do this.” And she’d be right, her voters did decide to elect her. They made that choice. But many others didn’t and they, just as much as the people who did, will be forced to pay for 10$ a gallon gas. When you support a policy, you think of it as the decision everyone made. Its only when you oppose it that you see the minority of people who didn’t and are being forced to go along with it.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not supporting any Ayn Rand crap. I’d be happy if Bezos got a bigger tax bill. My concern is not for abstract moral principles. It’s for the people who have to pay through their nose for housing. You write that “pockets of uninfected areas serve as reminders of how good life can be without street crime, street filth, welfare flophouses, and immigrant tenements.” Well let me tell you something David, it’s not so good for people who can’t afford California-level real estate prices or who can but have no desire to live in a large single-family house. Many of those people left California because of it.

Continuing:

Libertarians support laws like AB670 because property owners should have, like, the freedom, man, to build a slum in their backyard. But a group of neighbors must not be allowed the freedom to enact mutually agreed-upon zoning standards in defiance of the state. That kind of freedom libertarians won’t allow.

The Cato Institute’s Ilya Somin, an anthropomorphic deer tick who identifies as libertarian, routinely crusades against the right of communities to preserve their “local character” (he blocked me on social media last year when I dared to ask a few questions about his opposition to the concept of “local control”).

Again, I’m no libertarian. But how is this different from the same argument Ocasio Cortez could make? It’s like freedom man, 51% of us have mutually agreed on the Green New Deal. Ilya Somin never answered your question, I’ll do it for him: your parents ought to have lost their equity, or at least lost it and then been compensated in some way. Suppose we had a situation where the government put limits on how many cars were allowed on the road. 10 million, no more. Cars would be pricey assets. Some people would work hard, put all their money into their cars. Should we the keep that law, so that that equity would not be destroyed? Obviously not, because that equity is based on harming the millions of Americans not allowed to own cars. Or take a real world example: taxi medallions. These can cost up to a million dollars because the state restricted the supply of taxis. Should the state ban Uber or Lyft so that the value of those assets don’t go down and you continue to have to pay through the nose for taxi service? Your parents’ equity was based on harming millions of their fellow Californians, people like my parents, who left the state in large part due to the housing costs caused by those policies.

You cite Carson on opposing these regulations, are you aware Carson is a supporter of abolishing single family zoning? See https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2019/06/21/ben-carson-takes-aim-at-single-family-zoning. This shouldn’t be surprising to you, if you understood what liberty actually means. Like many boomers, you seem to think it means “my net worth maximized by any means necessary and fuck you if you’re screwed over in the process.”

Finally, there’s the argument that how dare developers have GREED in wanting to build homes. They have BUSINESSES. You yourself condemned socialism, aren’t you aware that the profit motive and businesses are kinda what capitalism is about? The real estate industry is not different than any other: it seeks to make profits and when government regulations prevent that, it lobbies to have them removed. You write as if Ira Belgrade was deceiving you by not telling you of his business interests. But it took me five seconds to find them out by googling his name. Perhaps he didn’t tell you because he assumed that you, being a journalist, would do some f—— research as journalists are supposed to do.

In conclusion, if you want to fight crime, you could try fighting it directly. How about lobbying California to build more prisons so they don’t have to let a bunch of criminals out the next time the courts notice they’re overcrowded? Or how about getting them to start prosecuting people who break into cars? Or how about lobbying the corporate-occupied GOP to finally do something about immigration? The common pattern for the Right when they lose on one issue is to pick up surrogate issues which happen to alienate a lot of people who previously supported them. Look at how they picked up evangelical Christianity and abortion as a substitute for losses in the 1960s and alienated a lot of secular people who would otherwise have been sympathetic to them. Now, after the dud of the Trump presidency you propose to alienate a lot of people who would otherwise be sympathetic but don’t want to pay through the nose for housing. One big issue here, working against you, is marriage rates. I’m a millennial and many men in my generation aren’t looking to get married. I could go into why, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant against the boomers. The bottom line is we have no desire for that suburban house as we don’t need the space. You think it’s smart to alienate us? This the hill you want to die on?

With sincerest pomposity,

Alexander Turok

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