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Diagnosis Murder: New Book Chronicles The Left’s Assault on American Cities

Posted on Sunday, November 26, 2023
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AMAC Exclusive – By David P. Deavel

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President Harry S. Truman once observed, “The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know.” Many of today’s political problems can be traced to the fact that too many Americans still get their news—which is just very recent history—from the sources known as “mainstream” media. This is a big part of the reason why both in 2012 and 2021 surveys showed that conservatives are better informed about the country than those on the other side of the aisle. 

But what ought we to do? While there are certainly people on the left who are impervious to reason or facts because either they are lying or they can’t psychologically bring themselves to question the narratives they’ve been trusting for so long, there are others who’ve felt a crack in their worldviews. Perhaps they discovered Hunter Biden’s laptop was real. Perhaps they discovered their own children’s grade school was teaching Critical Race Theory despite the claims that this only happens in law school. Or perhaps they discovered that their own communities are falling apart and the “party of the little guy” Democrats are not healing but encouraging that dissolution. For these people waking up to a new reality, Seattle reporter and talk show host Jason Rantz’s new book, What’s Killing America, is the ideal gift.

Rantz, a talk show host on Seattle’s KTTH Radio and frequent guest on Fox News, has become over the last five years one of the better-known reporters on what is happening on the left. Like Townhall’s Julio Rosas and The Post-Millennial’s Andy Ngo, Rantz has made his name not merely talking about what’s going on with BLM, Antifa, and the crazy politicians of Seattle. He has put on the masks and infiltrated Antifa actions, gone into the “autonomous zones” set up by crazed BLM activists, and done all the shoe-leather reporting today’s “journalists” never do.

That’s what makes his book hum along. His subtitle, “Inside the Radical Left’s Tragic Destruction of Cities,” indicates the scope of his book—cities from coast to coast and from north to south. As such, he relies on the reporting of many others across the country from New York to Minneapolis to Houston to LA. But many of his best—or worst, depending on how you look at it—stories are the ones that he himself investigated along the corridor from Portland to Seattle.

His first chapter, “Seattle Gets Autonomous,” is the first of five chapters in the book making up Part I: The Rise in Crime. Rantz gives hair-raising accounts of his three weeks of reporting from the Seattle neighborhood that city officials allowed radical BLM activists to take over for much of that “summer of love,” as Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan called those terrible months of 2020. The Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), later renamed CHOP (“Occupied Protest”), was an economic and personal disaster for both the businesses penned in and the people who were occupying the neighborhood. As Rantz recounts the toll it took on all, including multiple deaths, he notes ruefully, “The movement proclaiming that Black Lives Matter was responsible for taking and hurting multiple black lives.”  

This theme—of supposedly compassionate policy hurting the very people the radical left and Democrats proclaim they are protecting—is repeated over and over throughout the book. Chapter Two, “The War on the War on Drugs,” displays how the supposedly progressive policies adopted first by the West Coast states and now further east were almost universally based on bad studies and produced negative outcomes almost overnight. They don’t work in theory or practice. Nor do the theories and practices that: defund police, replace officers with social workers, decriminalize property crimes, lessen penalties for drive-by shootings, turn auto theft felonies into misdemeanors, end cash bail, restrict the police use of non-lethal weapons, restrict police pursuit of criminals in vehicles, and. . .well, the difficulty is that there are so many of these policies that a list of the ones treated by Rantz would take up several pages. Perhaps the most important ones are those covered in Chapter Five on sanctuary cities.

What’s clear from Rantz’s treatment of them is that while we can say that Democrats are to blame for them, we can’t say it’s just politicians. Prosecutors, judges, and bureaucrats all come in for blame in various cities and states. And while all politics is local, the role of state-level Democrats and, in particular, the federal government is very large. Both the Biden Administration and our ever-left administrative state almost always have some role in encouraging and/or funding the craziness that is destroying once fine cities.  

Part II is titled “How the Progressive Lifestyle is Destroying Our Cities: Their Rule, Our Demise.” In the five chapters that make up this part of the book, Rantz covers four topics in particular: housing, payment schemes for the poor and others, education, and environmental legislation.

Housing is covered in two chapters since it takes one to break down all the myths about fixing homelessness that are rooted in the ur-myth (we just need to get people in houses!) and one to break down the supposed proof of concept in a Salt Lake City program that had a few early successes that were touted without mentioning the overall failure.

Through a series of horrific stories about programs that put homeless people in houses, apartments, and hotel rooms, one gets to see both staggering wastes of money and—again!—how the very people who are supposedly being helped often end up in worse situations than before. One of the worst stories Rantz recounts concerns a mentally ill homeless man who started eating another man’s face. Large proportions of the homeless population are homeless not because they are down on their luck in some Great Depression-laid-off-the-workers fashion, but because they suffer from mental illness or are addicted to drugs. The “permanent supportive housing” solutions offered don’t work when they don’t have any requirements to them. Strangely enough, the people on the left who prattle about “root causes” of poverty never seem to consider them in housing.

The same lessons of housing apply to Universal Basic Income programs: just handing out money might make the activists and those receiving the money feel a bit better, but it doesn’t actually lead to better outcomes when unmoored from any incentives for the recipients to change their lives. Racial reparations are no better, but they come with even greater negatives as they feed the dangerous victimhood narratives that both hold back many black people and increase racial tensions.

With regard to education, Rantz covers a subject that has been the occasion for many people on the moderate left or middle to have second thoughts. After all, public education isn’t just a disaster in blue cities; the stories that he tells are often from red states and even red cities where education bureaucrats are also red—but only in the old Marxist sense. They push socialism, BLM, Palestinian activism, and radical gender ideology that alienates children from their own bodies. The stories range from the terrible to the absurd—from getting rid of School Resource Officers and suffering increasing violence to schools that cancel Thanksgiving as “racist.” Then again, everything, including math, is racist.

That “everything” includes the weather. The final chapter deals with the policies enacted, in the name of the environment and, of course, antiracism, that are ruining ordinary life for humans: the war on cars, the war on single-family housing, and the war on gas stoves and other appliances. Rantz rightly judges that all these bans “are part of a greater effort to control the American people.”   

Many people open to thinking anew about voting and policy choices will not want to be controlled. Yet Rantz’s book is ideal not just for those on the fence. It’s also a great read for those of us who have already been paying attention and would like to have a handy resource for stories and stats. Rantz’s combination of research and first-person accounts of what the numbers mean for ordinary people makes this book both useful and gripping to read. Though he doesn’t overdo it, his occasionally exasperated or snarky comments lend a deeply human touch. At 288 pages of text, What’s Killing America is thick but readable in a few days. And for those who want to dig deeper, Rantz has 65 pages of notes to explore the stories and studies he cites.

Rantz doesn’t sugarcoat the situation, though he does point out the occasional good decisions made—even by Democratic politicians. Yet the overall diagnosis of what happened to so many American cities and suburbs is attempted murder of dynamic and delightful cities—a murder by ideology and policy. And the culprit is definitely the radical left, aided, abetted, and often funded by Democrats. Rather than let these cities die, Rantz suggests in the end that Americans need to start fighting back.

His advice is for those who are in communities under assault to pick one issue to start and “get activated.” Though conservative Americans know that life is more than politics, if we want to keep that “more,” we’re going to have to be much more political. The Founders’ ideal of “self-government” is more than just personal discipline and more than just voting. It’s writing letters and emails, making phone calls, and, yes, even attending meetings to take back communities.

Rantz doesn’t provide the reader with all the solutions. That’s ok. He has given people a lot of solid recent history in order that we the people can step up to the challenges lest we “go from exploring what’s killing America to what killed America.”

David P. Deavel teaches at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, and is a Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. Follow him on X @davidpdeavel.  

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Derby
Derby
6 months ago

I like the ideas of Javier Milei in Argentina. He has announced his proposal to eliminate eleven of the nineteen federal agencies, including the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development; the Ministry of Women, Gender, and Diversity; and the Ministry of Education, which he called “the Ministry of Indoctrination.”
We should do the equivalent in the USA.

Rik
Rik
6 months ago

I had a recent confrontation with a brainwashed Democrat when I commented on Biden lying about our “Open Borders”!
He insisted that the Borders were Closed and I then told him to get his head out of his doopah and said then why is sanctuary city New York City residents screaming at their mayor who “welcomed” busloads of illegals sent by the Governor of Texas. Now his citizens are angry because their benefits are being cut to support these illegals with food, housing and health benefits.

David Millikan
David Millikan
6 months ago

Excellent article telling the TRUTH.
Just read something that states From Freedom to Tyranny by a stroke of a pen beginning on 1-21-21, going from Energy Independence to buying oil from foreign countries, from having Oil in our National Strategic Oil Reserve to SELLING our oil to Communist China (Treason) which still hasn’t been replaced, from affordability to High Continuous Inflation, from NO Recession to constant recession, from plenty of food to half rations and products reduced in size with outrageous prices, from lower utility prices to higher prices and climbing, from lower interest rates to Higher interest rates, from buying a home to can’t afford one, from affordable vehicles to outrageous prices for a vehicle, from parental control to government control of our children through Indoctrination, from the 3 Rs of education to Critical Race Theory GARBAGE, from Right to Bear Arms to strict Unconstitutional regulations for lawful citizens who own guns, from a Feared Military to an unfeared military, from Controlled Borders to Uncontrolled/Open Borders allowing Terrorist to just walk in, from questions about government wrongdoings to “no comment”, from cheap gasoline to Higher prices, from lower taxes to being taxed to death to support Socialism/Communism, WHO, U.N., and Illegal Alien Terrorist Invasion including funding foreign WARS, from NOT supporting Terrorist to PAYING Terrorist. Not to forget the Global Warming lie and WEAPONIZATION of Every Federal Agency including Corrupt Judges. The man that wrote most of these statements was dead on. I added some that he didn’t mention.
This is the result of Election Fraud and Election Interference by the democrats and Dictator Beijing biden who serve’s Communist China and Terrorist. This is how we went from Freedom to Tyranny.
These are excellent reasons to vote for President Trump because he put the United States of America FIRST.
Under President Trump we didn’t have these problems and the world was the Safest it had ever been in modern history. The United States was Number ONE, Respected, and Feared with President Trump running the nation.
Today, under Dictator Beijing biden the United States is being laughed at by the whole world.

Willie
Willie
6 months ago

The biggest thing wrong
with our government is to big and they spend money like it belongs to them. I believe many people in this this country could get us back on our feet.The problems is they are political and not common sense.I have a high school education and I think I could do better than many of the people.

TheMule
TheMule
6 months ago

The elephant in the room regarding inner city crime is that the so-called black community produces millions of people who are empty eyed feral sociopaths who are completely incapable of functioning inside a trust based consumer economy where people are expected to pay for the goods and services they use as well as their skills and labor to the economy in order to make the entire machine work.

Police defunding under urban democrat regimes has obliterated the thin blue line that kept this force of destruction marginally under control. Now that it’s out of control, the stupid democrats just try to cater to the worst impulses coming from the black community by mainstreaming their racism, thievery, and pointless violence into the everyday norm as if it were some kind of weather phenomena.

The sad truth is that the biggest lie our government ever told is that segregation happened because white people were “mean” and “cruel”. In reality, it happened because our ancestors weren’t brainwashed by decades or progressive nonsense about the destructive nature and incompatibility of most black people to live in a trust based society. Once they get to a critical mass in a city or town, the crime rate goes up, the quality of life goes down, and all the productive people leave as fast as they can.

MARK
MARK
6 months ago

No matter what the Democrats want to blame the problem of inner cities and in particular inner city minorities, they have controlled these urban areas for generations. In my home city of Minneapolis there has been one elected Republican who served one single 4 year term from 1957-61 in the 75 years since the end of WWII and the election of Hubert Humphrey as mayor.
And control is absolute. The Democrats throughout these 75 have controlled the police. They have controlled the education system of the city. They have controlled all city administration. Want a job or a contract in the city of Minneapolis (and most other urban areas) you better know a person with political power within the Democratic system.
If there are problems with racism in the police forces or educational system, THEY CREATED THEM. They chose the officers of the police department, including the chief as well as negotiated the union contracts and were responsible for disciplinarian action. They chose the Superintendents of the schools, negotiated the contracts for the teachers, selected the curriculum, and enforced discipline.
Yet they accept zero responsibility for these problems. And they are never held accountable.

Julie Ann Them
Julie Ann Them
6 months ago

When I was a university protest leader back in 1967, it was discussed that real change could only come when American school children were re-educated. It’s happened and is happening now. That and my manipulating professor in political science showed me just how desperate the Democratic hierarchy was.to make social and political change. I joined the Republican Party. Note: The conservatives need to get their heads out of their axxes and save our Republic.

Pete from St Pete
Pete from St Pete
6 months ago

The test of whether people can change their voting in major cities will come next November. If New York City jews continue their unwavering support of Democrats in spite of what has happened in Israel and in their own city, there is no hope for people to be able to overcome their preconceived prejudices and notions.

Erik Sorensen
Erik Sorensen
6 months ago

STOP saying these parasites commit their horrors because “…they are addicted to drugs.” They use drugs constantly — every day, all hours, in front of kids (both their own, and those frightened ones just trying to walk to school) — because they want to get HIGH!!

Ty
Ty
6 months ago

It’s follows that the government and one world elitist mentality is nearing the same economic and political hate and fear propaganda that positioned Adolf Hitler into power after the big depression in the 1930’s. They haven’t been teaching kids history, or much of anything else worth while for quite a few years now, and that in itself is a major concern. If you don’t know history, then you most likely will make the same mistakes! This one world mentality is dangerious!

blue pills and yellow pills
blue pills and yellow pills
6 months ago

Simply desire to say your article is excellent. The clearness in your post is simply excellent, and I could assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission, let me grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming posts. Thanks a million, and please carry on the gratifying work.

Jeri
Jeri
6 months ago

The ultimate goal of the leftist progressive is to reduce the minority groups they profess to love and care about. This is one of many ways they use to reduce those numbers. You can pretend all you want that this is not true and if you do, shame, shame, shame on you. If you live long enough you will get to watch what i speak of, but by then it will be to late to do anymore than silently watch if you wish to live.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
6 months ago

Easy solution: have Chinese dictator Xi visit every Democrat run city and they’ll clean it up like they did SF!

NIcholas Elder
NIcholas Elder
6 months ago

Having lived in Seattle for 20 years, I had the good fortune to be able to listen to Jason. He tells it like it is and makes too much sense for the local politicians. They continue to facilitate the growing demise of Seattle based idealistic and stupid ideology, yet continue to get re-elected by the democrat lemmings. So sad!

Lawrence Greenberg
Lawrence Greenberg
6 months ago

The Democrat Party, never any friend to this nation or its citizens, long ago morphed into The New Communist Party of the USA. As such, they share the goals of all good Communists from the time of the Russian Revolution: the destruction of the United States and the downfall of Western Civilization, to be replaced by a worldwide Communist dictatorship. And we are almost there…

Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
6 months ago

As with all leftism religion Ideals they hurt everyone. they tax the heck out of hard workign people, they do not help the people they are supposed to help, and they create industries that provide no useful value added.

The entire left from middle of the road to far extreme is a blight.

JPop
JPop
6 months ago

Sounds like a book i am gonna read.

Jeremy Goldberg
Jeremy Goldberg
6 months ago

And maybe they don’t care because the Republicans want woman’s lives to revolve around their periods. You could have made abortion an albatross on their extremist back, but now it’s on your extremist back. I want the Biden crime family and the weaponized “DOJ” to face justice so much that nothing else matters to me (and I despise Trump!), but good luck convincing people with other priorities, i.e. their own lives.

Jeff Wieler
Jeff Wieler
6 months ago

I think Rantz is on to something. I’m not sure I want to read the book, because when I take time to read I prefer to take my mind off the destruction of America by the left. It would be a comedy if the price of admission wasn’t the damage done to vulnerable people.

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