Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
by Matthew Desmond
Published in March 2016
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
Few books have pissed me off as much as this one has. This book has fueled a deep resentment in my heart to irresponsible parents - although I don’t think that was the goal of the author, his goal is to write about evictions. He does a great job at exposing the diseased underbelly of America.
Young teenagers choosing to get pregnant with drug dealers. Husbands who abandon their children to complete strangers. Parents who are strung out on crack and heroin. Children who have to use small pieces of carpet to keep warm at night.
The book opens with a scene describing children playing with snowballs in the street, throwing the snowballs at cars. A man gets out of a car, and chases the children to their apartment. The kids hide inside, and lock the door shut. The angry man chases the kids and destroys the door, then leaves. The next day, the family gets evicted by the landlord. The mother loses all her physical possessions and is left on the curb. After loosing all of her stuff, she ended up with her family in a homeless shelter for 9 months.
All of the characters in this book live miserable lives. They are racially diverse, have very different family structures, but share some common traits. Many are poor, uneducated, addicted, and have made numerous bad choices in their lives.
Bad choices followed by excuses for bad choices is the reoccurring theme of the book.
All of the characters were traumatized as children then go on to traumatize their children.
The author argues that changing eviction law will fix the lives of the people in question. I don’t think that anything can be done to change the lives of dysfunctional people who make terrible choices - historically, the only solution is to get rid of such people either through disasters or changes in sexual selection.
This can be done by providing access to free birth control, paying young poor women for every year that they don’t have children, and developing a male version of “the pill.” There also needs to be major cultural changes: women need to be told that they are heroic for not having kids staying single and partying and evil if they have kids that they can’t take care of. Women need to be taught by media to avoid alpha male drug dealers who don’t care about raising a family, and need to be conditioned to go for mentally stable beta males who can secure gainful employment.
Last, the state should punish people for making certain irresponsible choices that put others at risk. First, parents who have children taken by CPS should be forcefully sterilized to prevent them from creating more traumatized people. Men who impregnate more than 3 or 4 women and create single moms should also be forcefully sterilized. Welfare should be increased for men who stay with rather than leave mothers, and benefits should be reduced for young men who leave their children to fend for themselves with a single mother. Most importantly, the state should re-instate corporal punishment for adults and the state should cane any adult who hits a kid (Singapore style).
This book really makes me more anti-natalist - the belief that the vast majority of people should choose not to have kids because for many people, it would have been better for them never to have been born.
The book is very engaging and well-written. The language is clear, and the quotes were all recorded. I recommend the book to anyone who is studying poverty in America.
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