Monday, September 05, 2005

Katrina, Race, and the Blame Game

[Updated with related links below]
Blame is not the hallmark of leadership. It is the adolescent response to tragedy.

I have very little to offer the victims of Katrina except for prayer,
donations through Red Cross and my .02 on this site. I'm stunned by the devastation, yet equally stunned by the blame emanating from all quarters - Left and Right.

This blog will not attempt to single out one person who deserves blame - Liberal or Conservative. Not only is this incredibly mean-spirited, it's dangerous and shortsighted to believe this was a failure of one bad bureaucrat.

It may make you sleep better at night to think the next catastrophe can be averted with the right people in jail. But, expending energies to determine who dropped what ball is simply unproductive and not what leaders do in times of crisis. I urge Conservatives to rise above and concentrate on more constructive activities designed to identify and fix the source of failures - not rail against their symptoms.

However, I do expect Conservatives to fight back against the steady
onslaught of demagoguery from the Left. My main criticism of the President is that he can't or won't defend his own decisions and actions. This makes him vulnerable on the issue of race in particular. "Why wasn't more done to help those who remained in New Orleans? Was it apathy (or blatant racism) because the majority affected was black?"

This is a valid question, but it is the wrong question. After much sifting through the images of suffering the past couple days, I arrived at a possible culprit and a question of my own, "Why did anyone choose to remain in New Orleans?"

For the last 40 years, poor blacks have heard the same message over and over again from Liberalism in that their success, security, safety, progress, education, and general well-being is beyond their means to control. The deck is stacked and without state assistance there is no use to try. Is it any wonder that many of the Gulf Coast's poor look to government first and to themselves last? It's not racial issue, it's an ideological matter.

I won't patronize blacks by listing the countless African-American success stories in the United States achieved by those who transcend the Liberal paradigm. However, as a philosophy, Conservatism teaches exactly the opposite. It champions self-reliance whereas Liberalism emphasizes dependence upon state solutions. What else explains why so many in New Orleans expected rescue quickly despite repeated warnings to evacuate up to 3 days before Katrina hit?

History shows us this time and time again whether it's New Orleans 2005, the
Warsaw Ghetto 1942, or Bosnia 1993, the government is often incapable of doing much in response to tragedy - natural or man made. As such, Republicans reject gun control and distrust the government to provide efficient solutions to much of anything.

Implicit in Liberalism is this belief when tragedy happens, call 911. Explicit in Conservatism is the understanding that civil society will break down, and when it does, you better have a gun.

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UPDATED:
Bob Krumm has an outstanding piece on root causes. As does Nicole Gelinas.

8 Comments:

Blogger Bohemian Like You said...

This comment placed here for the same purpose that a bartender puts a couple of his own dollars in the tip jar at the beginning of his shift. Comments beget comments.

9/04/2005 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger jeff jewett said...

thanks for showing me yours. Now stand back. I'm gonna show you mine.

9/04/2005 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

" ...as a philosophy, Conservatism teaches exactly the opposite. It champions self-reliance whereas Liberalism emphasizes dependence upon state solutions."

Of course, the real problem here is that time and again the Statist philosophy of Liberalism is the practice of both Liberalist AND *soi-disant* Conservative politicians. Those politicians who claim conservatism as their philosophy still hold to the same fundamental statist view you outline above, and voters apparently do too, since statist "conservatives" keep getting elected.

It's as true today as it was in the 19th Century when R. L. Davney said it:

"American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward to perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It tends to risk nothing serious for the sake of truth."

Or, put more generally by that great philospher, Pogo,

"We have met the enemy and he is us."

A very good reason to support the 2nd Amendment, indeed, for "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil... "

Heck, I'm almost ready for the triumph of evil, myself, from the evidence of this post. I've let most of the work be done by others cos I simply cited quotations, eh?

9/05/2005 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Bohemian Like You said...

Very insightful comment David. Thank you.

I had not heard the Davney quote, "It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader."

That about sums it up, doesn't it?

9/05/2005 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Just Charlie said...

I agree with your post in part. I believe that many people went from 'american poor' to 'third world poor' in a day and chaos ensued. I do not suppose that I know the race of those who leave entries here. I am from a middle class white family. If I find myself in a trouble, I call 911. Had I been in those circumstances, I likely would have heeded warnings to evacuate. It feels intuitive to follow the advice of those who serve and protect and have never done me wrong. But i imagine that many poor black families in that area do not have my middle class white experience. Seeds of distrust have been sown by generations of racism and abuse by the hands of those hired to serve and protect. I think those seeds have been cultivated by fear despite advances toward equality. A friend of mine who lived in that area years ago asked a local man if he could use his telephone to tell the police about a bad car accident that he had just witnessed. The gentleman with the phone responded " why would you want to do that?"
This response only makes sense if you wish to refuse help to an injured person, or if you really believe that calling the police wouldn't help. I have a hard time believing the first motive, and trouble relating to the second. I think this attitude could lead me to disregard a call to evacuate; not to mention, if I am a poor minority, I probably don't have transportation, or a place to go. This is something else that i have trouble relating to.
Again, I agree that there is no one person to blame. Tragedies happen. Life is trial and error many times. You can bet our response to the next hurricane like this is better.

9/05/2005 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous MT said...

Like every catastrophe before it and every disaster that will follow, this one has provided an opportunity for the people of this country to come together and rebuild stronger and better cities than we had before. 1-Blame UBL for 911. 2-Blame Mother Nature for tsunamis, earthquakes, and the hurricane damage, mostly in Mississippi, Florida and Alabama. 3-Blame city and state officials in New Orleans and LA for the complete and utter lack of preparation for the flooding nightmare that everyone knew was inevitable. Now lets have the residents of these areas and the private sector get on with rebuilding the Gulf Coast, and have the Gov't get back to detaining or killing Islamic extremists in Iraq and elsewhere around the globe. Border/immigration, supreme court and fuel alternatives too.

9/05/2005 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

I wonder if the head of FEMA will get a medal from Bush?

9/06/2005 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Bohemian Like You said...

A friend was kind enough to offer this correction on Dabney.

bohemian,

I saw his name misspelled in the comments section of your blog and thought you would want to know.

Dabney was perhaps the leading southern Presbyterian theologian of his time. In many ways, my denomination, the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) which broke away from the mainline Presbyterian Church (PCUS) some 30 years ago, stands in the theological tradition of Dabney and other southern Presbyterians like him.

http://www.pointsouth.com/csanet/greatmen/dabney/dab-bio.htm

Thanks Jim!

9/07/2005 08:28:00 AM  

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