RUSH: Zev Chafets, who has written a biography on me called “Army of One” — he’s also written a biography of sorts on Roger Ailes. He wrote a book in 1990 called “Devil’s Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit.” Chafets spent a year in Detroit reporting what was going on there, and, even as far back as 1990, it was obvious that Detroit was in extreme trouble.
Now, his point, after spending a year on the ground there and reporting it daily, is that, yeah, liberalism was a problem and unionism was a problem. The auto industry decline was a problem. They all contributed to the mess that is Detroit. But he learned that it was something more profound than those three even combined together that made Detroit what it is, and that was race.
It’s an excellent book. “Devil’s Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit.” And let me give you a brief book report, as it were. Detroit, as we mentioned yesterday, used to be a jewel. Detroit was a city with the highest per capita income in the country for a while. It was the city where health care benefits were born as an employee perk because competition for good employees was so great during World War II wage and price controls. They couldn’t pay anybody anymore because of the controls so they had to come up with inventive ways around the controls to attract workers, and health care benefits were born. And interestingly everything comes home to roost, and it’s fascinating to me that unions and pensions and health care benefits all contributed to the demise.
But, again, according to Chafets, that’s not the main thing. In his opinion, for decades Detroit was the most racist city in the north, and it wasn’t accidental. It was the policy of the police department to hire southern lawmen and give orders to kick butt. The city was completely segregated. Urban renewal crowded all the blacks into very small neighborhoods. The city was racially tense for years. Now, in 1967 the blacks in Detroit rioted. They burned down and looted whole neighborhoods. Whites fled so fast that they were moving into unfinished houses in the suburbs.
The depopulation of the city which resulted and which had started with the building of freeways in the fifties became a full-fledged exodus after the riots. So in 1973, the new black majority, the majority of people in the city proper were black, they elected the first black mayor in 1973, Coleman Young. Now, unlike black mayors in other cities, like Andrew Young in Atlanta, Coleman Young did not come out of the civil rights movement per se. He came from a radical wing of a radical black organization. To some he was charismatic. To some he was hilariously funny. Even to me he was funny. I even got into a knock-down, drag-out with the guy over something in the early days of this program. I don’t remember over what, but I mean, this guy, he was hilarious. He was hilarious while appearing incompetent and boobish, but he wasn’t. He was tough as nails and he did not believe in turning each other cheek.
And again, it’s important to remember that he did not come out of the civil rights movement. Selma is not what animated this guy. Getting beat upside the head, marching across bridges in southern cities didn’t happen to him. He was a radical separatist that had its origins far from the civil rights movement. And Chafets writes that he knew Coleman Young very well. Got to know him in his reporting in his year in Detroit. Coleman Young, when the whites started abandoning the city after the black riots, and it was easy to do with the building of the freeways in the fifties, when they were moving into unfinished houses just to get out of town, Coleman Young publicly would accuse white people of abandoning the city and then trying to control it from the outside.
So he declared war on the hostile suburbs. He nixed gun control on the grounds that it would be dangerous to disarm his people in the face of the KKK lurking beyond Eight Mile Road. To him, the white flight was just the equivalent of the KKK that had moved to the suburbs, and his people in the city, he was not gonna take their guns away from ’em, and he didn’t. So the city of Detroit was heavily armed, and it was heavily radicalized. He also, in declaring war on the hostile suburbs, discouraged outside investment that didn’t run through his office. He turned the police force into his militia and he set out to create a black city state south of Eight Mile Road.
Now, under Mayor Coleman Young, Detroit had an official nationalist doctrine that referred to the riots as the rebellion and the former white administrations that used to run the city as occupying powers. That’s how he talked about them. He was leading the rebellion of the city inside, you know, south of Eight Mile, and the occupying powers were outside the city.
Now, to make the point even clearer he erected a statue in honor of Joe Louis. It was a giant black fist right at the freeway entrance to downtown Detroit. A giant black fist in honor of Joe Louis right at the freeway entrance to downtown Detroit. So it was clear that Coleman Young harbored hatred for the whites who had fled the city after the black riots. Well, that hate was reciprocated. The whites, who might have wanted to invest, or live in the city, decided not to. They decided to stay out. This caused downtown Detroit to become a ghost town, which, according to Chafets’ book, was fine with the mayor.
He built a political machine that kept himself in power for 20 years by fanning the fires of racial grievance and separatism. Coleman Young told Zev Chafets that his role models were Boss Daley of Chicago, Boss Curley of Boston, Mayor Cavanaugh of Detroit, and other ethnic tribal leaders of the past. And he was very open about it. And all of these people that he admired had looted their cities on behalf of themselves and their political base and Coleman Young said now it was my turn, and that’s what he did in Detroit.
The 20 years of Colemanism, the 20 years that he was mayor were one long experiment in municipal black nationalism and ideological separatism. And by the name of he left office, the city was a shambles. He was followed by Dennis Archer and then Kwame Kilpatrick. Archer became a prisoner of the system. Kwame Kilpatrick became a prisoner of the federal penal system. They got him, it was multiple acts of corruption, but I forgot the details of what it was. But it all happened. I mean, this program was happening while all this was going on in Detroit. And Kwame Kilpatrick and Dennis Archer, Coleman Young was their mentor. He was their role model. It is said that even Dave Bing is part of the Coleman Young legacy.
So what you have, Detroit is a city with no tax base, no budget, no money, no services, no schools, hardly any employment, no viable political life, and it’s now ruled by a Republican governor, as is the result of the bankruptcy. So I wanted to mention this to you based on my reading of “Devil’s Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit.” These are just factual claims made by the author, Zev Chafets. You know, a lot of people, just in the strict political sense, admired Coleman Young for what he was able to pull off.
Now, there was nothing really admirable about what he did to the city, but that he was able to do it. A lot of people admired him and envied him. This happens throughout human history. Thugs, scalawags, Clinton was admired for how well he was able to get away with lying. The press marveled at how good he was at it. They loved him for it. Coleman Young used to call himself the MFIC. The MF-in charge. I wish I could remember, something happened in Detroit and we were on the air there, WJR was our affiliate, still is, and I was openly critical, and it didn’t faze him. He didn’t care. He had his little fiefdom there and he was running it, and it was the way he wanted it to be.
The whole point of this, folks, is that, yes, all of these factors were relevant in the destruction of the city: liberalism, unionism, unending pensions, payouts to people that no longer work. But the point is that Detroit became a separatist place, and it just didn’t have a chance. It was a city that was governed and ruled by anger, racial anger. It was really a textbook example of the problems that result. Art Laffer is out saying so, a number of other people are saying it. This is just the first such city of what will be many to declare bankruptcy and go down this road.
Now, what they all do have in common is they’ve all been run by Democrats. Whatever Coleman Young was, whatever racial characteristics he harbored, or racist, whatever, he was still a Democrat. It was still liberalism. It was still government is the focus of everything. And it’s a sad commentary, and it’s a bit of a shame. Coleman Young cannot be ignored when discussing the current status and state and plight of Detroit and what his politics were. It was racial separatism that brought it about. So I found it interesting. There’s much more to this, obviously, it’s an entire book. This is just a brief little book report, but again the title of this book, “Devil’s Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit,” published in 1990 by Zev Chafets.
RUSH: I think it’s safe to say, ladies and gentlemen, that if Detroit mayor Coleman Young has had a son, he would look like Barack Obama. I mean, he’s a dead ringer for Barack Obama.