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It’s OK For People To Have Freedom of Association with Housing
Yes, I mean HOAs
I learned last week that the US constitution doesn’t actually guarantee Freedom of Association. That was interpolated by later Supreme Court rulings. Nonetheless, I think Freedom of Association is generally good, and should be protected within reasonable bounds. IE if I don’t want to go to church, I shouldn’t be forced to. If I want to hang out with other emos and goths and play gloomy music, I shouldn’t be prevented from doing so.
And importantly, if me and some moody goths want to purchase some cheap land, build a community of aesthetically pleasing buildings, and share our lives in a goth commune, I don’t see why we shouldn’t be allowed to do so. If we all agree to keep to some rules about no playing reggae-tone loud enough to be heard outside the house, and no inviting of fundamentalist evangelicals into our community, I think that is a net good as well.
Allowing people some measure of control over what their community looks like is a positive thing for society. It gives people the ability to live in the way that maximizes their life satisfaction and their ability to thrive and flourish. It gives people the option to maintain proximity to a Dunbar Sphere group that is meaningful to them. Even the simple hedonistic gains from living in an area that one clicks with, rather than one which feels hostile or uncaring, are a large net gain in utility. Having many diverse communities that cater to many types of people, and allowing humans to join the community that most fits them, is a great thing.
The biggest obstacle to this sort of thing is that there simply isn’t enough housing anywhere in the US, so people buy wherever a space is available, regardless of how it may fit them. They often end up chafing under rules or aesthetics that are detrimental to them, rather than nourishing. This should be fixed by making lots more housing, which is a massive separate problem. My contention is that the “fix” of making it impossible to have community-imposed restrictions in a community is drastically net-negative. It has the effect of destroying communities entirely by making them impossible to create and maintain, and quality of life is degraded for everyone. Fix the real problem - housing. Don’t destroy good things as a shitty hack that doesn’t work anyway.
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