Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Detroit Knows a Thing or Two About Abandonment

President Obama is visiting the Detroit area today. Not the city proper, but the “blue dog” environs of Macomb county east and north of the city. There are – or more accurately, were - a lot of auto workers living in this area. Now there are a lot of unemployed auto workers. I’m sure the President has already begun campaigning for 2012. In fact he hasn’t stopped campaigning since he won the election, except for date nights.

He’ll need some face time here, because Michigan might not be a slam dunk for him next time around. In these parts he’s as likely to be perceived as the Autos executioner as their savior.  And the whole state has been in a recessionary mode for 4 years, the result of a decline in businesses and increasing taxes: a death spiral for any economy. Few states with a misery index plumbing the depths of Michigan’s  choose to re-elect the incumbents.  The Democrats will of course carry the city of Detroit – although at its current rate of atrophy that may not mean much in vote count. Unless ACORN gets busy; we do still have lots of drug addicts and dead people.

We heard that Obama won’t be conducting a town meeting in Macomb after all. He’s probably exhausted from stumping across Europe and Africa. That’s too bad, because if he weren’t so weary, maybe he would have time to take a brief tour of the city his party created: The city of abandoned homes.   This is a photo exhibit put together by Kevin Baughman, a native Detroit photographer who, not surprisingly, doesn’t live here any more.

If you’ve never lived here, or if you’ve only been here after Detroit disintegrated you might be able to click through the gallery without a catch in the back of your throat. But if you remember Detroit when it was a beautiful, strong, proud homage to man’s better instincts, you will cringe and wonder how this could happen in America.

Detroit was destroyed not- as many would have you believe - by racism, apathy and neglect: but by good intentions. Social engineering put in play over 40 years has undermined the black family structure by attempting to “help” them with welfare. it has lowered academic expectations in an attempt to show minority children that they could “succeed” academically. It established set-aside programs for minority owned businesses so they wouldn’t have to learn how to compete on their own merits, or even - under the oversight of some of your great mayors – learn the basics of their business, as they were sham “owners”.

Yet all these  initiatives were implemented with the best intentions. Progressives haven’t yet learned the law of unintended consequences. The Civil Rights movement as conceived by the Reverend Martin Luther King was a glorious move forward in the history of this country. But MLK spoke of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, of personal responsibility,  of character, of color blindness.

When he spoke of righting the wrongs of the past, he didn’t mean by creating generations of single mothers dependent on the government. When he spoke of equal rights for public education, he didn’t mean a dumbed down education system with a  high school graduation rate of 25%, in a good year. And when he spoke of equal opportunities he didn’t mean racial preferences (Although you will find those that argue he did. Go to the original source and draw your own conclusion.)

As I wrote in a short history of Detroit,  the social engineering  that emerged from hard left policies “creates a perpetual underclass that can be manipulated by arrogant politicians. If you add corruption to the mix it guarantees the demise of the society.”

Look again at a few of Detroit's abandoned houses. Don’t be too disturbed by them; there are thousands  more just like them.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a story about what this societal entropy means on a purely human level. Please come back to read the story of Marabel Chanin. If you can bear it.