Posted by
Jim Goad
• 07.22.13 09:00 am

Detroit, a city once known as “The Paris of the West” and “The Arsenal of Democracy,” has fallen and it can’t get up.

In 1960 it boasted the nation’s highest per-capita income; now it has the highest quotient of low-income residents of any large American city.

Last Thursday in federal court, the city filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in American history, with unfunded debts estimated at around $18 billion. On Friday a Michigan county judge ruled against the filing, claiming it violated the state constitution and was “not honoring” President Obama, who during the last election cycle boasted that he “refused to let Detroit go bankrupt.”

The urban leper colony known as Detroit is a living/dying metaphor of American municipal decay. In 1950, it hosted nearly two million residents; now it can barely cling to 700,000. And one poll showed that of the remaining residents, forty percent claim they plan to flee the city within the next five years. Nearly half of Detroit’s street lights are broken, average police response time is about an hour, and it is currently ranked as America’s second most dangerous city. And modern Detroit is not exactly teeming with what a sane person would call high-quality human capital.

So what happened? What turned Detroit into “Detroilet”? What enabled this once-mighty metropolis to pluck defeat from the snatch of victory?

MSNBC’s Liberal Denial Machine is blaming Republicans for the city’s downfall, despite the fact that Detroit hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1962 and there has been only one Republican on the Detroit City Council during the last four decades. Still, despite such uncomfortable facts, Melissa Harris-Perry blamed the city’s woes on small government and “what Republicans would impose on us.” The jowly sack of flatulence known as Ed Schultz blamed Detroit’s decline on “a lot of Republican policies.”

Interesting theories. Absolutely implausible and objectively insane, yet…interesting., which has fallen off the deep end of the progressive tugboat into a bottomless ocean of cognitive dissonance, published an article initially called “White People Killed Detroit” that was later amended to “Who Killed Detroit?” That old bugaboo known as “white flight,” which involved Caucasians fleeing a once-thriving city in the wake of vicious riots, escalating crime, and felonious black-nationalist mayors, was pinned on white bigotry rather than black behavior. The fact that the Detroit metropolitan area now resembles a whitebread donut with a solid-chocolate filling was blamed on the whites that left rather than the blacks that stayed. The uncomfortable fact that the white suburban areas began to prosper while the black urban core started to rot was blamed, oh, but of course, on white people. Progressive philosophers urged that the suburban areas should be forced to merge with urban Detroit in order to halt the city’s seemingly insoluble downward spiral.



  1. mraaronstanden says:

    Would you not accept Bermuda as a “majority-black municipality or nation on Earth that is prosperous”?

  2. Jim Goad says:

    ^^^ Some mitigating factors there:
    1) Population is only 65,000.
    2) It’s a black majority, but at 54%, not exactly an overwhelming one.
    3) Lots of foreign ownership.
    4) Depends almost entirely on tourism.
    But yeah, it’s prosperous.

  3. mraaronstanden says:

    Not to be too much of a pedant, it’s just something that really struck me while I was there a couple of years ago.

  4. Jim Goad says:

    Another factor to consider is that it’s a territory of the UK. Then again, so is Jamaica. It’d be interesting to study why there’s such, eh, “disparate impact.”

  5. Tarek says:

    British sensibilities mustn’t be underestimated. In Barbados, women can’t show skin in their passport photos (no strapless dresses). Not sure if being a Bangkok for old white ladies is a bad thing or not. Maybe it’s ideal for a Negro island? Anyway, pretty sure they compete with Bermuda for top spot. Retaining what they’ve been taught, limiting their numbers, and keeping their mono-economy in good shape, is probably the best recipe for lapsing at the slowest possible rate.

  6. Raymi says:

    Poor Detroit, literally.

  7. Ecgtheow says:

    I remember a conversation held between me and a college friend who was born in Nigeria. I’ve always been able to speak freely with him. I was of the opinion that Africans are seemingly more productive and brighter than their American counterparts (my friend was an MIS, Mathematics major with a minor in English). His response was, “Resistance.” Resistance to what? “To anything whites expect. No matter what.” My inference was at the expense of education and civility. He of course said that was missing the point, as many still feel like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was last week, and 1865 was last month. But the question is simple. Do you want to be free? The world is imperfect for everyone. How long can you continue to make excuses? Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, for fuck’s sake. And like Gavin said, America didn’t invent slavery. We ended it.

  8. tommy gun says:

    Barbados is over 90% black and relatively prosperous. It is also an independent state. As a non-statistical anecdote, I have actually been there, and, felt safe, even in poorer lower class areas. There just didn’t seem to be the culture of violence and seething hatred and resentment there that, for example, North Philadelphia oozes. Personally, I don’t think spending a lot of time on pseudo-science about alleged black inferiority is that fruitful. From a source / causation perspective the culture of victim hood is the foremost offender. People, of any race, that wallow in the supposed injustices they have endured, never advance, never invent, never prosper. And boy, from what I have read, has there been some wallowing in misery among the black population of Detroit with predictably devastating consequences for economic productivity.

  9. tommy gun says:

    So, um, to be more succinct, my counter-example is Barbados. Discuss.

  10. Jim Goad says:

    Barbados: 80% black, only a third of Detroit’s population, per-capita income of $16K yearly (roughly the same as Detroit’s), high level of foreign ownership, and highly dependent on tourism.
    Oh, you mean unscientific and illogical absurdities such as “All men are created equal”…or maybe “Evolution is real, but we all reached the finish line together”?
    So far all you can come up with are two tiny tourist islands with a combined population of about a third of a million? The black worldwide population is estimated to be around 840 million. So that covers .00041% of the worldwide black population, with mitigating circumstances such as foreign ownership and tourist-based economies. Not very convincing, guys. One might even call it ‘pseudo-math” or “pseudo-argumentation.”

  11. tommy gun says:

    Botswana then. Thought doesn’t have a lot of people, granted.

    “A mid-sized country of just over two million people, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Botswana was one of the poorest countries in Africa when it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, with a GDP per capita of about US$70. Botswana has since transformed itself, becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in the world to a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about $14,000,[1] and a high gross national income, possibly the fourth-largest in Africa, giving the country a modest standard of living.[6] The country also has a strong tradition as a representative democracy.”

  12. Jim Goad says:

    Botswana: Life expectancy of 53 years (nearly 20 years lower than Detroit’s), one-quarter of adults HIV+, lower per-capita income than Detroit.

  13. tommy gun says:

    Russia is a self-destructive basket case shit hole full to the brim of the whitest of white people.

  14. Jim Goad says:

    And yet Russia is a global superpower, unlike any sub-Saharan country or majority-black country on Earth. And they managed it without enslaving blacks.
    I’ve never said genetics are everything, either. Culture and system of government are also factors. But the statistical evidence strongly suggests that genetics play a part. Otherwise, one risks being called a Pattern Denier.
    Also—I wish it was easier to find a country’s mean income rather than per-capita income, because that gives you a better sense of how the average person is doing. A few billionaires can throw off the whole per-capita curve.

  15. Apalled says:

    Jim, do you realize you’re breaking the biggest taboo of your culture? What are you trying to accomplish here?

  16. Food Stampz says:

    Shout out 2 muh Double K nigga Kwame Kilpatrick! You innosent dawg!

  17. sbl says:

    Did pinky ghostwrite this one?

  18. Tarek says:

    Crime seems to be an area where blacks have managed some sort of prosperity. But their enterprises have a very limited level of sophistication relative to other groups. Is racism holding them back in the black market too?

  19. Wrong says:

    Botswana has lots and lots of rape

    Police reveal shocking rape statistics in Botswana

    Statistics show that an average of five women are raped every day in Botswana.
    The Public Relations Officer of the Botswana Police Service (BPS), Assistant Commissioner Christopher Mbulawa, said that “33 women are raped weekly throughout the country”.

  20. Wrong says:

    Some “progressives” have tried to tell me this was all a bunch of “pseudo-science”, but they could never actually explain in detail why they believed it was “pseudo-science”. They just kept asking me if I was a scientist, or if I had a degree in genetics, and they told me to check my 2-repeat allele and 3-repeat allele privilege.

    Exploring the association between the 2-repeat allele of the MAOA gene promoter polymorphism and psychopathic personality traits, arrests, incarceration, and lifetime antisocial behavior

    A line of research has revealed that a polymorphism in the promoter region of the MAOA gene is related to antisocial phenotypes. Most of these studies examine the effects of low MAOA activity alleles (2-repeat and 3-repeat alleles) against the effects of high MAOA activity alleles (3.5-repeat, 4-repeat, and sometimes 5-repeat alleles), with research indicating that the low MAOA activity alleles confer an increased risk to antisocial phenotypes. The current study examined whether the 2-repeat allele, which has been shown to be functionally different from the 3-repeat allele, was associated with a range of antisocial phenotypes in a sample of males drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Analyses revealed that African-American males who carried the 2-repeat allele were, in comparison with other African-American male genotypes, significantly more likely to be arrested and incarcerated. Additional analyses revealed that African-American male carriers of the 2-repeat allele scored significantly higher on an antisocial phenotype index and on measures assessing involvement in violent behaviors over the life course. There was not any association between the 2-repeat allele and a continuously measured psychopathic personality traits scale. The effects of the 2-repeat allele could not be examined in Caucasian males because only 0.1% carried it.

    ► We examine the effect of the 2R allele of MAOA on a range of antisocial outcomes. ► The 2R was related to arrest, incarceration, and lifetime antisocial behavior. ► These associations were only observable for African-American males. ► Only 0.1% of Caucasian males carried the 2-repeat allele.


    Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association

    02-March-2007, Vol 120 No 1250

    Monoamine oxidase, addiction, and the “warrior” gene hypothesis

    The monoamine oxidase gene and behavioural traits

    Monoamine oxidases (MAOs) are enzymes responsible for breaking down the neurotransmitters—serotonin, dopamine, and adrenalin—and are therefore capable of affecting mood. Indeed, MAO inhibitors (e.g. moclobemide) can effectively treat symptoms of depression and tobacco dependence. The activity of MAO enzymes can vary among individuals and is influenced by inherited genetic factors. Understanding the genetic variability of MAO activity and the linkage to drug response traits should assist in the design of more effective treatment options for certain clinical disorders.

    The MAO genes are located on the X chromosome, thus males inherit only a single maternal copy. In 1997, Sabol et al reported that the MAO-A subtype contains a 30bp repeat polymorphism (MAO-A30bp-rpt) that is associated with transcriptional regulation (i.e. gene function). Hundreds of epidemiological studies of the MAO-A30bp-rpt variant have since been conducted and associations reported with psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety, and addiction (e.g. tobacco dependence and alcoholism). Studies have also implicated the 3-repeat allele of MAO-A30bp-rpt, postulated to correspond to lower MAO-A activity and higher dopamine levels, with risk-taking and aggressive behaviour traits (see Merriman and Cameron’s article—Risk-taking: behind the warrior gene story— ). For the latter reason, Gibbons (2004) dubbed it a “warrior” gene.”

    Ethnic differences in MAO-A allele frequencies

    MAO-A30bp-rpt allele frequencies appear to vary substantially between different worldwide ethnic groups (Table 1)

    Table 1 [excerpt]. Estimates of MAO-A30bp-rpt (3-repeat) allele frequencies among ethnic groups
    Ethnic Group 3-repeat Allele frequency (%)
    Caucasian (males) 34%
    African (male + female) 59%


    Boys with ‘warrior gene’ likely to join gangs

    Aggressive trait also linked to violence, weapon use, new study finds

    Boys who have a so-called “warrior gene” are more likely to join gangs and also more likely to be among the most violent members and to use weapons, a new study finds.

    “While gangs typically have been regarded as a sociological phenomenon, our investigation shows that variants of a specific MAOA gene, known as a ‘low-activity 3-repeat allele,’ play a significant role,” said biosocial criminologist Kevin M. Beaver of Florida State University.
    In 2006, the controversial warrior gene was implicated in the violence of the indigenous Maori people in New Zealand, a claim that Maori leaders dismissed.

    But it’s no surprise that genes would be involved in aggression. Aggression is a primal emotion like many others, experts say, and like cooperation, it is part of human nature, something that’s passed down genetically. And almost all mammals are aggressive in some way or another, said Craig Kennedy, professor of special education and pediatrics at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, whose research last year suggested that humans crave violence just like they do sex, food or drugs.

    “Previous research has linked low-activity MAOA variants to a wide range of antisocial, even violent, behavior, but our study confirms that these variants can predict gang membership,” says Beaver, the Florida State researcher. “Moreover, we found that variants of this gene could distinguish gang members who were markedly more likely to behave violently and use weapons from members who were less likely to do either.”

    Violent traits are hereditary

    The MAOA gene affects levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that are related to mood and behavior, and those variants that are related to violence are hereditary, according to a statement from the university.

  21. Wrong says:

    Common DNA Markers Can Account for More Than Half of the Genetic Influence on Cognitive Abilities

    “We found that DNA markers tagged by the array accounted for .66 of the estimated heritability, reaffirming that cognitive abilities are heritable.”

    “Cognitive abilities predict educational attainment, income, health, and longevity, and thus contribute importantly to the intellectual capital of knowledge-based societies”

  22. Jim Goad says:

    Stalin, who competes with Mao for being the biggest mass murderer of the 20th century, was fond of referring to Mendelian genetics as “pseudoscience.”

  23. Tim Lewis says:

    It’s true in nature also the so called killer bees or African bees .look like the European honey bee but are unreasonable aggressive .its exactly the I racist now?

  24. Anonymous says:

    How did Robocop predict the future?

  25. bean bag says:

    “there’s a giant sucking sound.”

    Corporate greed will sacrifice a city. We all better wake up.

    Bottom line, you mean nothing.

  26. tommy gun says:

    @ Jim Goad – 3:54pm

    Those are all good points, at this point in history.

    Well then lets look at history. The counter argument is that we are looking at this moment in time, where a combination of the momentum from the accumulated capital from the imperial /colonial age with the exponential growth of technology in the oil age, leveraging extra-somatic energy in large quantities for the first time, puts whites and some Asians at a plane of development higher than the overall mean global black population.

    Taking 1000 B.C. as an example, wouldn’t the opposite have been true (obviously taking the oil energy advantage out of the equation) – i.e., weren’t the Nubians and Egyptians far more advanced and “civilized” then the people living in say what is now Scandinavia at that time?

    PS: I say “imperial / colonial” with no pejorative intent. I am a firm believer that to the winner go the spoils, and that slavery, invading, colonizing etc. are as old as time and the province of every race on earth, including those “peaceful” Indians who, as I am sure you know, were prone to barbaric conquest throughout meso-america.

    PSS: I don’t know of a true statistical mean for how the average person is doing in a given country. The billionaires do throw off the stats.

  27. Jim Goad says:

    Regarding Egypt, there’s huge and acrimonious controversy over the ethnicity of the ancient Egyptians. I’m not schooled enough in the topic to have a firm opinion, but I do know that American blacks are not derived from Egypt.
    I know next to nothing about the Nubians, although I once knew a guy whose name was Nubian Smith.
    But you’re talking about two ancient kingdoms in northern Africa. The Sahara is such a huge dividing line, it almost splits Africa into two continents.
    If those civilizations were more advanced back then, all I can say is that they sure as fuck dropped the ball.

  28. tommy gun says:


  29. tommy gun says:

    (The above is my foolproof fallback argument, neat, succinct and unassailable).

  30. Ghetto Defendant says:

    Definitely agree, it is demographic based largely, though there is also an industrial/economic companion to that, Jim. Other cities like New York and Philly experienced large scale white flight at the end of the 60’s coinciding with industrial jobs leaving urban centers. Unlike Detroit though, they had financial service sectors that kept them from falling completely into the abyss like Detroit did. This ties into your position on demographics, cities like New York or Philadelphia, both had significant portions of their tax paying, white populations move to their suburbs, but their finance industries also kept a significant population of tax paying whites in their city limits, helping to keep them afloat through the 70’s and 80’s.

  31. […] your issue with Detroit isn’t the decline of American manufacturing, nor is it corrupt myopic conservative state […]

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