Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina aftermath - a disaster by way of the State

Most Americans have sat by their televisions all week in disbelief, seeing the tragic and sickening depths of humanity on display in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Because no one seemed to be talking about the cause of this sub-human behavior, I was going to write about it here, but Robert Tracinski beat me to it - and he did such a perfect job summing it up, I'll just pass you on to his article instead.

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State

When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).

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No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American "individualism." But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.

What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. They don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.




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2 comments:

Black Ambition said...

I read an article on line that discussed a racial divide among whites and blacks when it came to their perspective on the hurricane.

The article said that whites are more likely to focus on the chaos and looting that followed the storm and blacks are more likely to focus on the suffering of the victims and their desperation.

Race matters, among other things. Ethnicity, religion, nationality etc. can shape an individual's perspective.

I have been trying to use Google to find the article again, but I haven't been successful.

I see that you were frustrated with West's comment on Bush, but I would ask you to consider the perspective you are coming from versus the perspective he is coming from.

Maybe you can try to undertand why some black americans may feel that their country, government, political official etc. do not care about blacks, instead of dismissing his point of view completely.

MPH said...

West's perspective = selling a victim culture = exploitation of race