Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Who Needs Government When We've Got Google and the Happy Day Elementary School to Provide Relief?

Anne Applebaum has an op-ed in the Washington Post today that conservatives will no doubt be e-mailing back and forth to each other before taking a break to change their urine-soaked underwear.

Her argument? Katrina proves that we don't need no stinkin' government because her kid's elementary school and Tony Danza and the local bar are all taking up collections to help out. In fact, she says, when the government actually tried to help, they couldn't do squat because one bureacracy didn't know what the other was doing and everyone wanted to be in charge. Big government is ineffective in comparison to all the ready-made relief workers across our great land who are just waiting for their opportunity to jump in flood waters and rescue an 80-year-old woman in a wheelchair.


Unless Ms. Applebaum is planning on building levees, running her own fire station, hammering out new interstates in her spare time and changing singlehandedly into an elite fighting force that will handle all our military obligations at home and abroad, we're going to need some government.

To say that because FEMA sucks that a FEMA shouldn't exist is plain stupid.

The problem isn't big government, it's bad government. (George W. Bush has worked pretty hard at creating big government anyway -- he just talks a good game while leaving deficits in his wake that someone else will have to deal with.) A crappy response to a natural disaster doesn't mean that government stinks, it means the people you've got governing stink, like a certain former fired head of an Arabian horse group that got his job by knowing the right people because he sure as hell didn't know crap about what was going on even when CNN was screaming that desperate people were holed up in the New Orleans Convention Center.

So I thought that article was annoying.

@ heydudewhoa, Colin says: "The government didn't lack the resources to respond to Katrina, it lacked any iota of intelligence. It put up stupid regulations. It blocked people from helping. And really in a nutshell that is the problem with government. It isn't evil, it's just stupid"

@ Tapscott's Copy Desk: "it's hard not to conclude that Hurricane Katrina's worst long-term impact may yet prove to be the boost it is giving to those who want Washington bureaucrats telling the rest of us how to live our lives."

@ The Useless Tree: "From at least the time of the Reagan administration, when the argument that "government is the problem" gained wider currency, we have increasingly lost sight of the fact that certain public goods - things like the provision of security, the evacuation of the sick, the coordination of overall relief efforts - cannot be adequately provided by private interests."