Cause of Death: Welfare State, cont - The Origin of Theories
It seems, alas, that I was not the first commentator to make the connection between the breakdown in order which incurred in New Orleans and welfarism. That honour should go to Robert Tracinski of The Intellectual Activist, for this essay which appeared on September 2, two days ahead of me (hat tip - Steve Sailer).
In a strong piece, Tracinski writes,
"The welfare state—and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages—is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting. "
The theory is picked up again today in a piece with the pithy title 'The Deadly Legacy of the Welfare State Lies in New Orleans' by Jacob Hornberger on Lew Rockwell. Money quote -
"Here in its spectacular glory is the magnificent result of 70 years of the welfare state – of the federal “war on poverty.” Tens of thousands of people lacking sufficient money to enable them to escape oncoming disaster for just a few days – dependent on the federal government for their salvation – desperately waiting for federal officials to deliver food and water to them – and to pick them up and deliver them to government-run refugee centers around the nation.
In other words, the 70-year-old New Deal–Great Society “war on poverty” has left tens of thousands of people destitute (or dead) in New Orleans and looking to the federal government for their salvation. "
It's also picked up by Larry Elder, in a very good piece called 'Katrina, the race card, and the welfare state', on Townhall. Money quote -
"CNN's Cafferty and so-called black leaders refuse to ask basic questions. Since 1978, for example, black mayors controlled the city of New Orleans, with many of the city's top officials also black. What about their responsibility? What about the damage done by the modern welfare state, helping to create poverty by financially rewarding irresponsible behavior?"
On a broadly similar theme, Emmett Tyrrell goes for New Orleans big style in a piece called 'Not So Fast' on The American Spectator. Money quote -
"New Orleans has been a city abundant with pathology for decades. To see the bulk of the victims as black is misleading. If a similar natural disaster afflicted Appalachia the bulk of victims would have been white. More properly understood these victims are members of society's underclass, a chronically disorganized collection of wretched people incapable of governing themselves and difficult to govern in the best of times: thus the rape, the pillaging, and the firing at rescue workers that took place at the Superdome and probably elsewhere. "
Both Elder and Tyrrell touch fleetingly on the issue of culture, which is always vastly more important than race. I will be going more into this later today and tomorrow, specifically into whether there are cultural similarities between those societies where welfarism interfaces with a local culture which celebrates rampant individuality. Certainly, the west of Scotland is such a place ('Ah'm no' f...in takin' that!' is the kind of refrain heard all too often on our streets) , and it might be the case that antediluvian New Orleans had a similar kind of culture.