Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Writing on the (Detroit) Wall(s)

Pajama Media's Steven Crowder tours what was once the most prosperous city in America, with the highest median household income in the nation. For the last half-century, the remedy for each failure of the liberal interventionist policy has been a new and larger liberal interventionist policy, and with it the gradual erosion of individual moral and social responsibility -- clients, not citizens, of the government. Detroit is a living -- or not so living -- parable of that catastrophic failure.

REMINDER: The only real progress is moral progress, and all moral progress is accomplished by the free human person making moral decisions and taking personal responsibility for them. Institutions (the family, the church, the state) can either foster this kind of individual moral responsibility or encourage people to believe (falsely) that impersonal institutions have relieved them of this responsibility. It comes down to genuine human dignity or the catastrophe symbolized by Detroit.

I'm in the air on the way to Australia. I'll try to authorize your comments from my iphone if and when I can. Thanks for your patience.


Rick said...

Be safe, fellow iPhone user.
I mean, Unite!

(darn spell checker..)

Be safe, Gil.
Rick F.

Dan Florio said...

It's a sad and moving video but I feel he rather snidely draws conclusions that are not clearly supported. Sweden is also the result of largely leftist govenmental policies, but I've been there and it looks nothing like Detroit. It's a beautiful,clean country with a good standard of living. In fact, DETROIT looks little like the Detroit in the video--it's not a bombed-out ruin, not yet at least.

Politics always seems to be the realm of simplistic conclusions to pre-decided questions.

Unknown said...

Ditto Dan...

The collapse of the auto industry from a time when it dominated the world just might have something to do with it all.

The calculated reallocation of capital that devastates such one shop towns when the funds flow elsewhere is an old story ie. US steel, British coal,US textiles.

Compounded by short sighted management and labor judgements...and there you have it.

The local public sector and community infrastructure that is devatesed in the process is a pathetic collateral casualty and the discarded refuse of this process...with the regrettable impact on communities and individuals.

That's raw capitalism baby.

We caould have a long discussion about how allowing this isn't consistent with the common good and general welfare as percived by traditional Catholic social teaching and sensibilites...but that doesn't seem to interest folks on this blog...sadly.

Chalking this all up to the veniality of local political leaders as the cause is just simple minded nonsense that will never allow us to learn anything.

Gil.. you were much more interesting when sticking to culture and memetic theory rather than billboarding type of stuff on your blog. You admit that you are not up on politics, economic etc...and its really showing.

Sometimes I wonder why I'm still dropping in. Hoping that you'll recover your senses and balance..I guess.

Anonymous said...

The writing is much the same on the walls in New Orleans. Intellectual political arguments about the efficacy of the liberal interventionist policies cease when you live in it and with it in the 'hood. Believe me, as one who lived it in for 8 years, they don't (at least not in the U.S.)

Gordon said...


With all respect, I think you’re comparing apple and oranges.

Sweden’s socialism worked back in the 60‘s and 70‘s, burning off the fat of previous generations, when their income was among the highest in Europe. And, indeed, most of Europe would have had even greater wealth to burn off had they not nearly destroyed each other in two world wars. Sweden was neutral, so never had to rebuild. But inherited wealth only lasts so long.

By the late 80‘s their income was below average and the people felt it. To reboot their economy and validate their managed economy, the central banks pumped up real estate by keeping interest rates artificially low. This, as it later would in America, led to a wealth bubble and then a severe bust. Since then Sweden’s been modestly lowering taxes and privatizing state owned businesses. They’re still left, but trending toward more economic freedom and pluralism.

For countries working off a thousand years of culture, economic stagnation doesn’t produce immediate blight. The art museums and operas houses still stand as they have for generations. In a new city like Detroit, built on the emergence of the automobile, the poverty of what Hayek called the “fatal conceit,” that a small cadre of managers are better able to handle the complexities of life than are individuals and families, shows itself in less than a generation.

When he gets around to doing a funny video comparing Sweden and Detroit, I’m sure Steven Crowder will bring all this up.

Unknown said...


I take it that you musy have found my second post to this thread objectionable and therefore didn't post. Was there a problem?