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At a stoplight, an older man gestured for me to roll down the window. “Son,” he said. “you do not belong here. You cannot be here. You need to make a left at the next corner, turn around and head back in the other direction. And do not - I repeat - do not stop at any more lights.” He shook his head at my stupidity, gave me a warm smile and walked away.

I did find my way out, and I have never forgotten that man’s kindness.

The point is, before the Great Society, I probably would have felt differently about being lost in Detroit, at least in most of it. Every big city has a rough side, of course. In Detroit, the Great Society and the auto industry’s government-and-union-managed decline have managed to make almost the whole city “the rough side.”

Over there in Switzerland, I hope Mr. Jealous and the delegation had a fine time after dumping on their country. They probably didn’t bring up the wonders of Detroit’s enlightened path toward true democracy and social justice.

The U.N.’s cafeteria serves up subsidized gourmet meals and fine wines, even at lunch. It’s a great place to relax and plot the next desperate move to hang on to political power.

Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.