The Parasite Outgrows Its Host

Mark Steyn on Detroit, which is scrounging around for assets to liquidate:

What else is left to sell? Windsor has already offered to buy Detroit’s half of the Detroit/Windsor tunnel, perhaps to wall it up. With bankruptcy temporarily struck down, we’re told that “innovation hubs” and “enterprise zones” are the answer. Seriously?

In my book “After America,” I observe that the physical decay of Detroit — the vacant and derelict lots for block after block after block — is nothing compared with the decay of the city’s human capital. Forty-seven percent of adults are functionally illiterate, about the same rate as the Central African Republic, which at least has the excuse that it was ruled in the ’70s by a cannibal emperor.

Why would any innovator open a business in a Detroit “innovation hub”? Whom would you employ? The illiterates include a recent school board president, Otis Mathis, which doesn’t bode well for the workforce a decade hence.

One has to conclude that Detroit’s Democratic Party makes a far more comprehensive wrecking crew than Emperor Bokassa ever did. No bombs, no invasions, no civil war, just liberal politics day in, day out.

Americans sigh and say, “Oh, well, Detroit’s an outlier.” It’s an outlier only in the sense that it happened here first.

Read the rest here.

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  1. the one eyed man says

    It didn’t happen in Detroit first. It New York City in 1976.

    Posted July 20, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Right, because who could forget all those abandoned skyscrapers in Midtown, and that 47% illiteracy rate?

    Yep, Detroit’s going to come roaring right back. Just you wait.

    Posted July 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
  3. the one eyed man says

    The common factor is insolvency – New York could only pay its bills because it was bailed out with state and federal money.

    There may not have been empty skyscrapers, but there was widespread crime, pervasive police corruption, Son of Sam, a broken subway system, graffiti everywhere, neighborhoods getting looted during the blackout, and so forth. (And, of course, the Mets. Always the Mets.) There were plenty of doomsayers who predicted that New York was in a process of irreversible decline.

    The two situations are not identical, but they are analogous. As Mark Twain said: history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.

    An excellent example of the fatuity of extrapolating from the present and the general uselessness of doomsaying can be seen here:

    Posted July 20, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Hmmm. If extrapolating from the present is so fatuous, why are you always telling us how great things are going to be?

    I’m going to go ahead and extrapolate: Things are not going to get better in Detroit anytime soon. People were willing to bet on New York — often ranked the world’s #1 city — but they know that bailing out Detroit will just be sluicing good money after bad.

    Posted July 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink
  5. the one eyed man says

    I don’t know that things will ever reach Tony the Tiger levels of greatness, but over the arc of history things tend to get better. You can see that in declining levels of poverty and starvation, as well as increasing levels of literacy, education, longevity, and the number of countries with democratic systems. You can see it in the (relative) peace the world has enjoyed: it’s been quite some time since we faced an existential threat from a Hitler or Stalin. You can also see it in the piece from the Economist: those who predicted a dystopian, Clockwork Orange future of feral youth and terrified citizens were all wrong. This is not because people are better now than they were then, but because societies, like any organism, changed and adapted.

    Or it could be because I am a Democrat.

    An eighty year old couple gets married. On their wedding night, the blushing bride asks her husband to “be gentle with me. I’ve only had sex three times in my life.”

    The man is flabbergasted. “But you’ve had three husbands!” he ejaculates.

    She explains: “The first husband was gay. The second had a heart attack on our wedding night. I was married to the third one for twenty years, but he was a Democrat.”

    “What does being a Democrat have to do with anything?”

    “Well, every night he would sit me on the bed and tell me how great sex was going to be.”

    Posted July 21, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Over the arc of history, civilizations rise and fall.

    Posted July 21, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  7. “The man is flabbergasted. ‘But you’ve had three husbands!’ he ejaculates.”

    That was premature.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted July 21, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink