The natural disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina has often moved me. The scope of the devastation caused by it, and especially the human misery, has often given me pause over the past few days.
However, the subhuman reaction by many in New Orleans has also given rise to anger in me. There is enough human misery there already, and no need to compound it with the general lawlessness.
AP report on general lawlessness. Unfortunately, the police are a large part of the problem. Beyond participating in the looting themselves, this quote seems to sum up their attitude:
Tourist Debbie Durso of Washington, Mich., said she asked a police officer for assistance and his response was, "'Go to hell - it's every man for himself.'"Here, we are unfortunately seeing the result of actions by so many within a society that do not respect individual rights or property rights. These are most assuredly not libertarians looting and raping. Indeed, the justifications for the looting in particular offered by so many are classic socialism. As you can see, socialism unleashed is a frightening spectacle.
Pics from the scene. Pictures are worth 1,000 words. The one that shook me to my core is of a little girl abandoned by her family, who was overjoyed at receiving bottled water.
Let's get around to teaching property rights to the people of New Orleans once the rebuilding is reasonably completed. Natural disasters can occur at any time, and it is likely that New Orleans will again see flooding and hurricanes. The misery caused by natural disasters cannot be prevented. The misery caused by humans in the aftermath can- and should- be prevented.
As a Libertarian spokesman who often engages in debate over policy solutions, I so frequently hear that a move to a more libertarian society would bring anarchy. Well, New Orleans is experiencing real anarchy right now, and it isn't happening because there is a widespread belief that one's home is his castle, that any theft is theft no matter the reason, or that it is wrong to initiate force against another human being. Look on it well. This is the result of teaching socialism, that individual need trumps individual rights.
In fact, New Orleans could have used a libertarian mindset over the last few days.