It was hard to miss the chatter about the Valley’s Affordable Housing Crisis swamping the news feeds on our Devices, which is where we frequently get our news these days, what with coronavirus and all. But when all is said and done, there are only Two Solutions to our affordable housing crisis: (A) building more houses, or (B) making less people.
History and science demonstrate that “A” is actually easier than “B.” Housing simply requires land of sufficient dimension; materials and skills such as cement, plumbing, asphalt shingles, laborers, electricians, carpenters, bankers, real estate brokers, and architects; countless millions to pay for it all; and a majority of voters who support the effort or at least refrain from brandishing firearms at public meetings.
“B” – making less people – is far more challenging because it requires Social Distancing. Of course, Making People requires little or no social distancing at all; in fact, the less, the better. Like coronavirus, Homo Sapiens is programmed to mindlessly multiply rapidly and overwhelm existing resources, especially housing. Our forebearers emerged from the primordial slime eons ago (the exact date is disputed) slippery, wet, and ready to “socialize.”
Still, it wasn’t until around 1700 AD (“CE” on the Atheist calendar) that world population hit a billion. Yet a mere 300 years later it has skyrocketed to nearly 8 billion in spite of continual plagues, wars, and vaping.
In roughly the same amount of time, here in the USA our population has swollen from a few million at The Founding to nearly 340 million today. This, despite the fact that early settlers genocided millions of indigenous residents, and succeeding generations of Americans patriotically throw their offspring into the maw of Endless War abroad while domestically enduring a Torrent of Death from car crashes, smoking, disease, pestilence, opioids, “Don’t worry, it ain’t loaded,” and “Hey! Watch this!”
Preventing population from exceeding housing supply requires Americans to exercise superhuman restraint in the presence of (a) nudity or (b) a chance to make a buck. Experiments at the Hadron Supercollider in Switzerland demonstrate that at such pressure extremes, Social Distancing completely disintegrates.
Thus, population has exploded to remote corners of the globe such as Sonoma Valley, where residents protest, write letters-to-the-editor and march to demand more housing and warn of Imminent Climate Apocalypse, all while pushing burgeoning strollers-full of giggling kids & grandkids.
As a result, increasing our Social Density – not Social Distancing – has become the only way to house the Valley’s growing population while preserving the UGB and the bucolic Valley beloved by all.
As Wikipedia tells us, “Behavioral sink” is a term invented by ethologist John B. Calhoun to describe a collapse in behavior which can result from overcrowding. The term and concept derive from a series of over-population experiments Calhoun conducted on Norway rats between 1958 and 1962. In the experiments, Calhoun and his researchers created a series of “rat utopias” – enclosed spaces in which rats were given unlimited access to food and water, enabling unfettered population growth. Calhoun coined the term “behavioral sink” in his February 1, 1962 report in an article titled. . . . Calhoun’s work became used as an animal model of societal collapse, and his study has become a touchstone of urban sociology and psychology in general.
Fortunately – or perhaps Unfortunately? – Calhoun’s rats knew nothing about coronavirus.