A Stalinist libel of America comes true

During the Cold War, the USSR propaganda apparatus portrayed the United States as a decadent society, falling apart, with conditions far worse than those that prevailed in the Soviet Union. One recurring theme was that packs of wild dogs roamed the streets of American cities. Professor William Frame of Kenyon College, an expert on Maoist and Stalinist propaganda regaled his classes with  examples of such then-ludicrous assertions that were either widely believed, or too dangerous to openly doubt within range of KGB operatives.

Sixty years later, progressives in America have made real the libel.  Chris Christoff of Bloomberg reports:

As many as 50,000 stray dogs roam the streets and vacant homes of bankrupt Detroit, replacing residents, menacing humans who remain and overwhelming the city's ability to find them homes or peaceful deaths.

Dens of as many as 20 canines have been found in boarded-up homes in the community of about 700,000 that once pulsed with 1.8 million people. One officer in the Police Department's skeleton animal-control unit recalled a pack splashing away in a basement that flooded when thieves ripped out water pipes.

The situation is post-apocalyptic:

The number of strays signals a humanitarian crisis, said Amanda Arrington of the Humane Society of the United States, based in Washington. She heads a program that donated $50,000 each to organizations in Detroit and nine other U.S cities to get pets vaccinated, fed, spayed and neutered.

Arrington said when she visited Detroit in October, "It was almost post-apocalyptic, where there are no businesses, nothing except people in houses and dogs running around."

The collapse of civil order in Detroit is well underway. Shameful as that is, salvaging the wreckage offers an opportunity to innovate.  John Fund explores one option: selling off parts of the city, perhaps even to Canada (!):

Well, Canada lies just across the river from Detroit. It certainly has a 21st-century government, with lower unemployment, smaller debt, and even more economic freedom than the United States, according to metrics from both the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. Canada might be interested in Detroit, in whole or in part. (snip)

One of the most intriguing parts of Detroit is Belle Isle, a 1.5 square-mile park with real market value that sits in the Detroit River between the two cities. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, one of the creators of New York's Central Park, it was once an urban jewel but has been left decrepit by years of neglect. One proposal is to revitalize Belle Isle by having the city sell it for $1 billion to investors interested in setting up a self-governing "free enterprise zone." While it would function as a mini-Hong Kong, some strings could be attached (no factories, for example). The idea has been endorsed by no less than former Chrysler president Hal Sperlich, who says the island could bring economic dynamism back to the area and create a "Midwest tiger."

I am not comfortable with a reverse Gadsden Purchase, selling parts of our territory to Canada, though that doesn't seem to be what John has in mind. But I wonder if revoking the city charter of Detroit is a possibility, and then reinstituting one or more (i.e., breaking up the city in smaller burgs) city charters that address some of the fatal flaws that did in Detroit, including banning unions for workers. The new cities would be relieved of all financial encumerances of Old Detroit, whose creditors would be left to squabble over the assets of the defunct city. This crisis is one that conservatives should not let go to waste.

During the Cold War, the USSR propaganda apparatus portrayed the United States as a decadent society, falling apart, with conditions far worse than those that prevailed in the Soviet Union. One recurring theme was that packs of wild dogs roamed the streets of American cities. Professor William Frame of Kenyon College, an expert on Maoist and Stalinist propaganda regaled his classes with  examples of such then-ludicrous assertions that were either widely believed, or too dangerous to openly doubt within range of KGB operatives.

Sixty years later, progressives in America have made real the libel.  Chris Christoff of Bloomberg reports:

As many as 50,000 stray dogs roam the streets and vacant homes of bankrupt Detroit, replacing residents, menacing humans who remain and overwhelming the city's ability to find them homes or peaceful deaths.

Dens of as many as 20 canines have been found in boarded-up homes in the community of about 700,000 that once pulsed with 1.8 million people. One officer in the Police Department's skeleton animal-control unit recalled a pack splashing away in a basement that flooded when thieves ripped out water pipes.

The situation is post-apocalyptic:

The number of strays signals a humanitarian crisis, said Amanda Arrington of the Humane Society of the United States, based in Washington. She heads a program that donated $50,000 each to organizations in Detroit and nine other U.S cities to get pets vaccinated, fed, spayed and neutered.

Arrington said when she visited Detroit in October, "It was almost post-apocalyptic, where there are no businesses, nothing except people in houses and dogs running around."

The collapse of civil order in Detroit is well underway. Shameful as that is, salvaging the wreckage offers an opportunity to innovate.  John Fund explores one option: selling off parts of the city, perhaps even to Canada (!):

Well, Canada lies just across the river from Detroit. It certainly has a 21st-century government, with lower unemployment, smaller debt, and even more economic freedom than the United States, according to metrics from both the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. Canada might be interested in Detroit, in whole or in part. (snip)

One of the most intriguing parts of Detroit is Belle Isle, a 1.5 square-mile park with real market value that sits in the Detroit River between the two cities. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, one of the creators of New York's Central Park, it was once an urban jewel but has been left decrepit by years of neglect. One proposal is to revitalize Belle Isle by having the city sell it for $1 billion to investors interested in setting up a self-governing "free enterprise zone." While it would function as a mini-Hong Kong, some strings could be attached (no factories, for example). The idea has been endorsed by no less than former Chrysler president Hal Sperlich, who says the island could bring economic dynamism back to the area and create a "Midwest tiger."

I am not comfortable with a reverse Gadsden Purchase, selling parts of our territory to Canada, though that doesn't seem to be what John has in mind. But I wonder if revoking the city charter of Detroit is a possibility, and then reinstituting one or more (i.e., breaking up the city in smaller burgs) city charters that address some of the fatal flaws that did in Detroit, including banning unions for workers. The new cities would be relieved of all financial encumerances of Old Detroit, whose creditors would be left to squabble over the assets of the defunct city. This crisis is one that conservatives should not let go to waste.

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