Poop-phobic conservatives

When did conservatives become such snowflakes? I frequently see conservatives complain that San Francisco has become a hellhole due to feces and needles on the sidewalk. While I didn’t notice that problem when I visited last year, no doubt there’s at least some truth to it. But so what?

When I grew up in Madison (in the 1960s), there was dog poop everywhere. No one picked up after their dogs. Maybe that was just Madison, but I doubt it. I suspect other American cities were the same. If you had told a Madisonian that their city was a hell hole due to dog poop on the sidewalks, they would have looked at you like you were a mentally ill germaphobe. What’s wrong with this guy? Is he one of those obsessive compulsives who wash their hands each day? (Just kidding, I mean 20 times a day.)

Seriously, dog poop on the sidewalk was not a major problem; we didn’t go through our lives obsessing about the issue. (Ditto for the ubiquitous cigarette smoke—no one cared.)

Needles? I don’t know about you, but I generally don’t make a practice of walking through the Tenderloin district barefoot. Get a grip!

San Francisco is actually a wonderful city, with two big problems. One is housing. They need to get rid of residential zoning in order to lower prices. And yet conservatives are turning against free markets in housing!

The other is petty crime. In this case the conservatives are correct. They need to arrest and imprison shoplifters and those crazy people on the sidewalk who repeatedly harass respectable people. Is it still political correct to say that? If not, feel free to cancel me.

PS. Not only was Madison not a hellhole, according to Life magazine it was the best place to live in America (in 1948). And America was the best country. And I lived in the best area of Madison (the westside). Ah, the good life.

But there’s a snake in the grass. See that dog in the picture? That mom is letting her little girls play near dog poop:



22 Responses to “Poop-phobic conservatives”

  1. Gravatar of ee ee
    6. May 2023 at 10:05

    Can we also arrest and imprison people who leave dog poop on other people’s property? This is important to me

  2. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    6. May 2023 at 10:18

    Dogs dont engage in violent crime, because they need to get their next dose of poop. The analogy is illogical, like most of your writings.

    If you think humans sticking needles up their arms, living in tents, defecating on street corners, robbing people on the way to work to get their next high, and yelling profanities while stumbling around is the same as a dog going to the bathroom, then you are slightly dumber than I originally thought. I didn’t set the bar very high for you, very few people do, but that comment is dumber than I expected. It’s even dumber than your one world NATO.

    I might also add that your woke state, the golden losers, now refuse to pay the Federal government for their covid debt. But there is a big and beautiful exlcusion clause forcing businesses in CA to cover the states debts, so at this rate, SFO will be a CCP ghost city, empty of everything except sky rise buildings and Sumner style degenerates.

  3. Gravatar of Negation of Ideology Negation of Ideology
    6. May 2023 at 13:40

    “Is it still political correct to say that? If not, feel free to cancel me.”

    That’s the correct attitude to take. Trying to be politically correct is a fool’s errand. Exhibit A is this professor’s apology:


    From the headline, I assumed she pretended to be a Native American her whole life. But in fact, she sincerely believed she was part Native American because her mother told her so. After she was questioned, she did some research and now believes she’s “been white her whole life.” (The horror!). The article links to her lengthy apology letter, which reads like a parody of woke-ism written by some right-winger.

    Some excerpts:

    “I have brought hurt, harm, and broken trust to the Native community at large, and to specific Native communities I have worked with and lived alongside, and for that, I am deeply sorry.”

    ” I betrayed and hurt my students, collaborators, and friends. I have negatively impacted people emotionally and culturally.”

    I hope her students, collaborators, and friends are less fragile and melodramatic than she thinks they are. How these people were hurt by her actions is beyond me. And what she thinks she did wrong – believing her mother without doing a full genealogical study – is so minor that it hardly deserves this self-flagellation. But that’s what the woke mob demands, so that what she gives them.

    Then there’s this gem:

    “I am a white person who has incorrectly identified as Native my whole life, based on incomplete information.”

    I keep getting confused by who can identify as what in this ideology. I think the party line is a man identifying as a woman automatically becomes a woman, and vice versa, but a white person identifying as a person of color has committed a hate crime. I’m not sure about a person of color identifying as white.

    The whole politically correct/woke nonsense is exhausting. Unfortunately, the distinction between politically correct woke-ism and mainstream liberalism seems to be disappearing.

    If this was a parody and I was fooled, then well done! But I think it was real.

  4. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    6. May 2023 at 18:48

    Sara, You might wish to read the post before commenting.

    Negation, Good post.

  5. Gravatar of Ken Ken
    7. May 2023 at 03:06

    I really love your posts on monetary policy. No comment on your other posts.

    I wish you’d use tags to make the distinction, so I could maintain my subscription to your feed and filter out posts that I’m not interested in.

    Maybe you could use the tag “poop” for all of the non-monetary posts?

    Until such time, I’ll just visit your blog periodically, so I don’t have so much poop in my inbox.

  6. Gravatar of Humble_economist Humble_economist
    7. May 2023 at 06:23

    I lived in the tenderloin for 2 years and I can attest to poop, needles, and gunshots. Seeing people s. on your way to work is foul. I do like SF, but this is a problem among many others in SF.

  7. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    7. May 2023 at 07:54

    Ken, You do know that this is my bad blog, don’t you?

    Humble, As I said, San Francisco is a great city with some significant problems, especially crime and housing.

    But dirty sidewalks in one small area is not the primary problem.

  8. Gravatar of Alexander Turok Alexander Turok
    7. May 2023 at 09:56

    People of all political persuasions used to complain about all the crap on the street one found in countries like India, which has substantially cleaned up its act over the years. I don’t think having a problem with it is a new thing.

  9. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    7. May 2023 at 12:07

    There’s poop and needles on the ground in the shitty parts (intended) of every large city in the country. This is supposed to be meaningful somehow?

    But yes lately petty crime has definitely gotten worse in SF.

  10. Gravatar of The Grounder The Grounder
    7. May 2023 at 17:57

    “They need to get rid of residential zoning in order to lower prices. And yet conservatives are turning against free markets in housing!”

    If you really want a free market in housing, get rid of the Fair Housing Act. What you shouldn’t do is scream “no coercion!/free market violation!” when people try to sneakily, coercively do what you made illegal to do openly and voluntarily.

    That said, I agree conservatives moving toward NIMBYism would be retarded and self-destructive.

  11. Gravatar of Chris H Chris H
    8. May 2023 at 06:28

    Scott, I think you’ve maybe misunderstood one important point: it’s not the prevalence of *dog* feces on the street that is attracting the commentary in San Francisco.

  12. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. May 2023 at 08:07

    Chris, Different kinds of poop? That’s the issue? Okaaaay . . .

  13. Gravatar of Xu Xu
    8. May 2023 at 08:11


    The city spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a day to shelter the homeless. Businesses are fleeing. Robberies and violent crime have increased.

    I don’t know when you last visited, but I will confirm it’s not a very nice place to live. And I don’t think complaining about the crime makes me a wimp.

    Furthermore, Governments exist to enforce law. If I have to arm myself when I leave home, then the government is not doing their job. If it takes my tax money and cannot provide safe environment, then why I am paying taxes?

  14. Gravatar of Someone Someone
    8. May 2023 at 10:19

    I’ve lived in San Francisco since ~2014.

    – In Nov of 2021 I saw a guy get shot in front of me during a botched robbery.
    – In the children’s area in the park on my route to the gym a kid found a fentanyl tablet and nearly died some months ago.
    – In my neighborhood a retired SF Fire Dept individual was clobbered nearly to death by a homeless man. The homeless man was later released because it turns out the Fire Dept person maced him earlier. They are pressing charges against the SF fire Dept person.
    – Around 2021 four or five houses around my friend’s Twin Peaks place were robbed. Theirs was next. The police told them unless someone gets hurt, they won’t do anything and that they are on their own.

    You should look into the number of closures around market st, including Nordstrom which has half of Westfield Mall, Whole Foods, etc. All of them leaving due to rampant violence and theft. The “most progressive city” recalled their D.A., it’s bad.

    As someone else mentioned, I’d love to subscribe only to the ecom posts. From the “poop” straw man argument, to the culture war tribal confirmation bias (“republican snowflakes”), everything in this post was unnecessary.

  15. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. May 2023 at 10:39

    Everyone, I never cease being amazed that 90% of human beings don’t know how to read. I write a post stating that SF needs to clean up its crime problem, and most commenters complain that I don’t understand that SF has a crime problem. This level of cluelessness is pathetic.

    Several of you say that you like my monetary posts. If your level of reading comprehension is really that bad, I can’t imagine you get much out of them.

    By the way, I visited SF quite recently, and stayed in a hotel in the “bad area”. Trust me, there are many American cities that are far more dangerous.

    SF is a wonderful city; that’s why it’s our most expensive city. People really want to live there. But it should be even better—so clean it up!

  16. Gravatar of Chris H Chris H
    8. May 2023 at 12:26

    Scott, I won’t try to debate San Francisco’s problems, which I am not qualified to opine on, but I wasn’t joking when I said dog poop is not the issue: A quick google will show you dozens of articles that make clear that the problem is human feces on the streets.

    The top result for me is from the Guardian (not exactly a right-wing rag) so don’t think it’s just conservative pundits making this stuff up.

    That said, most of the articles are from 3-4 years ago, so maybe the city has made some progress in cleaning things up since.

  17. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. May 2023 at 14:31

    Chris, Obviously, I know that. My point was that it’s not a big issue. I can’t imagine why people care about such trivial issues.

  18. Gravatar of A A
    8. May 2023 at 20:47

    Its not that people cant read its that they have trouble understanding what your point is. Those same conservatives are also complaining about the crime that you agree is bad. To them the *human* poop and needles are highly visible indicators of that crime and might have a more visceral impact. Not everyone will wade into crime stats, but if i walk on to a poop and needle laden street, my gut tells me crime is bad here. Is my gut wrong? Maybe sometimes, but not here. Does that make me a snowflake? Well my ancestors survived various diseases by learning to stay away from human poop, and i dont mind my evolution kicking in here. And yes, human poop is importantly worse than dog poop epidemiologically.

    Is it intrinsically, on its own bad? Well poop and needle free street > poopy street. Are you actually trying to argue otherwise

  19. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. May 2023 at 08:10

    “Its not that people cant read its that they have trouble understanding what your point is.”

    LOL, they can’t understand my point because they can’t read. Here’s what I said:

    “San Francisco is actually a wonderful city, with two big problems. One is housing. They need to get rid of residential zoning in order to lower prices. And yet conservatives are turning against free markets in housing!

    The other is petty crime. In this case the conservatives are correct. They need to arrest and imprison shoplifters and those crazy people on the sidewalk who repeatedly harass respectable people. Is it still political correct to say that? If not, feel free to cancel me.”

    Is that really so hard to understand? Is “conservatives are correct” about crime just too subtle for the average right winger to comprehend?

    Poop on the sidewalk is poop on the sidewalk. We had that in Madison in the 1960s. Not a big issue. Crime is crime. A big issue in San Francisco, not 1960s Madison. Don’t make it so complicated.

  20. Gravatar of kirk kirk
    10. May 2023 at 15:31

    I think your post was great. I would perhaps have chosen a different word than “petty” to describe the type of crime. I think you are using “petty” in sort of a legal sense – e.g. property crime less than $1,000. You are after all a social scientist. Most of the critical posts are critical because they think you understating the nature of the criminality – i.e. its just petty crime. I suspect they are reading “petty” in its common meaning of “insignificance”. Both readings of the word “petty” are possible meanings.

    But everybody (including yourself based upon your post) recognizes the problems in SF are serious. SF’s population dropped 6.7 % between 7/2020 and 7/2021. (I haven’t seen 2022 0r 2023 number at the census bureau). You don’t lose 6.7% of your population in one year unless you have very serious problems. Horrible tax rates, more horrible zoning laws/regs, and recently a sharp uptick in lawlessness that the governing folks refuse to address in a serious manner. So unserious was the governmental response that the progressive citizenry of SF had to take matters into their own hands and recall their progressive DA for dereliction of duty. Everybody that I know who lives in SF says the crime problem is unbelievable. Everybody I know that lives near SF and used to drive into SF for business or entertainment will no longer leave their vehicle unattended in SF. It’s horrible to see. I have visited SF on business many times, and like you I have found it to be a marvelous city. Lets hope SF self-corrects, but I have my doubts.

  21. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. May 2023 at 15:36

    Kirk, Finally, some constructive criticism. Yes, “petty” is the wrong word, as you say. It does connote “insignificant” to many people. But that’s not how people feel when they are victimized. I agree that the problem of larceny in SF is quite bad.

  22. Gravatar of Tim Tim
    22. May 2023 at 10:27

    As the owner of a dog who loves to eat poop, but especially human poop, I have learned in the most unpleasant way possible that some poop is more disgusting than other poop.

    I thought the issue in SF is that there is supposed to be lots of human poop around.

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