The People vs the Powerful, Harvey Edition

Americans rise to the occasion, when government has to let them.

It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.  Those few remaining members of our media who still retain a conscience or a sense of national pride have seized upon the news reports coming out of Houston as evidence that, yes, Americans are still united and can still work together despite their political differences.

Just before Hurricane Harvey hit, President Trump said:

When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. And when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together. Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people.

At the time, this greeted with the media's customary Bronx cheer. But two weeks later, even CNN is admitting that he's on to something:

Look at Texas.

Not a lot of hatred, bigotry and political backbiting going on there right now. Well, maybe there's a little backbiting, but it sure seems confined to the politicians.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, what we're seeing instead is a lot of good people looking for ways to help a lot of other good people.

For the first time in forever, they've put their finger spot on. In the main, Americans do want to get along with each other, generally help their neighbors, and overall, are mostly of good intent... but, this is not true of their politicians, who cynically stir up fights between groups in order to get votes.

The Minimal Government Model

In a very real way, a natural disaster provides an illustration of a minimal-government model for our overall society.

Notice that we don't say, a no government model, unless the local government is so feckless and corrupt that its employees don't even attempt to do their jobs.  That describes all too many of New Orleans' city officials during Hurricane Katrina; fortunately, the state and national government employees tried valiantly to keep order and, despite harrowing rumors, seem to have succeeded better than was first thought.

The functions of government that continue during a disaster are those parts of the government we most want - namely, those that protect us.  In Houston, police tried their best to save people at the risk of their lives. Firemen, doctors, emergency medical personnel, and lots of ordinary people - even in New Orleans, many of these citizens did whatever they could.

Were there any tax collectors going around on hurricane day?  Of course not!  Was anyone arrested for jaywalking or speeding?  The idea is absurd - the police had more important things to do, and they did them.

Some societies, even in parts of America, are held together only by the force of government.  That was partially true in some parts of New Orleans although this was by no means as widespread a problem as was breathlessly reported.

Houstonians, though, seem to have faced their Biblical flood with teamwork, community, fortitude, and generally cooperative behavior, all without the government forcing them to do it.  That's America at its best, when the rich and powerful and all the politicians are far, far away in a luxury bunker somewhere.

The left, as expected, is taking this opportunity to laud the importance of an all-powerful government.  They forget that, when Mother Nature is angry, there is no such thing.

No sane person wants no government at all and just about everyone believes that whatever government we do have ought to be competent.  Our uniformed services mostly know what they're doing and seem to have performed admirably in the face of Hurricane Harvey - but even with all our economic might, there is only so much they can do.

Fortunately, we don't have to rely on the government alone even though our lefty elites would like us to; the Cajun Navy shows how ordinary Americans can band together and get more done than even the most well-funded official efforts.

That's how America was built, how it was meant to be - and to our relief, apparently, it still works that way in Texas.  We will soon find out if it works in Florida.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

I imagine that the parts of Florida that resemble New Orleans will be different than the parts of Florida that resemble Houston. My assumption is that people crying for more govt aid/assistance/ " programs" will pretty much mirror the initial response of the NO folks. Folks with a " we can get it done, just get out of the way" attitude will be like Houston. Unfortunately, the media will cover the complainers not the can do folks. It was amazing how disappointed the media was when the citizens responded with " very good" when asked about the quality of Federal support. Obviously, was hey wanted a Katrina 2 type of story.

September 7, 2017 10:16 PM

"...... but, this is not true of their politicians, who cynically stir up fights between groups in order to get votes...."

It's not only cynical pols who stir up fights. Foreign governments do it too as a recent announcement by Facebook proves:

"...Tabbing the accounts as “inauthentic,” Facebook added that the accounts and affiliated ads “focus[ed] on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.”

September 9, 2017 5:49 PM
Add Your Comment...
4000 characters remaining
Loading question...