Sunday, September 04, 2005

Mark Steyn On Katrina

Over the past few days, I have read a lot of the great coverage of what's happening down in New Orleans. I have found that there has been so much written, that I really didn't have much to bring to the table. However, what I did find interesting, is how Mark Steyn once again looks at the situation and really distills a whole brew of issue into its basic absurdity:

After Sept. 11, many people who should have known better argued that it was somehow a vindication of government.

"One of the things that's changed so much since Sept. 11," agreed Vice President Dick Cheney, "is the extent to which people do trust the government -- big shift -- and value it, and have high expectations for what we can do."

Hard to see why he'd say that. Sept. 11 was an appalling comprehensive failure of just about every relevant federal agency. The only government that worked that day was local and state: The great defining image, redeeming American honor at a moment of national humiliation, is those brave New York firemen pounding up the stairs of the World Trade Center. What consolations can be drawn from the lopsided tango between slapdash bureaucrats and subhuman predators in New Orleans?

To be fair, next door, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi has been the Giuliani of the hour, and there are many tales of great courage, like the teams from the Children's Hospital of Alabama who've been helicoptering in to New Orleans to rescue newborn babies.

The comparison with Sept. 11 isn't exact, but it's fair to this extent: Katrina was the biggest disaster on American soil since that day provoked the total overhaul of the system and the devotion of billions of dollars and the finest minds in the nation to the prioritizing of homeland security. It was, thus, the first major test of the post-9/11 structures. Happy with the results?
Well, that is the crux of things now when we look at the response overall? The closer the government is to the people, the more responsive it is. Perhaps the answer is shrinking the federal government even more rather than throwing money at it?

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