Thomas Sowell

 Much of this exclusionary agenda is pushed by people who inherited great wealth and are using it to buy a sense of importance as deep thinkers and moral leaders protecting the environment. The foundations and movements they spearhead are driving working people out of areas dominated by limousine liberals, who are constantly proclaiming their concern for the poor, the children and minorities.

 Meanwhile the poor, the children, and minorities are being increasingly forced out of the vast area of the San Francisco peninsula by astronomical housing prices and are moving out into California's interior valleys. But they are not safe there either.

 The same wealthy busybodies who have made it an ordeal for less affluent people to try to live on the San Francisco peninsula are now pursuing them out into the interior valleys, where the environmentalist foundations and movements are trying to get the same housing restrictions imposed.

 This is not sadism -- at least not in intent. These are green activists buying an artificial significance for themselves that they would never have had as mere inheritors of fortunes earned by others.

 This is ultimately not about the environment but about egos. As T.S. Eliot said, more than fifty years ago: "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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