Christopher Rufo Is An Idiot And If You Take Him Seriously Then You Are Also An Idiot
After being legitimized in a softball interview on KUOW last week, anti-homeless “activist” Christopher Rufo is back on scene with more hard-hitting statistical analysis that proves he isn’t even qualified to teach an elementary school math class. It’s sunny and my kids want to play outside so I don’t have time to refute everything in his ridiculous post, so I’ll just focus on this one funny piece that proves he shouldn’t be taken seriously (you can read the rest of his nonsense over on his facebook page, complete with a comment section full of fawning morons).
In the screenshot above, The Seattle Times establishes that while addiction and mental health are significant issues, the one thing in common between all homelessness people is poverty. This runs contrary to the story Rufo has been trying to push for years, that in fact we don’t need more resources to address homelessness, we just need to re-establish the bonds between families, churches, and communities (Rufo is a fellow at Discovery Institute, a creationist think-tank, in case you’re curious where this all stems from). So in an attempt to salvage his absurd claims, he decides to apply his amazing skills as a statistical analyst and prove to us once and for all that we can solve the homelessness crisis without addressing poverty.
He starts off strong but it devolves pretty rapidly. First he claims that over a million people in King County earn less than the median income. This is TRUE because there are 2.18 million people in King County, and “median” literally means that half the people earn below that number and half the people make above that number. The only problem is that it doesn’t tell us anything more than the population of King County, not a single thing about poverty or anything else. If everyone in King County was a millionaire, there would still be over a million people earning below the median income. If everyone in King County lived in deep poverty, over a million people would still earn less than the median income. Because that is the definition of “median.” None of the subsequent conclusions he draws from this has any relevance whatsoever.
That Rufo doesn’t understand this very basic definition, or its inadequacy here in explaining the link between poverty and homelessness, is disqualifying and shows not just that Rufo shouldn’t be taken seriously, but that he shouldn’t be taking part in the conversation at all. This is a pattern for Rufo, who trotted out similarly ridiculous statistics on KUOW last week without being challenged, and who published a faux-academic paper on homelessness that is laughably sourced from start to finish. In short, Christopher Rufo is an idiot and if you take him seriously then you are also an idiot.