Detroit

As anyone knows who reads SBPDL, or other chronicles of decaying America, Detroit is a disaster zone: depopulated, bankrupt, crime-infested, and unable to pay for street lighting. The tax-receiving end of the American populace took over the city’s government after the riots of 1967, and succeeded in driving out the tax-paying portion in the space of fifty years. Unfortunately for the honesty of public discourse, the tax-receiving portion is preponderately black and the tax-paying portion mostly white. The city has gone from 2% black in 1912 to 89% black in 2012.

Interestingly, cetain  bloggers in the US, such as Paul Kersey, are starting to examine the racial aspect of US urban decay from a frankly racial point of view. Kersey is no longer pretending, for the sake of respectability and acceptability, that urban decay and black underpreformance (what a euphemism) is about lack of opportunity, about something that can be fixed with pre-kindergarten programs or higher teacher salaries. The same policies of high urban spending, he says, work in places that are white and do not work in places that are black. Kersey confronts African American dysfunctionality in frankly racial terms. I do not say biological; I say racial. You and I may not approve of such views, and we can always point to Barbados and other well-run Caribbean nations as living proof that the issue is not biological, but something else. I suspect that Paul Kersey of SBPDL would be quite happy with any valid explanation of this dysfunctionality which was not biological in origin. Who would not be? But, as Kersey writes:

“The decline of Detroit (and America’s major cities such as Baltimore, Milwaukee, Memphis, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Cleveland, Newark, New Orleans, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chicago, etc.) is completely racial in nature. Michael Walsh of National Review laments that “some day, we’ll all live in Detroit” without mentioning the fact that Detroit’s lily-white suburbs–where the White descendants of the War of Detroit (the 1967 Black riot) retreated to–are perhaps the nicest in America.

“Conservatives must understand that is the Black residents of Detroit who have helped depreciate what was once some of the highest property value in the country to the majority of zip codes in America with the lowest property value.

“The Black press seems to understand understands this: The Atlanta Post published a story in 2010 stating that to Abandon Detroit = Abandoning Black America; Detroit post-1967 is a direct representation of Black America.”

And so on.

 The ban on any public discussion of race in realistic terms is absolute. At a small conference last week I listened to a well-educated American black technologist describe the mess that Detroit has become. Every fact he related was true, but the cause of the disaster was assumed to lie elsewhere than in the city’s remaining residents. No one dared to say to him, even in the most roundabout terms, in that nicest of liberal company, that maybe the African American population of Detroit might have had a role, however small, in the city’s decay and imminent collapse. That would have been a social faux-pas that even I had no taste for. I wonder how many of the good liberals in that room were thinking the same as I was?

As Solzhenitsyn pointed out about the Soviet regime, the system would collapse in a day if everyone just spoke the truth. In our system it would take years, because there is a semblance of free discussion. But the system built upon the lie would collapse here too, and the ban on racial explanations of systemic breakdown will collapse anyway. In a sense, it already has.

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