Sometimes I just can’t help but think that I must have followed Miss Alice through the looking glass. But even Wonderland has changed. You used to be able to count on ‘up’ being ‘down’, ‘black’ being ‘white’, ‘yes’ meaning ‘no’ and of course, their opposites, but not any more.
I have to be amazed at the condemnation of the way all levels of government had responded in the aftermath of the breaching of the government-made levees in New Orleans. Shouldn’t we be heaping praise on the brave men and women who humble themselves to be our elected and appointed public servants? After all, it’s just too in-your-face to be ignored. I think we have recently been witness to not one, but two terrific examples of government disaster response working perfectly—exactly as designed.
In the 9-11 instance we have found out that inter-agency turf wars and petty squabbles kept fairly precise information forewarning the devilish deed from moving into the hands of anyone who would investigate further and/or act upon it. Timely disposition of the intelligence may well have averted the deaths of 2,600 Americans, for the most part, civilians.
In New Orleans, we find that sheer stupidity combined with corruption and complacency led to the disastrous consequences that filled the news hour until the propaganda media used the onslaught of Rita to wipe New Orleans right off the front page and into the recesses of the public’s collectivist mind.
As far as the protection and physical well being of each individual being left entirely in the hands of government, I have to say it’s less than appealing to me. Consider this; on September 11th, 2001 and again on September 4th 2005, in the midst of disaster on both occasions the federal government was entirely helpless to stop the hurt and could only utter a wispy “ You’re on your own. It’s every man for himself. ‘Good luck’!”
Don’t mistake my words; I am both aware of, and awed by the efforts and accomplishments of local firefighters, police officers and emergency workers. That these brave folks knowingly put themselves in harm’s way to try to save strangers, many losing their own lives in the attempt, is one of those things that make me grateful to be in America—there are some good people here. I’m glad they chose their professions.
That having been said, and without detracting from our professional emergency workers, I have to say that I’m downright proud of the private individuals and private companies who just as quickly and competently sprang into action to help their fellow countrymen in their hour of need. I’m not just talking about the incredible sums of hard earned (after income tax) money given freely almost without request. I’m also talking about the heroic acts of regular people who in many cases were themselves caught in the grips of peril.
The Mayor of New York City, the bottom of the political totem pole, showed himself fully capable of rising to meet NYCs emergency while inspiring all of us to do what we could to help. Rudy and the people of New York had the effort under control almost immediately.
…Then came F.E.M.A..
I remember noticing that one of the first things F.E.M.A. did was to prohibit the many hands of the willing masses from digging anymore people out before they suffocated or were crushed under the weight of the debris. From then on, after the local populace had clearly stabilized the situation, ONLY official shiny badge people could cross onto the disaster site. My mind got to wondering, ‘Could any more lives have been saved if the thousands of volunteers had been utilized to remove and or sift through the debris, rather than told to just go home?” Why was the government saying that only people on the taxpayer payroll were qualified to pick up the rubble?
Why would the official federal government disaster agency refuse help? Well, let’s see…it couldn’t have been done to save lives or make sure the volunteers didn’t hurt themselves, but that’s what was floated in the mainstream press—most people bought it, but not me. I’ve been in emergency situations and I’ve always been amazed at how average people come to resemble ants in times of grave danger. Everybody who gets there before the official response teams just seems to know naturally what needs to be done, and does it. Left to their own devise, ordinary people have done some pretty extra-ordinary things. Think of what must have been going through the minds of the passengers on board the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania farm country.
So, we’re back to ‘Why?’ official responders would refuse to utilize volunteer forces. The brutal truth is obvious—money and power. It is no more complicated than that. Disasters, manmade or otherwise are nothing more than opportunities to some people and some corporate interests.
In the latest disaster, the breech of the levees in New Orleans, we see the same pattern without variation. The people help themselves, and each other, immediately, then F.E.M.A. exerts its almost god-like ‘authority’ effectively declaring Marshall Law (something ONLY existing in Socialist Autocracies) on American soil. Don’t that beat all?
To the bureaucratic mentality, it is essential that the ‘agency’ be perceived by the irrational majority as the ONLY way to get something done or, someone saved. At the same time, to that same mentality, it is also essential that the problem it was created to solve not be solved—at least until that bureaucrat qualifies for retirement. Of course, every other bureaucrat that comes on board after that is thinking the very same way. Any competition at all, by do-gooder individuals, groups, companies or even nations, must be outlawed immediately.
The problem is, the do-gooders’ have a definable goal. They set out to actually ‘fix’ the problem, save the people and guard against a reoccurrence.
Consider this, over 500 private boat owners, with experience in local waters and in many cases familiarity with the layout of the cities affected, were Johnny-on-the-spot within hours of learning the levees had been breached. They were coming at their own expense to aid their countrymen…to get them to safety. For miles the freeway was backed up when, (guess who?) F.E.M.A. officials refused to allow the rescue of American lives caught up in the consequences of shoddy government workmanship. 500 hundred private boats would have been able to evacuate the most devastated areas in a matter of hours—and they were turned away!
Bureaucratic officials had to come up with a ‘reason’ to turn those meddlesome boat Samaritans away. Here’s what they said, “It’s dangerous in there—you can’t go in”. Pardon me, but the boat people knew at least as much about conditions in the ‘bowl’ as F.E.M.A., and had accepted the risks.
This is where the boat people needed to order F.E.M.A. to stand aside. F.E.M.A. is a creature of the government, and government is the servant of the people—a servant takes orders. He or she doesn’t have any sort of legitimate authority to give them to civilians. If the levees had given way when this country was brand new (the levees would have been built privately), F.E.M.A.’s actions would have been met with force, and overcome. Stranded people would have been saved and private property protected in spite of government attempts to stop the good Samaritans.
And then what, you ask? Then people like Oprah (who put her money where her heart is with a $10 Million dollar personal donation and prodded her audience for millions more) and many other celebrities and philanthropists who continue to give so generously, will see to it that the people affected (I’m deliberately avoiding the enabler’s term, ‘victim’) are cared for.
Have you noticed how quick and how generous Americans are to give to those in need? Compare that to how long it took Congress and the President to put boots on the ground and to allocate funds for search and rescue. And then ask yourself if it was/is worth it to be stripped of half of the fruits of your labor to pay for government to forcibly prohibit Citizens from helping Citizens. After all the money wasted on F.E.M.A., it turns out it is next to being completely useless.
The glaring irony is that F.E.M.A. was charged with the power (illegally and unconstitutionally) to implement Marshall Law; which is to commandeer all of the resources (public and private) in a given area ‘for the relief effort’—but when private Citizens tried to give voluntarily, they were turned away. How many more Americans would be alive today if the government had just gotten out of the way?
For the life of me, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to reconcile F.E.M.A.’s turning away donated container trucks of drinking water, food and relief supplies. Then they order up $100 million worth of ice for displaced New Orleanians—only to fail to distribute it! Of course the latter was okay because it was funded through tax dollar aid—that means your money is passed from one bureaucrat’s hand to another’s, then another’s, then another’s—each taking a small piece of the money before it could even reach the people affected by the flood.
Once New Orleans is completely drained, and turned into the President’s re-do of FDR’s Socialist attempts at grand public work projects, what will have actually changed? Nuthin’. Americans, still in shock that their lives were swept away were put on planes for ‘re-location’ and kept in the dark as to where they were being ‘placed’ until it was too late to say “No”.
How would you like to be plucked from a devastating disaster in Louisiana and suddenly told your new home is in Utah, Oklahoma or Colorado where you would be confined to a barb-wire compound surrounded by huge numbers of overly armed military and law enforcement personnel? What, are these animals? Enemy combatants? Or are these simply peaceful Americans who were called to pay for some really stupid political and personal decisions as to living in a below-sea-level bowl created by government-made levees?
As importantly, we have to ask how it is that ‘we’ have helped them? Are they better off now? When the task is completed, will the collectivist ‘we’ have put the New Orleanians in the same circumstance as the day before the flood—or are we shooting for an extreme makeover? Will they be encouraged to go out into the world, to be productive and not a burden to anyone—or are they doomed to be government sucklings for the rest of their lives?
No matter what, the same people who were totally dependant on government (and living in the worst part of town) before the levees broke, are now and will be totally dependant again. This is the permanent underclass created by government ‘charity’. It’s really just a more sophisticated form of slavery. For them, the government ‘safety net’ is a spider’s web. For the rest of us who are forced to ‘voluntarily’ financially support government—it’s more of a straight jacket.
It is so uplifting to see the relief efforts of private companies and individuals, and so depressing to see that even here in Arizona, our own compassionate Governor decided to wait to act until she saw which way the political wind was blowing before extending a hand. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone. She promised to ‘clean up’ Colorado City in her campaign, but it took a Dr. Phil expose to get anything done. And even then, then children are still in the same circumstance. That’s the Wonderland I know.
Please excuse my digression, back to F.E.M.A.’s slow, pathetic, and entirely inadequate turnout for the event. The good news is that although the President at first tried to pass it off as a ‘super-duper’ response—he ultimately succumbed to admitting the truth and ‘taking full responsibility’ for the piss-poor performance of his administration.
I feel better now. Sort of like I did when Janet Reno ‘took full responsibility’ for the murders of 80 Americans by United States Military Special Forces on their own property, in America, who simply wanted to be left alone. What ever came of that?
Was she hanged in the public square, or sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor as payment for her terroristic deeds?
I hope to shout, somebody passed this rumor around on the Internet that she got a pension, and actually ran for Governor of Florida—but that couldn’t be right…could it?
I remember Reno being caught having made up the accusations used as the excuse to raid the Waco compound and it reminds me of Iraq. I wonder if the man in the Office of the President will take responsibility for the Iraq Attack, too?
Speaking of bald-faced lies, isn’t it interesting how all the major media told us that in a matter of hours the washed out and dazed people of New Orleans turned into roving gangs of armed thugs, raping and pillaging everyone and everything in their path. How about the baby raping(s) and numerous murders the mainstream reporters told us held the peaceful folks in terror over at the Super Dome? Turns out there were no babies raped, none, and of the four (yep, four) deaths at the Super Dome the only one not naturally caused was a suicide jumper.
One might have erroneously concluded there might be some sense to the forced confiscation of firearms—if One were a total idiot for instance. The obvious truth is, that armed gangs cannot instill fear in a culture where firearms and other means of self-defense are present in everyday life.
Is there an ‘answer’? Even though the most liberally construed reading of the ‘rules’ limiting government (any questions on the premise, please read the preamble to the Bill of Rights) could not reasonably or logically go any further than saying, “What government gives to one, it must give to all”.
We (the People) each have a personal obligation to preserve a respect for our national charter, and to guard against being emotionally swayed to put government ‘in charge’ of disaster situations. We each have a moral responsibility to help others, wherever however and whenever we can, but this responsibility can never be deemed a legal obligation.
So is there a place for government intervention in ‘disaster relief”? Maybe, but remember, the government’s charge is to provide safe passage in the public thoroughfare. Even stretching the limits, government can legitimately go no further than to set up facilities (say a tent city on a public parcel) and assist the Citizenry in the evacuation.
The Coast Guard did get it right. They followed the storm in and immediately had boats in the water to get people out of the flood. They didn’t wait for the President to assess the situation, they set about ‘fixing’ the problem. About the only other thing done right was leaving the pets to be rescued by the ASPCA, the Humane Society or caring private citizens. Need I mention that the pets have been treated far better than the government has treated the people of the bowl?
We’ll soon be treated to the news that the hurricane wasn’t a ‘category 5’, or even a ‘category 4’, but probably a ‘strong category 1’ or at most a ‘category 3’. Why is this significant? Because the levees built by government contractors were government ‘certified’ to easily withstand a ‘category 4’. Did you notice that The French Quarter, that only suffered the wrath of the storm, was only minorly damaged? So can you trust a government certification? Sure you can. How’s about a government license, does it evidence your competence?
The simple fact is, when we get government and its prime directive of self-preservation, out of the way—people can and will take care of those in need of definable assistance.
On the other hand, one need only look at the fantastic sums charitably given by private citizens (like you) to know those in need will be taken care of. I was impressed with how many celebrities actually ponied up millions of their own dollars. Benefit concerts, bake sales, car washes and auctions were pulled together with an efficiency that shamed professional bureaucrats.
If there’s a moral to this story, it would be an admonition: If you have a problem that needs to be solved, turning to government rather than family, friends and social groups—will absolutely positively make it worse. If we want to fix it, we’d better do it now, and right. Should another calamity befall us it may well stretch us all beyond capacity as long as we have the albatross called F.E.M.A. hanging around our collective neck.
Individual Freedom is not just YOUR Right to exercise—It’s YOUR responsibility to preserve!
Barry Hess is the vice-chair of the Arizona Libertarian Party and an exciting choice for Arizona Governor in 2006. He can be reached at: AZGovernor@Earthlink.Net