Article on the hurricane and all the people blaming the govt..... - DFWstangs Forums
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Article on the hurricane and all the people blaming the govt.....

If this is a repost.... oh well. It's a bit long though, so all our ADD members need to move on

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

An Objectivist Review

by Robert Tracinski | The Intellectual Activist

September 2, 2005

It has taken four long days for state and federal officials to figure out

how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it

has also taken me four long days to figure out what is going on there. The

reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are

confronting a natural disaster.

If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is

obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to

evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding

and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also

have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to

survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers;

the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do

is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are

suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists--myself included--did not expect

that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape,

murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by

federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This

is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the

story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen

over the past four days. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane

Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be

confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an

emergency--indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies.

That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is

not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from

a Third World country.

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).

So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?

To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a

description from a _Washington Times story_ ( :

"Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives

and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and

rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.

"The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in

to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire....

"Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas

National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.

"'These troops are...under my orders to restore order in the streets,' she

said. 'They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how

to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I

expect they will.' "

The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article

shows National Guard troops, with rifles and armored vests, riding on an armored

vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless

people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a

scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.

What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an

orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the

very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to drive

away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors

trying to treat patients at the Super Dome?

Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further

destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?

My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a

sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage last night on Fox News Channel, she

told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at

the Illinois Institute of Chicago, which is located in the South Side of

Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest

high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were known,

were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have

since, mercifully, been _demolished_ ( .)

What Sherri was getting from last night's television coverage was a whiff of

the sense of life of "the projects." Then the "crawl"--the informational

phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels--gave some

vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had

already evacuated before the hurricane, and of the 300,000 or so who

remained, a large number were from the city's public housing projects. Jack Wakeland

then gave me an additional, crucial fact: early reports from CNN and Fox

indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the

city's jails--so they just let many of them loose. There is no doubt a

significant overlap between these two populations--that is, a large number of people

in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.

There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the

deluge hit--but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two

groups: criminals--and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades,

for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare

wards were a mass of sheep--on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans

unleashed a pack of wolves.

All of this is related, incidentally, to the apparent incompetence of the

city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city,

despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. But in a city corrupted by

the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts

to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters--not to ensure a

lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.

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


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.

But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving

their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do

they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are

going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they

worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of

life for them.

The welfare state--and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and

encourages--is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has

swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.

Source: TIA Daily -- September 2, 2005

92 5.0 LX hatch

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 09-11-2005, 09:20 PM
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wow, long but a good point of view
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