I'm not a "real" libertarian; I am neither a child nor a sociopath.
> If we want a true free market, all land should belong to the commons, and we have a free market of long term leases. The proceeds go to the community pot (e.g. pay for government services, or checks sent to every person). Gentrification thus costs the gentrifiers and pays those who lose out
I'm fine with that. Seriously. I'd even send checks to the poor bastards in Somolia. I mean it's a shitty world where I make a lifetime of money every month because I was born white, male, American, and am autistically brilliant at telling comptuers what to do, while other people die of malnutrion.
What I have a MAJOR problem with, is people who rent in San Francisco, and thus insulated themselves from real-estate downside risks, but now that upside risks are impacting them, want bailouts. "But I'm special, I live in San Francisco, I'm a unique snowflake that deserves to pay only $600/mo for a $2,600/mo apartment because eveyone else is so rich and I'm so poor and lattes are so expensive!"
(And yes, I do donate to charity, and I don't write that money off on my taxes, as I don' think that charity should displace the obligation of a government toward its citizens)
But you're being too dismissive of how people displaced by gentrification feel. It feels rather arbitrary (It's not like the free market is pricing them out because someone else can pay more because they can make more optimal use of that particular land), and while they are not "the poor bastards in Somalia", you're still on one end of the spectrum and they are a little closer to the Somalis.
On the other hand, if it's privilege bratty hipsters that are complaining about being pushed out of the Mission, I'm totally with you.
I live in New York now, and it's extremely obvious that gentrification isn't some color and privilege-blind blossoming of wealth that expands outward engulfing everyone in its path with prosperity. There's little engulfing. It's more of a bubble with high surface tension pushing out. The inside of the bubble is white, and the outside is black.
The crux of the issue is that it resulted in a less healthy/hungry city because it made it that much harder for someone to come to SF, find a place to rent, and then work at whatever startup idea they wanted.
In the long run, its just a sign that a particular city/era's time has come/gone, and should be lauded.
The opportunity to start a new network elsewhere and build a fresh system to improve on the old is what I can see here.