We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Very good essay on the fate of Detroit - and similar cities - by Wretchard: The Field of Dreams. A quote:
Mayor Bing’s plan to build developments recalls nothing so much as the South Seas cargo cults who believed all that was necessary to make the skies rain with goodies was to build a dirt airstrip and palm-leaf control tower to attract resupply flights from somewhere. “If you build it, they will come”.
Who “they” is remains unclear. But they are out there.
As Glenn Reynolds said (who he quotes):
The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.
Change rarely comes from the outside, in. Recall "urban renewal." Now, those brownstone "slums" that didn't get torn down go for millions in New York, while the "modern" and "dignified" public housing projects are nightmares, socio-cultural wastelands which even cops are reluctant to enter.
Last year I watched a meeting that occurred within detroit. It involved a panel of politicians and an audience of taxpayers. Overwhelming majority were black. When the politicians had presented their ideas, a white taxpayer raised their hand, was recognized and stood to suggest some remedies. The predominantly black audience, in loud voices, told the taxpayer he was white and had nothing to say about how that city was run.
Recently, here in a part of Boston, the exact same thing happened.
You would think that if the system is failing, listening to new ideas would be a good thing. Not so in these cases.
MikeNC, you are correct. Most programs are to change the slum environment or relive the effects of slums but not to change the cause of slums which is "thinking poor". It is too difficult to try and change people's thinking and attitudes. (from occasional stories on this website by counseling professionals) The success rate is low and not visable. Besides the changed people tend to leave and move to associate with other like minded people.
Rebuilding the slum environment is quick, visable, and offers a change and chance to everybody to change themselves. This is predicated on the assumption that everybody has middle class values inside them just waiting the chance to bust out. Our revitalization programs have spent Billions betting on this assumption. Blick
South Sea Cargo Cult = John Frum Cult, as in "John from where in America?" which is what the natives of Vanuatu were supposed to have asked American servicemen in WWII. But maybe you know that story. Anyway, I'll be checking it out for myself next year as I've signed up for a solar eclipse cruise that will be making a stopover there.
I saw the recent photo essay on the abandoned buildings of Detroit. My urge to round up the neighbors with brooms, dustpans and necessary tools was powerful. Beautiful buildings, abandoned, empty, and from the photographs still in good shape. So unutterably sad.
Are they simply waiting for someone to buy them, or waiting only for someone to tear them down?