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September 5, 2005

Social Power vs. Government Failure

Every single American is a decentralized relief agency mobilizing to aid the people of New Orleans. And every government agency is a choke-point, prohibiting this aid from getting to where it needs to go.

Tens of millions of Americans have mobilized in scarcely conceivable ways to aid the people of New Orleans. Money is being raised and information coordinated through the Internet. Businesses have rushed in with food and medicine and communications equipment. People have loaded up their mobile homes to go to the area to set-up kitchens. Planes, boats, and automobiles have been provided for rescue and evacuation. A full list of the actions taken by ordinary citizens to solve the problems in New Orleans would be unimaginably long.

And not a single bit of it was planned by government, ordered by government, or funded by government.

Yet at every turn these reliefs efforts have been stymied by government. Government is about the use of force. Force is what government does. It is the only thing government knows. Sometimes this can be useful, but often it is disastrous, especially when government cannot even succeed at providing law and order, which is what its grant of the use of force is supposed to be about, as is the case in New Orleans. Sadly, when government cannot employ force to do something useful, it employs it for the purpose of destruction. This is what we are seeing in New Orleans as government blocks private relief efforts at every turn.

The complete incompetence of government to do much of anything has long been obvious to anyone with the slightest ability to gather and weigh the available evidence. New Orleans is just another devastating and highly concentrated example.

We need to put government out of our misery, but downsizing the most destructive form of government – the Federal Leviathan. The best response to the New Orleans debacle would be to Downsize DC.

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