Friday, April 25, 2014

The Detroit News goes off the deep end, and the Socialists miss the point

The Detroit News is going to get a reputation for being on the loonier side of conservative after they published this op-ed written by a random guy in Mt. Pleasant. Emboldened by the unscrupulous ravings of Keith Crain, he jumps on the vaguely racist anti-historical down-with-Detroit bandwagon.

First, let me reiterate my tireless point that suggesting apocalyptic, improbable schemes for various levels of capitalistic Detroit takeover is not useful in any way. It only creates more division, fanaticism, and distrust, and creates roadblocks for people who try to propose real solutions. The Detroit News has published a poorly-thought-out, speculative idealogue's rant that only sets us back as a region.

Ahh Detroit, the intellectual playground of anti-government Michiganders

That said, I'm not impressed with the Socialists' rebuttal, or with the fact that only the Socialists have given a rebuttal. They present it as part of the epic battle between fascism and democracy, which I'm not going to argue against. But to me the real problem is the op-ed's egregious misrepresentation of history. Suggesting that Detroit's struggles are solely the result of incompetent leadership is victim-blaming at its finest. Detroit's struggles come from (among a myriad other complicated factors) decades of institutional racism, disinvestment, inequitable infrastructure, and federally subsidized flight and sprawl. No matter that not every leader of Detroit has been stellar, it's just a drop in the bucket among all the anti-urban policies that have hit Detroit hard.

Luckily, the author makes my point for me. He states that getting Duggan in office won't change Detroit, undermining his position that radical changes in leadership will solve the problem. I agree with him here. No one messianic mayor is going to bring the city back. This requires regional, structural changes that we will be working towards for a long time.

To Mr. Lennox and the Detroit News - and the Socialists, for that matter: please get your hands on a copy of The Origins of the Urban Crisis. You'll learn a lot.

Urban crisis.gif
For real, it's a good book.

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