From the Oak Initiative and Rick Joyner:
Just a few days ago Detroit was called not only the most dangerous city in America, but the most dangerous city in the world. Since I was there, I wanted to understand how this could happen to such a great American city. This is especially important because many of the same policies and the style of leadership that has led Detroit for decades is now being imposed on the whole nation.
Detroit does not just look like a war zone in many areas—it is one. The population within the city has fallen from around 2 million to about 800,000. Real unemployment is over 20%, and as one observer recently said, the only people left in Detroit are the very poor who had nowhere to go and the criminals. Then many of the poor have had to become criminals to survive. In many areas it is borderline anarchy.
Think about what your city would be like if in just a short period of time over half the people left. There are not just empty houses on virtually every block, there are whole neighborhoods that are empty, and deteriorating fast the way property does when not occupied. There seemed to be more boarded up buildings and businesses than open ones. The cloud of depression is possibly even thicker than you might find in Haiti right now, because in Haiti they at least know their catastrophe has gotten the attention of the world and there is hope. In Detroit, hope for the future is hard to find.
To see this happen to a great American city is more than a tragedy—it is a disgrace, because it was so unnecessary. It is also a prophetic look of where America is headed because the same policies that brought such devastation to Detroit are now being imposed on the whole nation. As the saying goes, “If you do not change your direction you will end up where you are headed,” and we are headed for a similar devastation like Detroit if we do not change directions very quickly. We need to understand how this happened, and what the policies and leadership were that has gutted this once great city.
Yesterday I spoke at a pastor’s lunch in Detroit, and then an open meeting at the First Baptist Church there. As I expected, the church leaders and Christians there are strong. Most are there because they chose to stay and not give up on their city. They had vision, and character, but were seeking strategy and help. They are worthy of investing in. They may be learning lessons in their situation we may all need one day soon.
Between these meetings we went to Dearborn to have dinner at a restaurant in the Islamic community. Probably the only growth area of Detroit is the Muslim community in Dearborn. A growing business in Dearborn is the immigration services as Muslims are coming from the Middle East in good numbers to what many think will be the first major city in America to be ruled by Muslims. Some Muslim leaders have boasted that Michigan will be the first Muslim state in America. If you wonder why the rest of the community is not sounding the alarm about this, it is because before Muslims try to impose Shiria Law they are great neighbors, and their communities rise in striking contrast to the rest of Detroit right now.
When there is virtual anarchy in large parts of Detroit, Islam has a certain attraction because Muslims do not tolerate the crime and disorder. The Muslim sections of the city are clean, with little or no observed vice. This is becoming more and more appealing to a city that is dying. Even tyranny is preferable to anarchy, and when there is a collapse of order, that is when the world’s worst tyrants have found their opportunities.
Haven’t We Seen This Play Before?
Science learns from past mistakes, and builds on the knowledge to create a steady advancement. Society does not do this, but rather tends to make the same mistakes over and over, often many times by the same generation. There has been social advancement, but it is slow and plodding, often taking three steps forward and then two back, and sometimes four steps back. The kind of remedies now being imposed on America to address the crises we’re in have been tried many times before and in every case have had the same result—the ultimate devastation and impoverishment of the people.
We have seen what is happened in Michigan happen just a couple of decades ago in New York. In the 1970’s and 80’s as taxes rose more and more corporations were driven out of New York. Instead of waking up to what they were doing, amazingly the government just raised taxes even more on the remaining companies until they had driven them out too. Soon there was virtually no great companies left to pay the taxes. Then the cuts that had to be made to the social programs were so extreme that many who had come to depend on the government were suddenly helpless, and as is usually the case when this happens—crime rates soared driving even more of the law abiding and prosperous out. Finally on the road out of New York City there was a billboard simply saying, “The last one out cut off the lights.”
Finally even the very liberal state of New York woke up to the way their welfare state was destroying them, and they voted in conservatives who cut the budget, lowered taxes, and actually reached out to the business community and made them feel welcome again. Soon New York had a robust and growing economy, jobs were coming back, people were coming back, and corporations were even coming back.
Of course there were some other factors in both New York and now in Michigan, but very basically their plight is alike, and both the cause of it and the solution to it is simple. One method seems good and it will often appeal to more people at first, but in the end the worst victims are the ones they claimed would be helped. The other method may seem more harsh up front, but it will actually end up helping everyone far more in the end.
Michigan can be turned around, but it is going to take strong leaders who are willing to use their resolve and force of will to actually turn from the direction the state has been going in. Probably every American company would rather manufacture in America, but with intransigent unions it is not possible to do so and compete in the world economy. It will take unions that are reasonable enough to understand that a lower paying job is better than no job, so that those who hire them can compete in the world market and actually make a profit. Profit is not a bad word, but actually necessary if we want to keep eating.
While in Detroit, I talked with a man running for congress who was very impressive. It was refreshing to meet someone running for political office who actually said nothing to promote himself, but all of his questions were about how he could help the city he obviously had a deep love for. He was also humble enough to ask sincere questions, not presuming that he knew what needed to be done. When you can find this in leadership you can have hope.
This man running for congress was an African-American, a Democrat, and an obvious Obama supporter, but he was open to listening to a different perspective. He was not at all challenging or argumentative, but rather inquisitive. I have found this more and more in the African-American community, where some of the most informed sources say Obama is losing the faith of the African-American community who may understand more than anyone that his promise of jobs has not materialized, and there does not seem to be the hope of them anywhere on the radar.
On a side note, 1712 was the year Willy Lynch wrote his diabolical letter laying out a strategy for the slave holders so that they could keep their slaves in bondage in a way that would last 300 years. That means that 2012 is the end of this devil’s prophecy. Could it be that we will then see true freedom come to the African-American community in America? I think we will.
As I talked to this impressive young man running for congress in Detroit, it was obvious he was also missing one big piece of understanding that the future leadership of Detroit, Michigan, and even the United States must have if they are going to attract and stimulate business to return to America. What was it?
First, we presume to our peril that America is the best and safest place to do business. That has changed in a most profound way in just the last year. To the business mind what is happening in America now is one of the very worst climates for business—no one really knows what the rules are, and they keep changing them. The most hostile of all business environments is in a climate of change that you cannot predict or prepare for.
When this happens, it’s like trying to play a game where the referees keep changing the rules on you, but don’t even tell you about the changes until you’ve violated them. If anything could be worse than that it would be to have the referees jump in and start playing the game, which is what happens when the government enters business. Who can possibly compete with the one who has the power to make and change the rules on you? The frustration of trying to play a game like that will very quickly have even the greatest athletes quitting in disgust, and that is what America is now doing to some of the world’s greatest business leaders—driving them away.
Much of America’s economic strength and prosperity was the result of a stable government and business environment. Almost four centuries of the development of this most incredible of all places to do business is being undermined and destroyed in one administration. It is being done with an unprecedented onslaught of legislation that cuts the heart out of business incentive. This is being done under the pretense of dealing with greed, but to bring the kind of control needed to quash all greed you will also have snuffed out all incentive, and economic growth and advancement is not possible under those conditions.
There are some rule changes that are needed, but the way that they are being implemented, often even retroactively, could not be more devastating to quality and enduring business and commerce. This is why we may now be going through a time of more purchasing, and seeing stocks go up simply because there is nowhere else to invest, but this is being done without new jobs being created. Expansion is off the table with most businesses when there is this kind of behavior from the government.
Right now business and capital is fleeing the country probably at a record rate. Most do not want to leave, like most did not want to leave Detroit, but it has just gotten too dangerous for them. America has become hostile to business, and especially to those who are the most successful at business, which is why just about all business people play the game—they want to succeed. If this most hostile of all business environments that has been created in America in the last year is not changed very fast it will ultimately be devastating to the point of making the whole country look like Detroit. The ignorant and foolish people who will have done this will continue to blame the ones they drove off for the debacle, but it was the insanity of their own polices that did it.
This insanity is Einstein’s definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Extreme socialism and Marxism have never once worked in raising the general condition of the people, but has only brought everyone down to even lower levels of poverty. It cannot work because it is against natural law that has been proven over and over. This “natural law” was first formulated by Cicero, the great Roman philosopher and thinker, whose perceptions of the world and mankind so remarkably paralleled Scripture. Cicero’s writings had a great influence over the Founding Fathers of America, and it was here that Cicero’s vision of the abounding prosperity of a free people was first really tried and proven true.
This natural law was demonstrated in Jamestown, the first surviving English colony in America. For the first two years of this colony they had a common garden that everyone was supposed to work. For two years half of the colonists starved to death each winter. Then they decided to give every person their own plot of ground to grow their own food and no one ever starved again. That, in a nutshell, describes the difference between socialism and free enterprise.
When the congressional candidate in Detroit asked me why I couldn’t get some of my billionaire friends to invest in Detroit, I asked why should they? Why should anyone take their hard earned winnings and risk them in Detroit? I’m sure they would be open to do this if they were given a reasonable chance of success, but it is not just cheap real estate prices that are going to draw business back to Detroit—it is a stable, friendly to business environment that has to be created.
There is a difference between riches and wealth. The Bible says riches comes fast, but leaves just as fast. The history of lottery winners validates this. What happens to the fortunes of too many professional athletes validates this, many of which are broke soon after their careers are over. As opposed to riches that comes fast and leaves just as fast, true wealth is built with patience, endurance, hard work, all of which help build in those who have gained it a wisdom that can not only preserve it, but keep growing it.
Having known a good number of professional athletes, and entertainers, as well as some of the most successful people in business, the way that each invests is strikingly different. Those who gained riches fast will invest in the idea of someone because they like them, or knew a relative of theirs they liked or trusted. I have watched good friends make a multitude of such investments and I have not yet seen one work out. In contrast to this, a wise business person may like you, your family, where you went to school, or many other things about you, but they will never invest in you until they have done their due diligence, checking you out, your experience and record of success, regardless of how good your business deal seems. In their due diligence they will usually uncover potential problems or flaws that, without correction, often are what brings the new enterprise down.
Likewise, to rebuild Detroit, or a high quality business environment in America, we need to attract wealth, not just money. The wisdom of the truly wealthy is more valuable than their money. I know quite a few in this category, and without exception they are frightened for their country, and are sending at least a lot of their wealth elsewhere. In just over a year we have gone from being the best place in the world to invest in, to one of the scariest. If we do not change our course we will end up where we are headed. Visit Detroit and you want to know where we are headed.
If we wake up to this impending tragedy, and change our course, then Detroit could be a barometer, becoming again a world-class city that people will be moving to instead of away from. I do not intend to give up on Detroit, or America, and neither will I stop sounding the alarm about the icebergs we are heading for until we have changed our course.
In His Service,