J. D. Heyes
Oct 31, 2012
A headline in Tuesday’s OP-ED section of The New York Times summed up the mentality of too many Americans these days and all that is wrong with it: “A Big Storm Requires Big Government.”
If by that headline you deduced that the Times’ editors were stumping for a Big Brother (read federal government) response to Hurricane Sandy, you’d be right. But then, that’s a common reaction to any incident that you believe is too big for you and that scares you to death; when you’re conditioned to die, you look for someone else to come bail you out, to come save you, to rescue you from a situation for which you are wholly unprepared.
On its surface, the Times op-ed masqueraded as a hit piece aimed at GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, bashing him for earlier comments in which he said he, as president, would seek to downplay the federal government’s disaster response role in favor of states and local jurisdictions taking the lead.
“Absolutely,” Romney said in response to a question during a Republican primary earlier this year, in which he was asked if emergency management was a function that should be returned to states. “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”
No preparedness mindset
That response, given the circumstances of the current “frankenstorm” encircling The Big Apple, rankled the Times’ editors.
“Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of ‘big government,'” they intoned, before describing Romney’s position on the matter “an absurd notion.”
“Those in Hurricane Sandy’s path are fortunate that, for now, that ideology has not replaced sound policy,” said the editorial, which hailed the Federal Emergency Management Agency as the end-all, be-all of disaster management (at least under Democratic regimes).
“Fortunate?” “Sound policy?” FEMA?
Surely the Times’ editors jest, right? FEMA?
No, they’re very serious. And very frightened.
What is evident to me, besides the superficial, anticipated and wholly stereotypical attack on all things Republican, is that the Times’ editors, and the urbanized audience they are playing to, are trying to hide a desperate, deep-seated fear that someone, someday, may actually force them to have to rely on themselves in times of dire need.
Helpless, vulnerable and weak
Never mind that Romney has actually been a governor and knows what federal policies and programs both help and hinder state governments. His message was simply this: Not every good solution comes from the labyrinth maze of centralized bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. He was saying those closest to the problem – states and localities – are better suited to handle their own business in times of trouble, not some detached bureaucrat in some remote office at some bloated bureaucracy hundreds or thousands of miles away.
This isn’t – nor should it be – about politics; state disaster agencies can also be bloated, dismissive and unresponsive. This should be about how unprepared too many Americans are in this day and age of the Nanny State, and how come too many “influential” institutions in our country seem to want to perpetuate that mindset, while demonizing anyone who dares to suggest that individuals are responsible for themselves, not government.
Prior to Sandy’s landfall, people were warned to get out, to get prepared. But many didn’t; now millions are without power and lacking in basic services. Why didn’t they just leave?
Because they don’t know how to take charge of their own situation. They don’t know how to take care of themselves; they are so used to having others “take care” of them. They figured, no matter what, someone would be along presently to provide necessities.
Newspapers like The New York Times act as enablers for this kind of dependency mindset, and in the end, that makes us a weaker nation, a weaker society.
Conditioned to die
In Missouri and other states across the Midwest, a U.S. Northern Command-sponsored exercise known as “Vigilant Guard” will begin the first weekend in November. The focus of the exercise is preparing for and responding to an earthquake originating from the New Madrid Fault located in southeast Missouri.
Agencies involved include the National Guard, FEMA, state emergency management agencies and other “first responders,” including local and state police, firefighters and medical personnel.
The catastrophic nature of such an event cannot even be predicted, but some analysts believe if it ever happens, it could push the region all the way back to the Stone Age, in terms of destruction.
Highways will be fractured and unusable. Bridges will collapse, along with cell phone towers. Entire towns could be wiped out. Flooding is likely from the nearby Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
Residents of the state and surrounding regions could be without services and effective modes of travel not for days or weeks, but for months. What will they do? How will they feed themselves? Where will they find enough water to drink? How quickly will “help” arrive? Will help arrive?
If The New York Times gets its way, these people – like tens of millions more Americans conditioned to “wait for help” in the face of societal breakdown – will not survive.
The best defense against dependency and control by others is to learn how to be independent – before disaster strikes. Have supplies. Have a plan of action. Have an escape hatch.
Do it now, and don’t let people like the editors at The New York Times talk you into becoming just another victim waiting for some bureaucrat to bail you out.