Left-NIMBYs Mogged by the YIMBY to Alt-Right Pipeline
The leftist blog Truthout had a terrible piece, YIMBYS are The Alt-Right Darlings of the Real Estate Industry, claiming that YIMBY activists have ties to “PayPal cofounder and Trump advisor Peter Thiel,” prescribe Reaganomics to housing policy, and compares YIMBY policies to the “negro removal” of past urban renewal projects, in that “low-income Black, Latinx and transgender people of color being the core targets of displacement,” under up-zoning.
On a similar note there were pieces from the San Francisco Examiner, The Problem with YIMBY, and from the leftist blog Shelter Force, accusing YIMBYs of having White privilege, smearing them as suburban White gentrifies who are insensitive to people of color’s anti-gentrification concerns. The SF Examiner Piece made both racist and pro-capitalist accusations, that YIMBY “politics are rooted in racist and anti-poor conservative neoliberal ideologies first inaugurated by Ronald Reagan,” that “It tells people who want our homes that they deserve, by virtue of their whiteness and their status as part of a young college-educated elite, to get them,” and that YIMBY is “An agenda for building up the power base of the neoliberal right,” linking YIMBYism to policies such as the privatization of education. In response to the article, one leftist commentor tweeted “If you like white nationalists, then you will LOVE YIMBY.”
Certainly there is strong anti-YIMBY sentiment on the right, but for leftists, the critique of YIMBY is generally on anti-capitalist grounds, that they are funded by Silicon Valley oligarchs. The canard that YIMBYs are both Alt-Right racists and Silicon Valley elites is a pathetic new attempt by Left-NIMBYs to play the race card, as they are on the losing side of the housing debate. Generally it is the YIMBY side that accuses NIMBYs of being segregationists.
The NIMBY stereotype is generally of affluent geriatric homeowners but we can’t underestimate the amount of opposition to zoning reform from a segment of younger leftwing anti-gentrification activists. For instance San Francisco’s DSA chapter denounced YIMBY as being hyper capitalist. A lot of these leftists genuinely believe that zoning reform causes displacement, out of ignorance of the principles of supply and demand. However, it also seems that many of these younger and non-White progressive activists have been bankrolled as fronts by affluent NIMBYs. For instance in 2017, NIMBY Michael Weinstein, president and founder of the Aids Healthcare Foundation, sponsored the failed measure S, that would have imposed a moratorium on the construction of high density housing in Los Angles. The measure was disingenuously framed on anti-gentrification grounds but much of its support was from homeowner associations in wealthy areas, as well as from celebrities who didn’t want the views from their Hollywood Hills estates to be obscured by high-rises. Most of the yes votes in support came from the San Fernando Valley rather than from the urban core. There was a good piece from the San Francisco blog Beyond Chron, debunking the anti-gentrification arguments made by NIMBYs.
These dynamics played out in San Francisco, with the blocking of an affordable housing re-development of the Downtown Nordstrom’s parking lot, in the midst of a severe housing crisis. Dean Preston, a San Francisco Supervisor and self-described Democratic Socialist, justified his vote against the project, stating that “The ongoing use of “pro-housing” to refer to advocates for market rate housing but not advocates for affordable housing is pure propaganda. I expect it from the real estate industry, but media should hold itself to a higher standard.” Dean Preston even used woke rhetoric to defend preserving the downtown parking lot, stating that “It must suck to think you’re part of a movement for equity & social justice, and then discover the “movement” exists to protect corporate profits & the status quo, just with different height limits. Here’s to those who make it thru the disinformation and fight for housing justice,” and that “Perhaps BIPOC community groups know better than YIMBY Twitter what’s good for their communities.”
This use of woke politics to defend a parking lot, sparked an interesting Twitter convo with two anti-YIMBY leftist, with one of the commentors saying that the parking lot being redeveloped was Scott Weiner’s Technocracy bill kicking in. In part to troll for reactions but also to expose these dynamics, I responded with my article on how NIMBYS are responsible for California’s Great Replacement. The other commentor took issue with my Great Replacement article, responding that “The article linked is some world-class gibberish. But at least it illuminates that Wiener/YIMBY are NOT actually concerned about “all Californians”, despite the pimping of lower-inc. minorities. They’re really primarily concerned for the upper income, largely white, tech types” I got accused of promoting the YIMBY to Alt-Right Pipeline with the previous commentator stating “That person is posting their own Substack, which is a mix of alt-right, libertarian, and YIMBY tropes all in a blender”
The woke NIMBY commentors were offended by my proposition that YIMBY policies could benefit White Californians, along with others, with the second commentor stating that “The issue with helping white people is that when you do so, as a primary focus, you essentially reinforce racial inequity. It’s normal for white people to look to help themselves, but also is part of how bias plays out. Call an SB9 what it is: primarily help for white people.” He further challenged my response by stating that “Don’t be disengenuous and act like ending segregation and helping lower-income people of color is more than a footnote. Because there’s no direct address of that. Don’t call people who make note of the problematic application or lack of measure for lower-inc/minorities “racists,” and added that Yeah, those poor disadvantaged white descendants. Maybe YIMBY will come up with a housing subsidy just for them. All Lives Matter.” The previous commentor concluded “The eugenics of YIMBY.”
Certainly YIMBY policies help White people, just as they help everyone, by easing the demand. A recent LA Times Poll shows that the YIMBY position is very popular among all in LA, but it is primarily special interests that have held back change. YIMBY is a big tent that has ethnically, economically, and politically diverse support. While we can debate housing policy, it is important to have a clear and consistent narrative about the impacts of zoning reform. The Nimby vs. YIMBY debate often has contradictory narratives, as Tucker Carlson has made the parallel case to left-NIMBYs’ anti-gentrification arguments, that up-zoning is a tool of the Democratic Party to destroy White suburbia.
The reality is that zoning reform is pro-White, but it is also pro-Asian, pro-Indigenous, pro-Black, and pro-Latino. As I pointed out in my article on how NIMBYS are responsible for California’s Great Replacement, White Californians are in a unique situation as far as being impacted by a dearth of social capital and demographic decline. British researcher, Edward Dutton, has a good critique of NIMBYism from a rightwing perspective, in his video Why the Housing Crisis means Western Civilization will move to Poland. Dutton blames NIMBY policies for Britain’s demographic demise, as the restrained housing supply has stifled the fertility of native Britons the most, much like my point about White Californians.
While I am hesitant to endorse the theory that Democratic politicians are intentionally ethnically cleansing Whites out of California, there are many factors to why Whites are declining, beyond just fertility preferences. The out of state exodus and declining fertility rates impacts all groups in California, but unlike other groups, there is no major new source of White in-migration to offset the decline. Also White Californians are accustomed to more living space and achieving a certain quality of life before starting families and are more individualist, thus less likely to share communal resources. YIMBY housing policies plus freedom of association and education reforms such as school vouchers and breaking up failed urban school districts, would be very White positive. White Californians need to demand more living space, but not sprawl nor the displacement of others, but rather a “vertical lebensraum”.
There is empirical evidence that increasing the supply of market rate, including luxury housing, has a positive eugenic impact. However, it also eases the demand for gentrification. There is a problem with single family home neighborhoods with constrained supply, causing rapid ageing, and apartments with smaller units being limited to either childless professionals, recent immigrants, or the lower classes, both suppressing White family formation. What is great about the lot split bill, SB9, is that it will build more larger market rate units, such as townhouses, that are preferable for family formation. California should build a wide range of housing models, including lower income units, but it is clear that the regressive left policies of NIMBY plus only allowing low income housing, along with regressive anti-choice education policies, have been extremely dysgenic and anti-White.
While I am loosely aligned with the YIMBY cause, I have criticisms of YIMBY, as being too utilitarian by neglecting the importance of aesthetics and the identity of people and place. I am opposed to one size fits all policies, even if I reluctantly supported SB9. Ideally there would be a more specialized approach to housing, as there should be for economics, education, and race relations, but California’s failed one party leadership stands in the way.
In certain cases, YIMBYs do take into account the specialized needs of specific communities. For instance Bay Area housing advocate Darrel Owens, advocated, at a housing and reparations task force meeting, that there must be “Grants and no interest loans to ancestral victims of FHA racial redlining, Complete zoning and permitting authority for Black cooperatives,” and “ Fines and bans on Accessors who devalue Black property. Grants for Black homeowners to add second homes or multifamily housing to their property.”
YIMBY Darrel Owens’ call for housing reparations for Black Californians shows that much of the YIMBY movement is about as far from being Alt-Right as you can get. However, revisiting the left-NIMBY allegations that YIMBYs want special perks for Whites in housing, ideally there should be a specialized approach to housing for all demographic groups in California. Because of the severe degree of White population decline and ageing in California, White Californians too, need to lobby for a specialization based, housing policy platinum plan, under the banner of a multiculturalism that is inclusive of all. Whites need specialized affordable housing projects for those who can’t afford to live where they grew up, as well as larger family oriented units to increase family formation in middle and upper income White communities. Increasingly atomized White communities also need to lobby for grants and zoning changes for communal spaces, such as pools, gyms, work spaces, and community centers, to foster social capital. It is fair to say that I want to help White Californians, especially the younger generations, in part because that is my group, but Asian, Latino, Indigenous, and Black Californians should also lobby for their own specialized housing platinum plans.
I jokingly tell left-NIMBYs that I’m on the payroll of Donald Trump and Peter Thiel, to conspire to gentrify BIPOC communities, via urban renewal projects to build vertical ethno-states, and my cohort Curtis Yarvin and I celebrate with salutes, “Hail Weiner! Hail our vertical utopia! Hail vertical lebensraum!” In reality I am neither alt-right nor am I some YIMBY Silicon Valley techno-libertarian. I am a Radical Centrist, with my own dissident center brand, that is beyond the left and right. I am very passionate about California issues, proposing out of the box solutions to address the unique needs of Californians. My economic and housing policy proposals would help all Californians, through a pluralist approach that would empower all through specialization based approaches.