Posted by ken on August 31st, 2005 (All posts by ken)
The premise of this, aside from the deliberate use of inflammatory language, is simple.
The purpose of society is the care and feeding of the downtrodden. Period. Everything else is either a wasteful distraction or an unconscionable diversion of resources from this overriding purpose.
Note that the thread is not (for the most part) claiming that Bush had anything to do with the hurricane, or that anyone actually intended for the city’s poor minorities to remain in harm’s way. Instead, the claim is that the Administration and the country as a whole did not devote enough resources to the evacuation and protection of the city’s poor (and planning for same), that this was motivated by indifference to the poor, and that indifference is practically as evil as malice.
Is this true?
I’ll pick out one comment to illustrate the moral premise at issue:
“If it were 100K white middle class folk wading through water to their necks or trapped in their attics, the whole country would stop and hold it’s breath …. baseball games would be suspended, church services would be initiated, etc. The powerful and wealthy are safe and sound….. they’ve left the meek and the powerless to fend for themselves.”
The first part has never been empirically demonstrated, and the last part is demonstrably false, but never mind that. Supposing that the last part is true, the powerful and wealthy are safe and sound because they fended for themselves successfully. It wasn’t just the meek and powerless left to fend for themselves – in the alternate world where no one was rescued by helicopter or given shelter in the Superdome, everyone was left to fend for themselves! This is unconscionable bigotry?
Now there are human beings that civilized people have a positive duty to protect, to feed and shelter and plan for and rescue from or use force to prevent their own foolish behavior as needed. They’re called children. So is it really unconscionable bigotry to treat the downtrodden as if they weren’t children? And it’s not bigotry to treat them as if they were children, who could not, for instance, be counted upon to consider the possible implications of living in a disaster area waiting to happen without a car?