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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Man-Made Disaster?

Tsykoduk has an interesting post up that makes the claim that the tradgedy in New Orleans was a man-made disaster caused by the welfare state and the residendents of New Orleans itself more than it was a natural disaster. I am not entirely convinced in totality, but certainly their are aspects of the situation that are probably worth looking at through that prism. You should probably click through and read his post, and perhaps the linked article before reading the rest of this. FEMA probably didn't have plans, or the responsibility, for distributing aid in the face of what amounted to an insurgency. They proved unable to deal with that eventuality. Whether they should be expected to or not is an interesting question worth thinking about. I think that the looting and lawlessness in New Orleans was profoundly disturbing to many of us. It showed how thin the veneer of civilization was in one of our major cities. The poor of New Orleans, mostly black, obviously didn't respond to the crisis as we would expect. Actually, it was just a minority of the poor, but their actions we disruptive enough to effect the entire relief effort and caused needless additional suffering. We need to ask ourselves how, and why these people were so unconnected to society that without restraining force civil behavior immediately collapsed. The Welfare State, which I have no love for, may be part of this answer, but I certainly don't think it is all of it. The fact that police officers joined in on the looting as well provides another clue, in my opinion. If the police are that quick to abandon lawful behavior, it speaks of a corruption in the system that existed well before the waters began to rise. How much respect can we expect ordinary citizens to have for lawful behavior when those charged with enforcing the law have no regard for it. I expect that even in ordinary times, the officers that engaged in the looting behaved in only a marginally lawful manner. They were likely the enemies, rather than the protectors of the people. As I mentioned, most of the poor in New Orleans were black. It does behove us in light of that to ask what effect race, and racism, may have played in this tragedy. I highly doubt that blacks are inherently more lawless than anyone else. It does appear that poor urban black culture doesn't have a very strong grip on civilization. Is that because they live off of handouts, as Tsykoduk's post claims, of is it because society has condemned them to a second teir status (racism) as they have responded by not connecting to society? In the 2000 vice-presidential debates, Dick Cheney when asked something along the lines of how he would respond to a certain situation if he were a black man, answered that he could not answer that question. He admitted, and rightly, that he didn't know what it was like to be black in America because he was not black. I agree with that statement. I don't know how tough it is in America for blacks to connect with the rest of society. Other ethnic groups seem to, by and large, connect with main stream America with greater success than blacks. I don't know how to explain that. While I am sure racism occurs, I honestly don't see it often at all. Some claim that the unique situation of American blacks, and the legacy of slavery make it far more difficult for blacks than others. Others say that the cult of victimhood extolled by many black leaders is responsible for the high proportion of black poverty. I find it very difficult to judge which view is more correct, and yet it is something we all must come to decisions on, as we are ultimately responsible for shaping our public policies. New Orleans has clearly shown one thing, what we are doing currently is not working, and we need to find a solution.


Blogger honestpartisan said...

My response here:


9/13/2005 11:26:00 PM  

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