Gut Rumbles

September 06, 2005

I'm going to post the whole thing

This is a long link, but you need to read it. It's about one of those "forbidden" topics we just don't discuss today for fear of being called a racist. But it's altogether true:

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State

by Robert Tracinski
Sep 02, 2005

It has taken four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it has also taken me four long days to figure out what is going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists--myself included--did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over the past four days. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency--indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.

When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).

So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?

To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story:

"Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.

"The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire....

"Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.

" 'These troops are...under my orders to restore order in the streets,' she said. 'They have

M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.' "

The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows National Guard troops, with rifles and armored vests, riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.

What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to drive away, frightened for their lives?
What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Super Dome?

Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?

My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage last night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Chicago, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the
largest high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)

What Sherri was getting from last night's television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of "the projects." Then the "crawl"--the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels--gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of the 300,000 or
so who remained, a large number were from the city's public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then gave me an additional, crucial fact: early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails--so they just
let many of them loose. There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two
populations--that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.

There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit--but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals--and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep--on whom the incompetent
administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

All of this is related, incidentally, to the apparent incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. But in a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters--not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.

No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American "individualism." But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.

What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. They don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.

But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.

The welfare state--and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages--is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.

Bleed all over me with your leftist heart telling me that none of that is true. When you become accustomed to living on a hand-out, nothing is off-limits. It's ALL FREE!!!

Thank you, LBJ.


I just posted this on my blog before visiting yours. It was well put.

Posted by: Brandy on September 6, 2005 10:28 PM

We've brought in 10,000 refugees to Austin, just down the street from me. A lot of us here are worried about the screening issues with these people. I don't want an extra few hundred criminals moving into the city. That's just a fact.

And I don't know if it's true, but I heard today that over the last several days Texas has had 25,000 new applications for food stamps or our "Lone Star Card."

Do I want that for my state?

No, sir.

Jason H.
Austin, Texas

Posted by: Jason H. on September 6, 2005 10:35 PM

Where was this linked from?

I got it in an email today, with no linkage...

Posted by: rightisright on September 6, 2005 10:35 PM

The Great Society is like the Energizer Bunny;

It just keeps failing on and on and on----

Posted by: TomR on September 6, 2005 10:45 PM

Did you see the crap I got for saying a lot of the same things?

Posted by: Juliette on September 6, 2005 11:40 PM

Giving credit where credit is due (*ahem*):
The Intellectual Activist

Posted by: Desert Cat on September 7, 2005 12:16 AM

What all of you said. In "spades".I would have written something like that post somewhere if I had the gift of writing, like Rob. I don't. But that post said exactly what I would have if I could construct something coherent like that out of what I've been thinking. Especially scrapiron's take. I'll stop now before I get abusive and politically incorrect.

Posted by: Horrabin on September 7, 2005 02:52 AM

The standard reply from the left when they have no answer but to admit they are wrong is to call it racism. And when they are pinned by their ears they start to use insults. The facts are facts no matter how MSM and the left twists the news, the fact is that it was black looters taking the 5,000 dollar TVs and 200 buck Nike shoes to wade the water in. Not only were they looters and thieves they were stupid looters and thieves. No electricity and that waing water makes those five buck shoes that cost 200 come apart at the seams within a day or two.

Posted by: GUYK on September 7, 2005 07:49 AM

I have a similar observation of how LBJ basically consigned black children to a life of poverty with his "Great Society". What this referenced piece fails to mention is that to get on the public dole you have to pump out generally unwanted, unloved, kids on a regular timeline. These kids don't stand much of a chance and grow up thinking society owes them something. Wrote this in 1997 but it still applies


Posted by: bronson747 on September 7, 2005 08:37 AM

Exactly. Most of us would have picked up our kids and walked to safety if no other means was available. Never would I stand there, perfectly capable and cry and scream "help me, help me now". "Gimme gimme", the mantra of the welfare state.

Posted by: hoosierboy on September 7, 2005 09:46 AM

As the only bleeding liberal around here, I have so much to say about this that I'm going to say nothing except - NOTHING is Altogether true.

That's blind stubborn opinion and it happens on both sides of the fence. A lot of what we all believe is false for various reasons. Doesn't make anybody a bad person, but it doesn;t make anybody freaking right all the time either.

The truth is always found in the grey spaces between the black and white world we try to paint to reassure ourselves that everything is okay.

Posted by: Libby on September 7, 2005 10:55 AM

I read an article that said that when the helicopter lifts were attempting rescues in the 9th Ward (one of the poorest areas) some of the people who were stranded wouldn't get on because they didn't have any money and were afraid they wouldn't be able to pay the bill for the ride.

Posted by: Abby on September 7, 2005 11:37 AM

What all of this demonstrates, once again, is that the line between "civilization" and "chaos" is a very, very thin one.

Posted by: maggot on September 7, 2005 11:49 AM

Here's the link where I originally found the Tracinski article:
I only gave the link. Glad Rob posted the entire essay.

Posted by: Indigo on September 7, 2005 01:11 PM

We got quite a few here in Houston and of course, the only ones getting news coverage are folks like one gal who appeared on the morning news show in a nice career outfit. She had apparently worked in an administrative position in the NOLA school district and was looking for a similar position here. She said she had a degree and was good at what she did. She seemed poised and articulate. I can hardly believe she would be among those arriving on a bus from NOLA but in fact that is how she got here with her two small children. I hope that she represents the rule rather than the exception with regard to those Houston is sheltering. But I am afraid she probably is not.

Trouble with the Reliant Center, it's located just a block away from a strip of motels that are known to house crack "ho's", dealers and general riff raff. Great. Just great.

Posted by: Joni on September 7, 2005 03:08 PM

I think I may have lost my BlogDaddy over posting the same thing today. But I believe every word of it. Just throwing money at the problem won't make it go away. In fact, that's what caused the problem in the first place.

Can we bring back the Civil Conservation Corps. and the WPA now?

Posted by: Omnibus Driver on September 7, 2005 04:36 PM

Can we bring back the Civil Conservation Corps. and the WPA now?

those programs ask that those displaced do the work of rebuilding - I wonder if this generation who have grown up under the loving care of the nanny state will raise a fuss about being asked to work in order to restore what they've lost? Will they demand that "the government" do it; it's not their job.

I figure they will just all get together with the help of Jesse Jackson and file a class-action lawsuit claiming discrimination, anyway.

Posted by: Trish on September 7, 2005 04:53 PM

Trish, my dad worked for the Civilian Conservation Corp, and if he was alive today, he'd be telling all the displaced citizens to go help clean up the city, and get paid - he was paid $30.00 a month, sent $25.00 of it home to his mom & dad.

Good suggestion, but, I don't see it happening...

Posted by: Bonita on September 7, 2005 05:05 PM

Yeah. I completely agree with this article. You don't have to blame it on any race. Just look at the television and see who is doing the robbing, looting, killing and crying for handouts. The race speaks for itself. Then notice the few that are doing everything they can to help. That race speaks for itself as well. The difference is not hard to see unless you're completely fucking blind.

Posted by: Assrot on September 7, 2005 06:33 PM

You know what's really sad. That Bush is sitting around at fundraising parties making fun of the "dumb crackers" (that's what Bush calls you - not me) that make his agenda possible. They turned NOLA into a fucking war zone. They just barred the press and they're not picking up the bodies. What do they have to hide?

God forbid you find out I'm right when some disaster hits where you live and your grandma dies because you couldn't get to her and your government that was supposed to help is too busy passing out fat clean-up contracts to bother to show up and get her cold body before the rats do. And they won't let you in to do it yourself.

You're playing right into their hands when you promote this shit. Welfare queens are everywhere and up North, there's a lot of white ones. But not every poor person is on the dole. And thousands of hard working maids and janitors and dishwashers died because they couldn't afford to get out until they got their $80 paycheck and their white boss made them work until Sunday morning and didn't offer to pay them early so they could get out.

The roots of poverty go way deeper than welfare and anybody that assumes that everybody who's poor chooses it as a lifestyle is just as elitist as any Boston liberal.

Posted by: Libby on September 7, 2005 06:47 PM

Talking about the Civilian conservation corps reminds me of the case in Newburgh, NY. They had a big snow storm and the city tried to get the people on welfare to help shovel the snow. They welfare peple sued the city and won. The city cannot force the welfare people to work for the money they get.

Libby should try to explain that one. If they are capable of doing this, then they should pitch in. If they aren't willing to, then f**k'em.

Granted there are a lot of people who work and are poor. My parents were when I was a small kid. However, we never would have done what these people did. We would have at least made an attempt to get out. When you start a cycle of dependency then you end up with chronic dependents. That is what I blame the liberals for. I can remember when I lived in Baltimore back in the 1960's and the city even paid cab fare for the welfare people to come downtown to get food stamps and welfare checks. That is what Libby is in favor of with her programs.

Posted by: dick on September 7, 2005 10:43 PM

The CCC and WPA built a hell of a lot of infrastructure in this country, taught useful skills and gave people a lot of pride in their accomplishments and an ability to take care of themselves and their families. Nobody was forced into it by law -- but many, many people volunteered to take part.

What would be so wrong about giving people skills, pride and a paycheck, and getting infrastructure rebuilt in return?

Posted by: Omnibus Driver on September 7, 2005 11:56 PM

Dick, that kind of crap is why I left Newburgh two months ago to come back south.

A few things to clear up: the rumors that prisoners were released is an urban legend, not fact. I've been covering the Orleans Parish Prison situation since before landfall. All 7,200 immates were transferred to other prisons in Louisiana, proving that the Orleans Parish Prison warden might be the only competent public official in the state of Louisiana. Expect him to be fired for it soon.

Also, while Tracinski has the general thurst right, I don't think he did as good a job of explaining it as has Bill Whittle in his excellent essay Tribes. You choose what you are going to be, and can climb out of the damndest circumstances. That is what I like about the human animal. Of course, you can also sink to the lowest levels of depravity, and we're seeing in now in parts of the Deep South.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee on September 8, 2005 08:48 AM
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