08 September 2005

Stop whining, and save yourself.


At least one lesson from New Orleans is this: No bureaucracy can protect you or save you. Oftentimes it is true that If you want something done right you've got to do it yourself. From that it sometimes follows that if we want our asses saved we've got to save our own asses. (Yes, it's all right for a Christian to believe that, while he cannot save himself from the judgment that follows death, there are still many things from which he can--and even should--save himself. After all, it was, apparently, all right for Jacob to save himself and his family from a famine by purchasing grain in Egypt. It was all right for Paul to save himself from an unfair trial by appealing to Caesar. If my house gets broken into by violent men, I fully intend to use either my .45 or my .357--depending on my mood--to protect my wife...and anyone or anything else. And I make no apologies.)

Of course, we all need help from time to time. So--and here's a novel idea--we can sometimes band together as a group and help each other. We saw some of that on TV going on in New Orleans. A few people decided not to wait for others to come to their rescue. All it takes is a willingness to work together, a little bit of energy, and some time.

All the time that those looters were waiting to be "saved," waiting for their government to stop "abandoning" them, was time that could have been spent banding together and helping. (I saw one woman had an inflatable raft, which she was using to carry off her booty. I suppose she could think of no other purpose for such an apparatus.)

All those looters certainly had plenty of energy and time. Many of them seemed willing enough to band together in order to rape, murder, and pillage.

They could have helpful. But they were so much less.

That, of course, raises the question: Why the looting?

Thomas Sowell (Rebuilding New Orleans -- and America, Real Clear Politics, 6 September 2005) and Robert Tracinski, An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State, The Intellectual Activist, 2 September 2005) have written two fine essays offering reasons for, or causes of, the looting we witnessed on the news in New Orleans. Their explanations, as you might imagine, differ from those offered by Harry Connick, Jr., Celine Dion, Oprah Winfrey, and others.

I understand that, "Save your own ass!" doesn't sound very compassionate, not very Christian, but let's think about this. Say that it's three hundred years ago and you and a handful of people are all by yourselves in that area. A hurricane comes along and the entire area floods. Who's going to save you and your friends? No one, that's who. You must save yourself.

"Yes," you say, "but James, we have a government now. And it is government's responsibility to save us."

Well, there are in fact three governments. There are local (i.e., city and county) governments, state governments, and then the federal government. The constituents of the federal government are the states. (Gosh! I feel like I've said something like this before.) In a federal system, the governments which have primary responsibility for saving your ass are the local and state, in that order. Why? Because you, personally, are a constituent of those governments--not the federal government.

Besides, if the government has a duty to save your ass, that means that I have that duty. How do you come to have a right against me, that I should save you...from anything.


About Me

James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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