Phase shifts

One minute the tower is standing.  The next, it's rubble and dust.  Richard Fernandez on the hollowing out of societies before the final collapse:
One reason why Japan recovered relatively quickly after the Second World War was while the massive aerial assault leveled Japan’s cities it did not destroy the cultural and social institutions of Japan.  When the smoke cleared the Japanese were still there and they rebuilt.  By contrast destroying culture is so much more lethal.  Detroit was untouched by the war.  Not a bomb fell on it.  But years of public education worked their magic.  It dismantled the culture and social institutions which once built its factories.  Time reports Detroit had posted the lowest math scores in the history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
“These numbers are only slightly better than what one would expect by chance as if the kids had never gone to school and simply guessed at the answers,” said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Washington-based Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban school districts.  “These numbers … are shocking and appalling and should not be allowed to stand.”


Grim said...

Fernandez is often right about things. But are there no bright spots, where things are getting better? Iceland, maybe.

douglas said...

Is Detroit a point of infection, or just an advanced case of what the rest of the country already is becoming? Terminal or not?

james said...

Ransom shook his head. "You do not understand" he said. "The poison was brewed in these West lands but it has spat itself everywhere by now. However far you went you would find the machines, the crowded cities, the empty thrones, the false writings, the barren beds: men maddened with false promises and soured with true miseries, worshipping the iron works of their own hands, cut off from Earth their mother and from the Father in Heaven. You might go East so far that East became West and you returned to Britain across the great Ocean, but even so you would not have come out anywhere into the light The shadow of one dark wing is over all Tellus".

DL Sly said...

Detroit is an early symptom like a small node of cancer. The source of it, the DEA and teacher's unions, need to be dealt with in the same manner a surgeon and oncologist deal with cancer.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I will again say, swimming against the tide on conservative sites, that it is not the schools. School district test scores can be predicted within a few points nationwide by multiplying racial breakdowns by average scores for each race/ethnicity and adding them together. Most of the small remainder of the variance can be accounted for by income. You can do this without visiting a single school in American or reading its curriculum. It's ugly, but it's true.

We all want something else to be true. Conservatives want it to be high expectations, school choice, etc. Liberals want it to be more computers, more incentives for good teachers to go to bad schools, etc. Now the focus is on Common Core, with unrealistic expectations on both sides. It's an educational program. As such, it will not do half the good nor half the harm it promises.

Schools can slowly teach a culture and very gradually make an impact on the value of delayed gratification.

Gringo said...

A misperforming economy will not necessarily lead to the collapse of a dictatorship. Look at Cuba and Zimbabwe.

Don't hold your breath.

As has already been said, Chavismo will not be toppled by the oppo, but by former Chavista supporters descending from the hilltop slums to flatland Caracas.

If the government ever is stupid enough to expropriate Polar, that will be the end, because Polar produces Oso Polar [Polar Bear], Venezuela's most popular beer.Every company that the government has expropriated has seen production decrease. Shortages of Oso Polar beer could also topple the government. Which is why the government will probably not expropriate Polar, much as it would like to.

raven said...

Perhaps we are doomed to be the Remnant,wandering to spread the word of a country that once knew freedom, but there is a bleakly optimistic point- few of the locusts these days can even feed themselves, bereft of the willing production of the producing class. The WAKE-UP may come when when production is demanded, willingly or not- when all the socialist dreams lie in the dust, and force is the last and only way to compel production , we will have returned again to slavery. And I do not think the opposition has much objection to slavery. They have a great deal of interest in WHO is enslaved, however. At that point, things will get very sticky. We are already far past the point at which our ancestors revolted. The idea of an income tax on a mans labor would have struck them as obscene. The whole concept of freedom is based on a man owning his own body, and the fruits of his labor- To tax that effort is to tax his life, as it must be obtained by nothing less than using up his mortal hours on this earth in order to pay the State.

William said...

"Ask ev'ry person if he's heard the story,
And tell it strong and clear if he has not,
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory..."

William sends.

Eric Blair said...

Detroit killed itself with demographics and lots and lots of bad business decisions.

It already had started emptying out right after WWII, with the move to the suburbs.

But frankly, who ever wanted to go to Detroit, anyway?