Sunday, September 04, 2005

NOLA Disaster a Sign of the Times

Douglas Rushkoff -- author of many books, essays, and articles -- writes on his weblog
What those who are afraid of civil society breaking down don't realize is that civil society has already broken down! This is not a civil society we live in, but a profiteering, every-man-for-himself, oligarchy.
...
It is in the midst of a crisis that you learn the most about someone or something. During the blackout of a couple of years ago, all of us New Yorkers learned which merchants were really parts of the community, and which ones simply shuttered their doors in the face of human need.

We're learning a lot about our government, and ourselves, this week. Those black faces seem just a little bit closer to home when they're in Louisiana than when they're in Darfur. Should they? Maybe not. But they should remind us of just how real the inequity and opportunity divide in this country really are, and how readily so many of us are to blame those being flooded and starved for our crimes against them.

The comments contain further good information.

I found the post through Terry Heaton's Pomo Blog, in which Terry says
When everyday people survey the landscape that is our modern culture, they see walled gardens, locked gates and institutionalized silos of protected knowledge. There is a gut-level knowing that something just isn't right, and the ease with which people used to simply accept that which was given them is disappearing. Every time one of our vaunted institutions fails (as we're watching this week), blind trust slips further away.

Both worth a read.

Update: This is a recurring theme recently, and it's truly awful that NOLA is the living (and dying) example of the breakdown of our secure and orderly society. We've allowed our government to allow NOLA to happen. From Riggsveda at Corrente
When government abdicates the very skeleton of its duties to private interests, are we surprised to find that even the most crucial, life-or-death things only get done if they balance positively against somebody's cost-benefit analysis? These are the people who brayed proudly how they were going to get rid of their own functions, then set about proving it time and again in Interior, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Housing. And now we are surprised that they sat on their hands while thousands died? This is their ideology in action. This is who and what they are. This is George Bush's gift to you.

We have a complex society, a first-world country, one of the most technologically advanced. It's not a nation of gentleman farmers and rugged pioneers anymore. Complex, fast-moving societies (perhaps to our chagrin) require regulation, oversight, and bureaucracy.

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