Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The real lesson will be missed


As we gain some distance from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, I am afraid that we will miss the most important lesson which could be gained. The most important lesson is that we as Americans cannot rely on our government to do everything for us. Our federal government is already entirely too big and cubersome. Look at how long it took it to respond to the tragedy. Even though a lot of people don't want to hear it, the folks in Washington cannot and should not know what is best for you in Mississippi, New Orleans, or in Durham North Carolina. The intrusion of government in affairs that people should handle themselves has increased expenditures since the 1960s. The mayor and the governor of Louisiana failed to provide an adequate evacuation of their citizens in part due to the belief that Washington would handle everything.

The poor citizens of New Orleans were left to fend for themselves to find food, water and shelter. Their belief in government doing everything for them cost some of these citizens their lives. Again, I ask where were these people families? You cannot tell me that most of these people did not know of anyone who had access to a car in a country where most families own 2 to 3 cars! The overriding belief that government will take of you caused citizens not to prepare for natural disasters including taking out flood insurance policies. FEMA will pay for it, why should I buy insurance in a known hurricane prone, low-lying area? The ineptness of government has been shown time and time again in this crisis. Many private organizations were able to provide relief within 24 hours after the hurricane strike. These organizations probably helped more people since the crisis than any of the government programs. When will we learn that people closest to the scene or situation usually can do it better, more efficiently and less expensively than the federal government. These groups usually make sure that the people directly affected get the help not some bureaucrats.

The problem with big government is that it separates us as human being. As a Christian, I am expected to do good works with my family and community. However, most people expect the government to provide good works for them. The government doles out checks which keeps people from seeking work or to gain job skills. It has become the father in many low-income areas, thus absolving men from their responsibilities. This also provides a disincentive for women to abstain from sex before marriage. People no longer have to watch out for their aged parents or little children because the government will take care of them. The expansion of government has hurt the connectiveness that we need to maintain a decent society. People now can go off and do their own thing, be immoral, be selfish, be crude and unforgiving. In the aftermath of this disaster, there will be billions of government money given away, including a payout to the victims similar to 9/11 (which was a huge mistake). The calls for a further increase in government power will be heeded, and there will be little accountability for any of the mistakes and future mismanagement of government officials. Yes, we should help those people get back of their feet. However, it should be handled through private donations. There needs to be accountability toward where the money is going, but there won't be and that is the lesson lost here....

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