P. Hitchens’s Non-Black Theory of the Self-Destruction of Black Detroit

Luke G. writes:

I thought you might be amused by this. A silly article by Peter Hitchens in which he tries to explain the decline of Detroit. Needless to say its transformation from an 80 percent white city in 1950 into an 80 percent black city in 2010 is not considered relevant. He even suggests it was “scare tactics” by the white estate agents which made the whites flee the city:

So, when thousands of displaced black families relocated, estate agents sought to profit by scaring white residents out. Then they bought their houses cheaply, and sold them at a heavy profit to black incomers. This cynical process was called ‘block-busting’, a technique of panicking people in entire districts into leaving, with coded warnings of black invasion.

What astonishes me is that Hitchens is neither a neoconservative nor a left-liberal who has been sheltered from an up-close and personal exposure to black violence, but a traditional conservative who has lived in Washington DC, (where he says he remembers hearing gunfire within earshot almost every night) and who has also travelled all over Africa (at one point becoming caught up in a war zone in Somalia). He even once made a TV program exposing liberal illusions about post-apartheid South Africa. How then can it be possible for him to produce such a clueless article?

LA replies:

He does mention in one paragraph that Detroit became a black majority city—because of that sinister white flight. But he does not say that its becoming a black city has had anything to do with its decline. Peter Hitchens, enraged warrior against Political Correctness, will never say anything Politically Incorrect about race. In fact, nothing makes him more enraged than such Politically Incorrect statements.

See, for example, these two VFR entries:

P. Hitchens: if you think race matters, you’ve not a civilized human being

P. Hitchens confirms himself in his liberal folly about race and immigration

- end of initial entry -

James R. writes:

One of the glaring problems is that since he goes out of his way to avoid anything that might seem critical or racial, he exculpates Mayor Young to the degree that he must search for alternative explanations, and finds them in standard Leftist tropes—whites fleeing because they don’t want to be the tax base for Progressive social programs, the evils of Reagan not subbsidizing Detroit’s economic model, and so on.

If this is conservative, give me an honest Trot.

James adds:

The thing is, his argument is obviously false to anyone with any historical knowledge. For example, whatever the merits or demerits of it, the first Chrysler bailout was done by Reagan. So much for him tearing up the economic model Detroit was built on.

One problem was that economic model itself. The other was that Detroit got overrun by racial hucksters—but those hucksters weren’t white racists. They were the ones whose involvement in the devistation of Detroit Hitchens goes out of his way to minimize. Meanwhile there are bombed-out cities that look better than the rubble things like LBJ’s “Model Cities Program” produced in Detroit.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 02, 2011 11:17 AM | Send

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