Ovid (publius_ovidius) wrote,
Ovid
publius_ovidius

We're responsible for the New Orleans tragedy (amongst other things)

Yeah, this is good. There's a video of a couple of police officers looting a Wal-Mart. I must confess I am torn by this. On one hand, I can understand that the people stealing goods need to stay alive. On the other hand, I strongly doubt that those looting are restricting themselves to just the essentials to stay alive and to have the police participate in the looting while in uniform does not seem like a very bright idea.

Of course, this catastrophe could have been avoid had the current administration not decided to cut funding on New Orlean's flood control project in order to pour more money into attacking Iraq. And despite Bush claiming that no one could foresee this happening, there were many warnings including an in-depth October 2001 Scientific American article detailing what could happen to New Orleans.

One article has a fascinating quote:
Disaster and emergency experts have warned for years that governments, especially the federal government, have put so much stress on disaster response that they have neglected policies to minimize a disaster's impact in advance.

And now we get to see first-hand how well the government prepared for disaster at home.

This also points out another long-standing problem with many of our government's policies (and this is completely a bi-partisan issue): responding to problems after the fact is almost always more expensive than preventing those problems up front. For example, consider medical care. Ask any emergency room doctor whether or not hooking a baby up to life support is a better alternative to proper pre-natal care and she'll set you straight if you have any misconceptions. Of course, this is also why the our country has higher infant mortality rates than many other developed nations, despite having one of the finest health care systems in the world.

Why do we, as a nation, refuse to admit that working collectively to prevent problems just might be a good idea? It's cheaper. It saves lives. But it might, just might, include a tiny aspect of socialism! We can't have that! Never mind that people are dying. We must, at all costs, preserve Capitalism Über Alles!

Some argue that socialism never works, but there are times when socialist ideals -- people working collectively for the common good -- is not a bad thing. Somehow people get it in their heads that certain things are always bad. Of course, whenever someone says "always", there's a good chance that they're not thinking clearly or are issuing a knee-jerk response. Had I reworded most of this to avoid the word "socialism", some people would be more likely to favorably react. Unfortunately, because some ideas are inherently socialistic in nature, there are those who will quite happily forgo potential benefits lest they be tainted with Socialistic Evil.

Fuck that.

There's nothing wrong with people helping people. There's nothing wrong with the government coordinating it (read about the "free rider problem of public goods" if you don't believe this). Hell, Social Security, when its history is understood, has been one of the most wildly successful socialist programs our government has ever implemented.

Meanwhile people are dead and dying in New Orleans because the current administration wasn't interested in helping where help was needed. Thanks, Bush!
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