Friday, September 9


I recommend two columns to you: the first is by Thomas Lipscomb, entitled "The Machine Stops," which I found referenced by Mark Tapscott in this post of his; the second is by Bill O'Reilly, which is posted at his site.

Bill O'Reilly writes:

American middle and high school students everywhere should be required to watch video tape of the poor people stranded by Hurricane Katrina. Teachers should point out that many U.S. citizens without the financial means to get out of New Orleans wound up floating face down in the water or, at the very least, were subject to gross indignities and suffering of all kinds.

The teachers should then tell the students that the local, state and federal government bureaucracies failed to protect those poor people, even though everybody knew the storm was coming days in advance. The lesson should then segue into how the most powerful nation in the world was powerless to stop 9/11, and scores of other natural and man made disasters throughout our history.

After presenting those undeniable facts, the teachers should then present two questions to the students: Do you want to be poor? And do you believe the U.S. government can protect you if you are poor?

For far too long, charlatan ideologues and dishonest politicians have sold the concept that government can and will make your life better. Well, if a cot in the Astrodome is the standard, maybe the promises are true. But if you expect the government to provide you comfort and protect you... P.T. Barnum had your number when he said "there's a sucker born every minute."

Thomas Lipscomb writes:

E. M. Forster's THE MACHINE STOPS, published almost a century ago, posits a world in the future in which the human race gives up any individual responsibility to an immense computerized system that meets every need -- until it fails.

Those who dream of the perfectibility of human institutions through increasingly, compulsorily collective government will always attack the highest levels of government when it does fail. Republicans and Democrats alike have created huge institutions like the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, and now Homeland Security, built on dreams that can never meet the excessive demands placed upon them.

The principal lesson of the Hurricane Katrina disaster and its horrific microcosm, New Orleans, is not, as the Left would have you think, that you need a Democrat in the White House when disaster strikes so the poor and infirm will be rescued and properly cared for; nor is it, as the Republicans would have you believe, that the huge, lumbering, bureaucratic, tax-fueled, misnomer of a White Elephant known euphemistically as the Department of Homeland Security will be there for you if only the front-line emergency responders at the municipal and state levels of government will just do their jobs in a timely manner; and, nor is it, most assuredly, that black people will fare far better, as the "race card" apologists would have you believe, if blacks occupy mayor's offices and governorships and the seats of power in Washington. No, the fundamental truth that emerged in the wake of Katrina is that government will founder just when you need it most, and that government is more about post-mortem commissions and blue ribbon panels, than it is about preserving life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The solution (if there is one when a crisis, man-made or natural, strikes): individual responsibility and preparedness is a starter. If it is to be, it's up to me.