Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Battling Against the Floodwaters of the "state of nature"

Fire of Liberty
Thomas Sowell has a great piece out today that notes that we can always rebuild cities made out of wood, brick and mortar but there seems to be a moral decay in our society that will take more time than it will take for the water to recede. In the moments following the flooding of the Crescent City we observed folks reverting to a state of nature where every man is for himself and disregards the livelihood of their fellow man which was clearly evident when folks decided to go wild in the streets looting and spraying bullets at rescue workers rather than offering a helping hand. Just see what Sowell argued in his piece:
During good times or bad, the police cannot police everybody. They can at best control a small segment of society. The vast majority of people have to control themselves.

That is where the great moral traditions of a society come in -- those moral traditions that it is so hip to sneer at, so cute to violate, and that our very schools undermine among the young, telling them that they have to evolve their own standards, rather than following what old fuddy duddies like their parents tell them.

Now we see what those do-it-yourself standards amount to in the ugliness and anarchy of New Orleans.

In a world where people flaunt their "independence," their "right" to disregard moral authority, and sometimes legal authority as well, the tragedy of New Orleans reminds us how utterly dependent each one of us is for our very lives on millions of other people we don't even see.

Thousands of people in New Orleans will be saved because millions of other people they don't even know are moved by moral obligations to come to their rescue from all corners of this country. The things our clever sophisticates sneer at are ultimately all that stand between any of us and utter devastation.
I'd say that this continued lurch back to a "state of nature" is something that society as a whole needs to address. It time we took society back to the days when a person handed a helping hand to his neighbor in a time of need rather than looking out for themselves like folks of this generation tend to do. (I'm not implicating everyone but segments of our society seems to be trending this way.) Let's return to those days before our society begins to decay like the detritus left over from Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. Luckily, we have individuals like Thomas Sowell who make such observations public and advocates such an inward look of our society.

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