Wednesday, September 07, 2005

My blame game.

Everyone in Politicalville is talking about whom to blame for Katrina and its effects. The Lefties want all of the blame to lay squarely at the feet of President Bush, and want him impeached. (Don't believe me? Go check out the moonbats over at DU. I'm too tired to link; you can go find it your bloody self.) The Righties want most of the blame placed on Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin. I'm getting sick of it. I'll tell you where the blame truly lies, and let thhat be the end of it.

The blame lies in our instant society. Our "microwave, high-speed internet, instant communication, instant coffee, how dare you make me wait, I want it now" society. We have become so accustomed to getting what we want, and getting when we want it, and raising holy cain when we don't. Does anyone understand what it takes to mobilise the federal government in men and material (and materiel)? It doesn't happen overnight. A behemoth like the federal government can't just "spring into action" like that. That's why state and local governments are supposed to be the first responders because they can act more quickly in the face of a disaster. (That's why, I have seen reported, that Mayor Nagin purportedly told his citizens that if they chose to stay to not expect any help for the first 48-72 hours.) So when the federal government doesn't swoop down immediately and save the day like like some sort of governmental Batman, our people get outraged.

The blame lies in our "CSI" entertainment culture. People have grown accustomed to seeing teevee and movie actors do incredible (and totally unrealisitic) things with men and technology that we expect that government in the real world to do the same. (I know I've seen this argument somwhere, NRO perhaps, in the context of juries who fault criminal prosecutors for not having hi-tech DNA or other lab analyses.) "We have all of this technology and are the richest country in the world; why can't we do 'X'? Why can't we use all of our technology and know-how to make the world a utopia where no one ever need suffer again?" "If Harrison Ford can single-handedly defeat a group of armed terrorists who have taken over Air Force One, using nothing but guns and guts and flying great airplanes, and do it all in two hours, why can't we protect people from natural disasters?" Our expectations are way too unrealistic.

I blame Franklin Roosevelt and the rest of New Dealers who, perhaps unwittingly, planted the seed that has firmly teken root that government is and should be the solution to our problems; that there's no problem that the government can't fix. "Why doesn't the government do this; why doesn't the government do that?" We have created a dependency nation. We expect government to solve all of our problems and we get mad when it doesn't. Setting aside constitutional issues and our system of dual-sovereignty, people today seem to place their faith in the almighty power of government the way the ancients used to in their sun god, moon god, rain god, and no-dirty-wax-build-up god. Government is here to protect us from enemies (human enemies), foreign and domestic, and to generally keep order. Government's power is greatly diminished in the face of an immense natural disaster (that is, unless you don't mind waiting a few days and weeks and months). People no longer see "Uncle Sam," they see "Mommy" that they want to hold their hands, kiss their foreheads and make everything better. I blame people who won't do for themselves, expecting "Mommy" (or Batman) to come save them from their foolish mistakes. People who can't do for themselves will, unfortunately, have to suffer in the short-term until help can arrive unless those who can lend a hand.

I jointly blame the immediately aforementioned New Dealers, our courts, and our nation's general lack of knowledge of basic civics for being completely ignorant about how our federalist system works. The national government does not have the constitutional authority to swoop down into a sovereign state and take over, not without that state's government ceding that authority or without the president declaring martial law in the face of an insurrection. Of course people expect that the federal government can come and go and do as it will wherever it will. They've seen it happen all too often and the courts have allowed it (just ask Mr. Filburn). But that's not how our system is designed.

I blame myopic, two-faced people who want to grant government all power to do "X" and then express horrors if government takes all power.

I blame people who live in disaster-prone areas and then cry for aid when disaster hits. Do it if your want to; pay the price for your choice. I live in a tornado prone area (although we haven't had one in years, thank God). If I get whacked by a tornado, I have to make do with whatever provision I have made for myself. If I live on the Atlantic seaboard or Gulf Coast, I should expect to be hammered by a hurricane, and I should make provisions. If I live by a river bank, I should expect it to flood from time to time. If I live on a fault, I should expect earthquakes. If I live on an unstable hillside or bluff, I should expect mudslides. You get the picture. You don't want to take those risks or adequately prepare yourself for them? Go live in an area that doesn't experience those natural phenomena.

That's who I blame. Now let us never speak of it again.


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