George Will on a Bailout for Detroit

George Will has a column on Detroit which is well worth reading. The best bit comes near the end when he sizes up the urge to rescue Detroit as the final act in a drama of liberal irresponsibility which has been going on for decades.

Steven Rattner, who administered the bailout of part of the Detroit-based portion of America’s automobile industry, says, “Apart from voting in elections, the 700,000 remaining residents of the Motor City are no more responsible for Detroit’s problems than were the victims of Hurricane Sandy for theirs.” Congress, he says, should bail out Detroit because “America is just as much about aiding those less fortunate as it is about personal responsibility.”

There you have today’s liberalism: Human agency, hence responsibility, is denied. Apart from the pesky matter of “voting in elections” — apart from decades of voting to empower incompetents, scoundrels and criminals, and to mandate unionized rapacity — no one is responsible for anything. Popular sovereignty is a chimera because impersonal forces akin to hurricanes are sovereign.

Of course the left will argue that at this point it doesn’t matter who was at fault. All that matters now is to help the people in need. But as with helping anyone who has fallen on hard times as a result of their own poor choices, there is a fine line between helping and perpetuating the problem.