Monday, September 12, 2005


Disaster and Subsidiarity

The Left Has it Reversed

The basic principle of subsidiarity is that government functions must be performed at the lowest level in the chain of governance possible. That principle is built into our Constitution.
I have observed that many Leftists, most notably Michael Moore in his recent pronouncements on New Orleans and Katrina, are assuming the exact reverse of subsidiarity.

Their chain goes as follows:

Federal Government -- total responsibility for everything that can happen.

State Government -- responsible only to call an emergency and ask for Federal government help.

Local Government -- only responsible to ask for help to the State and Federal governments.

Individuals -- wait for help from someone. Take no personal responsibility.

This is a recipe for disaster, as we have seen in New Orleans. Reverse the chain, and you get:

Individuals -- responsible for their own safety and that of their family. Must heed the warnings of government to evacuate. Most citizens could have WALKED out of the city before the levees broke. Few heeded the warnings, and fewer still walked out.

Local government -- responsible for the safety of their citizens, for planning for disasters, and for providing leadership in the event of a catastrophe. The NOPD was ineffective, all 1300 of them, in stopping looting and shooting. The Mayor not only did not strongly call for evacuation early, he didn't impose martial law, which would have dampened the looting quickly. Further, he didn't even follow his own plan for emergencies such as Katrina, and all he could do is scream for Federal help when it isn't his role to do so.

State government -- responsible for the safety of all citizens in the State, and for supplying aid and disaster relief, including calling out the Louisiana National Guard, which had the troops available to respond, but were not called out until way late. Responsible to call for Federal Help when State resources are inadequate to the emergency. This call came far too late, even after the President pleaded with the governor to do so.

Federal government -- responsible to the people of the US for their safety and defense, subject to the posse comitatus rules and the sovereignty of the individual States. When called and help was clearly requested, they Federal government responded and brought the situation under control, although by that time, lives were lost due to the delays. The President had to order the State governor and the city Mayor to declare the emergency and begin the evacuation. Such a fool's game!

It became obvious that Mr. Brown from FEMA was not seen as effective in his job, and he was replaced by an Admiral, who had the command and logistics experience to handle the situation.
I believe the Left has politicized the disaster in order to blame Bush for it all. How asinine!

It became obvious that Mr. Brown from FEMA was not seen as effective in his job

Not seen as effective? Or 'not' effective?

Many people from all aspects of the political spectrum were at fault here - from individuals (hello, you live BELOW sea level.. if a Cat 3 or 4 approaches.. leave) to the Feds -

But do you really feel Brown did a sufficient job and therefore shouldn't have resigned?
I used the word "seen" advisedly, since there are few verifiable facts to back up his performance rating either positively or negatively. There was a mad scramble to find a scapegoat, he was the most vulnerable of the Feds, and the MSM needed a Fed to hang in order to smear Bush. When the full story is out, I think Brown will be at least partially vendicated for what he did and tried to do with those miserable Louisiana politicos. But the damage to him has already been done.

Did you read the report that Bush had signed all of the papers to allow the military the Feds to come into NOLA before the storm hit, but the governor wouldn't sign them? This tied the Feds up terribly right up front.

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