Saturday, July 20, 2013

Citizens Of Detroit As House Pets Or Peasants

The smaller of the Catican Guards, Ellie, is a nine-pound, chihuahua-cocker mix. She is one of the sweetest dogs ever. On occasion, she can also be timid. While she doesn't mind mixing it up with friends' dogs that are ten times her size, she doesn't like going out into the dark alone and she's a little bit scared of the dogs next door, who are psychotic*. When she has to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, if she can't wake us up, she sometimes goes on the carpet downstairs. We show her we're disappointed, but we understand why she's doing it and don't punish her severely.

Ellie, awaiting a glass of Deaver Zinfandel.
Which brings me to Detroit.

Both Charlie LeDuff and Steve Rattner have the little dog attitude towards the residents of Detroit. Here's what Steve has to say about them, echoing a passage in Charlie's Detroit: An American Autopsy.
No one likes bailouts or the prospect of rewarding Detroit’s historic fiscal mismanagement. But apart from voting in elections, the 700,000 remaining residents of the Motor City are no more responsible for Detroit’s problems than were the victims of Hurricane Sandy for theirs
That's simply untrue. First, from the destructive side, the citizens of Detroit are the ones burning their city and shooting, beating and raping each other. No one is deliberately going into Detroit to wreak havoc on these people. They're doing it to themselves.

Second, think of it from the constructive side. To say that the citizens of Detroit aren't responsible for the condition of their city is to ignore the construction of the city in the first place. Did someone from outside Detroit come in, build the city for these people and then leave? How do cities and businesses start and then grow?

It's like the people of Detroit are house pets, of whom nothing can be expected. They can't be expected to not hurt each other, to not burn their own city, or to elect anything other than grievance-mongers and gangsters who then loot them. Dig this scene from the Detroit city council, well-documented in the Charlie's book.

Now go back 100 years and think of the people of 1913. They're the ones who built the city. To Charlie and Steve, those people are like aliens from another planet. It's inconceivable that we would expect the people of 2013 to be able to do the same thing, despite the wildly disparate resources between the two eras.

If that's the way we're going to view the people of Detroit and other such places, then we're implicitly creating an American aristocracy. The people of Detroit are the commoners and Ivy Leaguers, I suppose, would be royalty. One could hardly expect the common rabble to be able to conduct themselves in a civilized manner or provide for their own welfare. They clearly need those of royal blood to watch over them.

House pets or peasants, do you want to be paying to feed them and clean up after them? Do you really think they need that?

* - The dogs next door are a pair of 15-20# lunatics who never get walked. In essence, they've been given a life sentence in their yard without the possibility of parole. Just like prisoners in the same situation, they've dispensed with civilized behavior and have become violent psychotics, rushing the fence at the slightest noise from out side.

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