It wasn’t the UAW. It wasn’t teachers unions. It wasn’t private unions, and it wasn’t public sector unions. It wasn’t union’s period.
It wasn’t public education or the “lack” of “school choice.” It wasn’t welfare. It wasn’t public pensions. It wasn’t high taxes. It wasn’t borrowing. It wasn’t spending.
It wasn’t “corruption.” It wasn’t the city council. It wasn’t even Coleman Young or Kwame Kilpatrick. It wasn’t Democrats. It wasn’t liberals.
To be brutally honest, the municipal bankruptcy of Detroit, Michigan, once known as the Paris of the West, had absolutely nothing to do with the “illnesses” that Conservatism Inc. has diagnosed it with.
Insofar as any of the aforementioned policies and circumstances are objectively “bad,” they are merely symptoms of the actual source – a source that Conservatism Inc. will never address in a million years because to do so would force them to stand for something other than the “right” of George Soros to get another tax cut. Not to mention it would cost them their coveted seat at the table of “respectability.” To address the actual cause of the fall of Detroit would result in the end of Conservatism Inc.
So instead of shining a spotlight on the source of Detroit’s failures, a source that the comment sections at Conservatism Inc. publications have encouragingly begun to notice, let’s examine why liberalism is not the source of Detroit’s collapse. Let’s discredit this head-in-the-sand Conservatism Inc. myth once and for all.
There is an urban city that exists in the continental United States. It has a population close to 600,000. Democrats control every single elected seat at both the state and federal level. Not since 1975 has a Republican represented one of this city’s three Congressional districts in Congress. Three different times, the denizens of this city elected a man who was the first openly gay mayor to govern any American city. (He announced he was gay in 2009).
Liberalism: This city is drunk on it. Every other year or something the tree huggers award it the “greenest city in America.” In 2007 it was honored the second greenest city in the world. Coal and oil need not apply. This city loves green more than Michigan State fans. One has to wonder why the EPA doesn’t just operate from there.
Unions are so strong you’d think Jimmy Hoffa’s ghost lives there. Public unions, private unions, the entire damn city is one big Democrat union. It’s got enough unions to make the Soviet Union blush. Hell, the Soviet Union is too purple for this city. But unlike the Soviet Union, this city hates red – red states that is. The communists that Joe McCarthy warned about secretly lived in this city all along.
Public schools? They’re like Sparta for communists. School choice? What do you think this is, a Jesus camp? Silly Republicans! Welfare? Oh yes, there will be handouts. Or as it’s more properly understood, taking care of our own. Public pensions? See welfare. High taxes? Well c’mon, someone’s gotta pay for the welfare and the pensions! (and the public unions too).
Corruption? Oh buddy, we’ve got corruption that makes Kwame look chaste. No, not political corruption. Save that for Chicago. The corruption we’re talking about is sexual corruption – as in, sexual corruption of your mind and your soul. Did you know we have more strip clubs per capita than Las Vegas? Where do you think Bill Clinton spends all his time when he’s not shopping for blue dresses for his wife, AKA, the next U.S. President? (We’d prefer another minority, but you know how it goes).
Oh, and have we mentioned how tolerant we are? Not only did we have the first gay mayor, but back on April 28, 2005 when that fascist black shirted dictator from Texas was illegally occupying the White House (again), we were the only city in America to withdraw from the “Joint Terrorism Task Force.” What the heck is that? According to the wiki, it’s a “partnership between various American law enforcement agencies that is charged with taking action against terrorism.” This might offend Muslims, and it’s not like terrorism is a real threat anyway. (Well, except for White Supremacists, and by golly are there a ton of them once you get more than five miles away from here. It’s scary stuff man).
Leaving this poor attempt at snarkiness aside, the bottom line is that this urban city is super-duper liberal. In fact, it’s more liberal than Detroit from an economic standpoint, a social standpoint, and a cultural standpoint. You’re typical authoritarian reactionary from the South wouldn’t live here for a million dollars. This city is the absolute antithesis of everything Conservatism Inc. claims is noble, right, and true. Free enterprise? The only enterprise this city sees is when it watches Star Trek. Civil society? We don’t privilege heteronormativity in this town you bigoted Bible-thumpers.
The city in question is Portland, Oregon. All specific, non-snarky facts about Portland cited above come from Wikipedia, including this one: It is the third safest city in America according to an October 2009 report by Forbes Magazine. More to the point, it’s as safe and as prosperous as any right-to-work state where “free market capitalism” reigns supreme. As Paul Kersey explained in December 2012:
Odd: Portland is consistently voted as one of the top places to live in America, with a thriving downtown, high rate of entrepreneurial activity, and a great place to raise a family.
Why hasn’t liberalism doomed Portland the way it has – gasp – Detroit?
Public transportation works in Portland; people can walk freely throughout the downtown area, knowing they won’t be mugged; and better yet, property values are high.
At least liberals have answers for the discrepancy between Portland and Detroit. All hogwash answers of course (“white privilege,” “access to jobs,” etc), but answers nonetheless. What does Conservatism Inc. have? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just hollow lunatic rants reminiscent of a group of 7 year olds crossing their arms and huffing, “my club is better than yours! You’re not invited to my birthday party!”
Meanwhile back on Planet Sanity, Kersey diagnosed the actual problem:
And yes: it’s 100 percent a racial thing, though both cities went overwhelmingly for Obama in 2012. Portland because the citizens there like his ideas; Detroit because the citizens there judged him by the color of his skin.
Portland, despite everything Conservatism Inc. would have you believe about Detroit’s collapse, thrives.
On July 22, 2013, Rich Tucker of the Heritage Foundation wrote without any sense of irony: “In order for Detroit to succeed again, however, its leaders must realize why the city has failed.” Yes indeed, but what Conservatism Inc. refuses to realize is that the economy and the culture don’t shape people; people shape their culture and their economy. Conservatism Inc. also refuses to realize that it’s not “ideas” that determine things. It’s flesh and blood people. Then, now, and always.