Friday, September 02, 2005

Slow Response to Hurricane Proof of Bad Ethics

Most of you by now should be aware of the devastating damage that Hurricane Katrina caused to the American city of New Orleans and surrounding areas. What has shocked and appalled me is the slow response (and the way some see the situation as good for the economy). To paraphrase Andrew Sullivan, the situation has morphed from a natural disaster into social meltdown. New Orleans already had a robbery rate 10 times that of the American average and considering most of those left behind were the poor it's easy to imagine how bad the situation is. In these circumstances, a libertarian would view the governments proper role as upholding civil order. We obviously don't support a massive pouring of state funds into the area which is likely to happen long afterwards.
This slow response is a symptom of how the United States often places others interests above its own. The United States has forces stationed all round the world in the name of 'global stability' or for humanitarian causes. It's own interests are often pursued ruthlessly (for example its unwillingness to surrender any sovereignity to global bodies), but since it continues to massive undertake efforts for others it hampers its own ability to help itself when necessary. Thus U.S citizens die while waiting for 1 of the 2 helicopter's avaliable to arrive. See here for more proof:

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

"The system is in great shape, but the levees are sinking. Everything is sinking, and if we don't get the money fast enough to raise them, then we can't stay ahead of the settlement," he said. "The problem that we have isn't that the levee is low, but that the federal funds have dried up so that we can't raise them."

I await to see if Americans donate as much money towards private charties for New Orleans as they did for the Tsunami. I highly doubt so.

[Update: If you needed more convincing on how we do not face a serious oil problem see these articles by Thomas Sowell here and here]


At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 2:14 AM, Blogger Zenskar said...

Yes, cutting federal spending on infrastructure was absolutely mad in this case. However, given that the main role of the US government is to act as a guarantor and enforcer of an international economy dominated by US interests, it is not surprising to see 200,000 poor people given short shrift.

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what made me think when watching it on the news, was comparing it to a similar disasters in India a few weeks ago. Lots of flooding, people cut off etc The news showed pictures of people on their roofs like in the southern states, but what happened was that the air force was dropping food/water packages (i noticed because they looked like the people were going to get flattened by 40kilos of rice). So i thought, why isnt this happening there? Sure a lot of staff are overseas, but really, it takes a pilot and some one to drop the bags of food. So i dont think lack of resources given other commitments is the major problem here, poor organisation/planning is much more responsible. Hopefully this will break republican/christain stronghold on the south :)


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