The leftist paradise of Detroit

I’d told myself that I was going to take a break from posting videos here, as it seems like it’s all I’ve been doing this past week, but a relative sent this video clip to me today and I couldn’t resist sharing it. To be honest, as it came with a note stating – “If you care about your family, community, country and you fellow man please pass this on far and wide” – I felt as though I had to.

We all know that Detroit is failing, right? We’ve all been subjected to the constant stream of ruin porn coming out of the City – images of abandoned buildings, roofs collapsing, filled with drug paraphernalia, or, worse yet, bodies frozen in ice. Well, I guess it was just a matter of time, but it looks like the right wing has finally grabbed a hold of the meme, looking to use it to further their agenda. And that’s what Steven Crowder, a kind of right wing Jon Stewart wannabe, does here. He lays the blame for what’s happened in Detroit squarely on “leftists,” unions and the entitlement-hungry dependent class that they’ve spawned. Suspiciously absent are any mention of white flight, and the subsequent erosion of the City’s tax base, or the actions of the decidedly non-leftist heads of the Big 3. And the message is clear – this is what Obama wants for the entire nation. Don’t believe me? Here’s a quote:

“Detroit has been the perfect laboratory for leftist policies at work for nearly half a century. It’s the perfect vision of the left utopia that (the Obama) administration sees. When you continue to remove free market principles that have made this country great, and you continue to make these state-dependent societies, this is very well what America could look like in a short amount of time.”

Detroit’s got problems. There’s no doubt about it. And I’m sure that a good deal of the blame belongs with Democrats, like Detroit’s former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. And, while I’m generally a fan of the unions, which typically lean left, I agree that they share some blame for the automotive collapse, in that they fought so long and hard against meaningful environmental legislation. But I don’t see this as a right – left issue. And I certainly don’t see Detroit as the model that Obama envisions for the rest of the country. To even suggest as much is ridiculous. What I find most offensive about this piece, however, is the apparent joy with which Crowder shows off the burned-out crack houses of Detroit. I can’t understand how anyone could be so flippant about the tragedy unfolding in Detroit. How someone who calls himself a journalist could say something like, “If you want to kill someone, head on down to Detroit” (where 7 of 10 murders go unsolved), with a laugh, is beyond me.

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  1. Posted January 3, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I saw an article about this douchebag and he specifically blamed teachers’ unions. I am really tired of the union bashing and all of this anger against unions. Can we please be angry about the top CEOs and such who are making six and seven figures? You know that those assholes hear the union bashing and laugh and laugh and laugh all the way to their investment portfolios.

    Now sure, unions may shoulder some blame but I would much rather blame the rich assholes at the top who won’t even consider a .001% reduction of pay. Why? Because unions actually have helped me…I will always be a working person and will never be a CEO or a rich person.

    To be sure, unions have problems like any organization (except the organization that is :)) but personally, here is what unions have done for me–my dad was in a union, made great money, put me through college and law school and helped me buy a house. If he hadn’t worked union, I can promise that these things wouldn’t have happened. Dad has a great retirement and probably makes more in retirement than you and I do working. Speaking of which…my union makes sure that I am paid fairly while I work and get a pension when I retire. In MI, nonunion teachers make about 1/2 what top public school teachers do and they can be fired at any time (like most nonunion folks).

    Personally, the only time I ever was resentful of unions was when I wasn’t in one and was as envious as hell. Just sayin’.

  2. Posted January 3, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    PS: FWIW Mark, I agree that the UAW did fight too hard against environmental legislation. As I said, they ain’t perfect but I can’t blame them as much as this douche does.

  3. Posted January 3, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    I watched this start to finish just the other night. As someone who works in Detroit, it’s not nearly as bad as he makes it out to be. Grabbing a camera and hitting run down buildings isn’t exactly a deep dive report.

    Another issue I have with this: the whole “This is what the liberals want” slant on the whole thing. Certainly Detroit is in trouble – and has received a bunch of government aid over the years – but is there really causality here? Furthermore, does he really think that the President, and other liberals/progressives/socialists over the years wanted Detroit to get into trouble? Is this really what they wanted? You could argue that liberal policies are flawed – but to act like the intended consequence is the ruination of Detroit – is simply throwing stones, not rational argument.

    Finally, can we as a nation disavow ourselves once and for all of the notion that capitalism is what this country was founded on. There are just as many examples of collectivism in the early colonies as there are of full blown capitalism. Certainly the capitalism we have today (which given the government protection of capital stinks more of fascism than capitalism) doesn’t much resemble what was happening during the 17th and 18th century.

  4. Taco Tom
    Posted January 3, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    A rather distasteful individual, trying to make a name for himself with what is rather lazy “reporting”. His anti-black bias is showing, too.
    Detroit is in decline? What about (his form of) journalism?

  5. Peter Larson
    Posted January 3, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    I was at a family reunion today at a church in Adrian and got to read a 10 year old’s assessment of the Obama presidency that sounded like something parroted straight off Glen Beck. While I certainly did not hold back in my views about GWB in the presence of my son, I don’t remember discussing politics with him until he was at least in high school and in a government class of his own.

    I thought the 9.11 truthers were nuts. This anti-leftist swing in the US is just borderline stupid and says more about the failure of government, left and right, to provide education to it’s citizens than absolutely anything else.

  6. Kerri
    Posted January 3, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Er, what about NAFTA and other trade agreements? (Oh right, that was under that “liberal” Bill Clinton. Maybe this guy IS on to something!) Really, I think the free-market policies favored by this ass clown and his friends are what have decimated Detroit and other Rust Belt cities.

  7. EOS
    Posted January 3, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Teacher Patti –

    I’ve no doubt that you would rather blame the rich, asshole CEO’s. But if you want to convince others, don’t you think that you should elaborate on some line of reasoning other than you are currently a union member and will never be a CEO? Shouldn’t you advocate policies that benefit the most people rather than only those where you perceive personal benefit? Hasn’t a law school education equipped you with more substantial reasoning skills?


    Certainly white flight and the erosion of the tax base have both contributed significantly to the demise of Detroit. Do you not believe that the leftist taxation policies of wealth redistribution and the incessant class warfare rhetoric drove them out? I can’t believe that you are trying to make a case for blaming Detroit demise on conservative policies. If you eliminate the possibility for corporations to make a profit, they will either move to an area where they can be profitable, or cease their operation to preserve remaining capital.

    If Obama taxes the “wealthy” exorbitantly, they will a) stop producing and b) move their assets to locations where they are secure. Do you at least agree that each individual or corporation has a personal “tipping point” past which the confiscation of their income would act as a deterrent to future efforts? Would you continue to work as hard as you do if you were allowed to keep only 50% of your income? 40%? 30%? What is your “tipping point”?

    Yes the video is biased in what it shows. Yes there are some areas of Detroit where there are still viable businesses. But there are also many former middle class neighborhoods where as many as 40% of the homes are in as bad a shape as seen on the video. Try volunteering for a day with an agency like Blight Busters, and see what an insurmountable problem it is to just try to clean out and board up abandoned crack houses in a formerly nice neighborhood of Detroit.

    Obama doesn’t want this outcome for the nation any more than Detroit residents wanted this. But it is the inevitable result in the long run of the policies he advocates.

  8. Posted January 4, 2010 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I’m a fan of unions in general, Patti, as I mentioned in the post. I was just saying that his accusation that they fought to keep producing SUVs when reality should have dictated otherwise was legitimate. I certainly don’t think that was a move dictated by “leftism” though.

  9. kjc
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    “Shouldn’t you advocate policies that benefit the most people rather than only those where you perceive personal benefit?”


  10. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I’m sure many big business owners may be dicks, but if they’re that responsible for shit sucking, you’d think the place would improve when they left town. Instead, it goes to shit. Yet more evidence that the possibly dicky business owner does more to improve the general economy than the average worker does. The average worker, while valuable, is more replaceable than the business owner. You can tell by the workers’ quitting all the time and being replaced without fanfare. And if the average worker population is hostile to business owners, the business owners will split town and leave us all to wallow in our own unemployed poopy diapers.

  11. kjc
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of my friend’s dad. He’s always been a business owner cuz he’s never been able to handle working for other people. He’s had one failed business and is starting another failed one now. His wife, a lowly worker/humble employee, supports him.

    Of course I’m not saying that most business owners aren’t geniuses making everything better for the rest of us. Look at the Thompson Block.

  12. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    So? You fail at your shit, you fail at your shit. That doesn’t negate the fact that business owners are, in general, more beneficial to the general economy than workers are. If it weren’t for business owners, workers would have no jobs. How does one or more guys who fail at their business change that? That’s life. Failures should fail.

  13. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    …who does his wife work for?

  14. EOS
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    kjc –

    The majority of new businesses fail. If it were easy, everyone would own their own business and nobody would have to work for someone else. Often, successful business owners have failed multiple times before they finally succeed. The potential for profit is the motivating force that drives many entrepreneurs. If government confiscates those profits for redistribution to others who haven’t put forth the same level of effort or risked their life savings, then they have eliminated the incentive for private business, and destroyed all the jobs associated with that business. If your goal is to penalize business owners, then the result will be fewer employment opportunities for us all.

  15. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    True dat.

  16. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Oh wait, I forgot… any sort of decrepit chaotic environment created by government intervention is de facto libertarianism, a la Somalia, and No Man’s Land in WWI. Therefore, any sort of decrepit chaotic environment created by government intervention is de facto libertarianism, a la Somalia, and No Man’s Land in WWI. So by that airtight reasoning, it’s the free market’s fault.

  17. Ed
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    This is equivalent to those claims that the post Katrina mess in New Orleans was an illustration of Republican policies. In that case, though, it was true.

  18. Ed
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    And, believe me, it wasn’t liberals who tore out the mass transit system in Detroit, starting moving jobs to Mexico, or fought against diversifying our mix of businesses.

  19. Robert
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Anybody else seeing a blip on their gaydar screen?

  20. kingpin
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Unions may have their problems, but they improve the quality of life of the common man. Business makes it all about dollars and “cents”, but unions make things about dollars and “sense”. Trade a few “cents” for some “sense”, and everyone in the deal is still left with “dollars”….

  21. kjc
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Your pedantry aside, I didn’t mention penalizing anyone. Don’t project onto me.

  22. Steph's Dad
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    You cannot watch this without also watching the companion piece by Charlie LeDuff of the Detroit News.

  23. Ricker 76er
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    It’s clear that Crowder grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth and would scarcely know what it’s like to work for a living, which is why he is so good at spewing his psuedo-conservative bullshit. He just has that look about him.

  24. Ted
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    he is like a younger, more annoying John Stossel. I wonder if there are any legitimately funny conservative pundits?

  25. TRD34
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    A “more annoying John Stossel.” Now there’s a phrase I never thought I’d hear.

  26. Robert
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    We Americans don’t need stupid canooks like Steven Crowder coming here to tell us how to run our country. Go back to Montreal where you belong!

    We need tighter security at our northern border to keep assholes like these from coming down and taking our jobs.

  27. Andy C
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I like that he mentions the Detroit community gardens like they’re a bad thing.

  28. Peter Larson
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    My personal favorite is how these supposed “conservative thinkers” so conveniently use other people’s misfortunes to promote their own political causes, while offering not a shred of any constructive ideas to improve anything.

    Who gives a shit what this guy has to say?

  29. Posted January 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Among other things, he’s apparently a commentator for FOX News, Pete, which means that tens of millions of people give a shit what he has to say… That’s the problem.

    And, Robert, according to Wikipedia, he was born in Detroit, but the family moved to Canada at a young age.

    And, yeah, Andy, I loved the look of scorn that crept across his face when he talked of urban farming.

  30. Tim
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    You see this kind of thing happening in every city with leftist tendencies: San Francisco, Seattle – total shitholes; Denver, Portland – make me want to vomit. And I don’t even want to think about places like Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm.

  31. Robert
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Exactly, Mark. America! Love it or leave it. Steven’s parents chose to leave it. They waited until Steven was born though, probably because they knew our hospitals are so much better.

    Crowder is here in the US as our guest. We don’t need foreigners like him coming here and telling us how to run our country. If he wants to produce stupid propaganda films about abandoned cities, he can go to Sault Saint Marie.

    Seriously though, Tim points out the glaringly obvious flaw in Crowder’s idiotic suggestions. Almost all major US cities have been run by “liberals” for most of the past century. Some have flourished and others haven’t.

    Why didn’t Crowder stay in his own country and show us what a horrible job those socialists are doing in places like Toronto and Vancouver?

  32. Frog Bottom
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Not only is he a foreigner. But he’s also a French speaker!

  33. James C. Burtle
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    What a boring conversation. If you live in Detroit, who cares about this fool? If you live elsewhere, who cares what you think of Detroit? If you care about Detroit, then DO something positive IN Detroit. If you want nothing more than to avoid personal suffering of any kind (like Private Persona here), then what does that have to do with Detroit? All I hear this gentleman reporting is, “Look at me! Look at me! (Please don’t hurt me. Please.)” The all too common hyper-amplification of deeply seeded, repulsively basic fear. Fuck that motherfucker. Until he is interested in an actual existence, none of us should have time for him.

  34. Posted January 6, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    In my defense, James, I usually write about good, positive things taking place in the community. Every once in a while, though, I find it good to throw something like this into the mix. There’s nothing like a pompous douchebag every now and then to keep people on their toes. Anger, I think, focuses people… Anyway, thanks for leaving the comment.

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