Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hurricane blowback and re-primitivized man

By Aussiegirl

Mark Steyn wrote Sunday about the "reprimitivized man" in sub-Saharan Africa witnessed by another author on his visits there, where "citizens" roamed the streets raping and killing. Steyn notes that we recently saw "re-primitivized man", not in Somalia or Liberia, but in Louisiana.

And indeed, it was as if we were in one of those Mad Max kind of post-apocalyptic movies in which order and civilization have broken down and roving armed bands of thugs terrorize and victimize the few survivors who have to band together to defend themselves.

And while it is outrageous to us that we find such primitive violence among us, can we really be surprised? This is the fruit of decades of welfare and a culture of hedonism and irresponsibility that has permeated our recent history. Tim Birdnow has some eloquent thoughts on this subject in his latest post entitled "Jihad of the Divine Wind", which are instructive. Drugs too have done their part. I would wager that most of those maniacs who were shooting at rescuers and helicopters and rampaging through the streets were "off their meds" and needing a fix -- which is why they were trying to break into hospitals and raiding drugstores.

In addition these primitive gangs wage a kind of tribal warfare on a daily basis in the inner cities, but generally the cops usually have it under some semblance of control during normal times, and usually the gangs confine their killing to one another, or at least to the
neighborhoods in which they live. How often do we read or hear about an innocent child or other person cut down by a stray bullet in a gang shootout?

To the lawless and the violent this was a dream come true. Think of it -- what a golden opportunity -- an entire city to call their own -- to roam at will -- taking what they wanted without fear of arrest or capture. No wonder they were trying to keep any rescuers out, the rescuers represented civilization, something they did not wish to rejoin because they would have to relinquish their temporary status as king of the jungle. Survival of the fittest -- the law of the jungle -- human nature at its most savage. It's always there just below the surface in a certain percentage of the population, mostly young, unacculturated males. Think of Romeo and Juliet. It even existed in Shakespeare's time.

In the animal kingdom young, unattached males are always troublemakers and are driven from the group. Elephants do it -- chimpanzees and apes do it.

I don't own any firearms as I am not familiar with using them. But, having witnessed this, I am seriously considering purchasing some sort of weapon to keep in the house. Any suggestions for types of firearms suited to the inexperienced klutz would be appreciated.

Forewarned is forearmed. I think we might as well admit that the violent, like the poor, we always have with us, and we are only a stone's throw or a catastrophe away from anarchy and lawlessness, particularly now.

There was a time when people lived even in inner cities with little or no crime. A time when people slept outdoors in the parks in summertime to escape the heat, and there was one cop who walked the beat, but even he was unnecessary because everyone was well behaved. This was a common occurrence in nearby Baltimore, and there is a charming scene depicting this in Barry Levinson's "Avalon", a marvelous evocation of his childhood in that Maryland city.

The first mistake that was made in New Orleans in regard to this was not to declare martial law and to send in the National Guard immediately to patrol the streets.  Once order was ceded and anarchy prevailed it was difficult to reassert. Even today there are reports that calm and order have not been restored to all parts of New Orleans.

Our society is barely holding together from top to bottom -- witness the polarizing and fracturing of our public culture in the aftermath of this national disaster. We have a prevalence of incivility even among our leaders. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana publicly declared on nationwide television that she would punch George Bush in the face if he dared to criticize her or Louisiana's response. Mayor Nagin had a public meltdown on a radio program in which he used vulgar profanity and cursed everyone who wasn't hastening to rescue the city after he had failed in his public duty. We have lost elemental decorum even at the highest levels of our society. What can we expect from the lowest segments then? In spite of the terrible catastrophe that has befallen our country, the usual suspects can only see it as another opportunity to jump on the bandwagon to blame Bush and to point fingers at each other.

Meanwhile the real problems go unaddressed. Thank God we have the army and men like General Honore. Thank God this country can still produce the fine men and women of the armed forces and train them to be as efficient and capable as they are -- we need our larger society to be as disciplined and as organized and cohesive. It was only when the military finally moved in that people started being rescued and things began to really pick up steam.

There is plenty of blame to go around and issues that desperately need to be addressed before the next big thing hits. The DHS is a nightmare bureaucracy with hundreds of pages of procedures to be followed in various emergencies. The problem is by the time someone locates chapter
120, sub-paragraph b, and decides which agencies need to approve which step -- people are dying and help remains days away.

FEMA is now toothless to prepare for hurricanes and disasters because it has been subsumed by DHS. Rather than staying tuned to radio and TV reports which are coming directly from the scene, the bureaucrats in Chertoff's office are having briefings and meetings which bear little resemblance to the reality on the ground. FEMA Director Brown stares blankly into the camera and claims that his agency was unaware of the
predicament of tens of thousands of people waiting for evacuation at the Convention Center -- when any Fox or CNN viewer had been seeing them for days. Chertoff's primary focus has been reorganization -- reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic -- can you imagine what the bureacratic flow-cart of responsibilities looks like? Ergo -- no one, ultimately, is in charge.  

What we have in the Department of Homeland Security is a bureacratic behemoth which leaves our homeland completely unsecure. It is bigger -- but sadly -- not better. We need a rapid reaction force to respond to emergencies with a turnaround time a bit faster than a giant ocean liner.

Well, this leads me to other thoughts. It reminds me that aggression is in the nature of the male. Sometimes it is channeled into beneficial endeavors -- the desire to subdue science and nature, for instance, leads to advances that benefit mankind (perhaps that's why most scientists are men -- and women have mostly excelled in writing over the years).

But violence and aggression are as old as man himself. This is one of the fundamental differences between liberals and conservatives. Liberals often have the Rousseauian notion of the "noble savage", man
as perfect and pristine in his natural state and that it is culture which corrupts him.

In the musical South Pacific there is a song about bigotry in which the lyrics go something like -- "You have to be carefully taught to hate" -- when more than likely it is in human nature to hate or abhor that which is different from yourself. Children are often little savages who fear or dislike anyone who looks different and who care little for other people's feelings. They have to be taught compassion and consideration. Although everyone is different -- some people do seem to be born with more natural compassion than others.

But from the very first story of the very first family we are told that Cain slew his brother, Abel. This tale is there to tell us something, that part of the fallen nature of mankind is this tendency to murder and violence. We need religion and culture to keep these tendencies in check. This we have failed to do in our welfare, anything goes society. Given a nationwide catastrophe, we are in trouble.

I'm watching the scenes of the hurricane aftermath and I am still stunned at the scope of this disaster. We may have tens of thousands dead. And the problems are just beginning -- we are not even out of the
first stages of recovery and rescue yet. Yet already Texas and neighboring states are straining with the burden of so many refugees. This is not a typical hurricane -- this is a catastrophe of monumental proportions -- there are going to be many unforseen problems that will arise.

Pray that the terrorists do not strike now. But be sure that they are watching -- and learning -- they now know that breaching dams and levees is their easiest way to wreak long-term economic and damaging havoc.

Between Afghanistan, Iraq and this emergency, our military is stretched to the breaking point. And we have Iran, and N. Korea to contend with. I have never felt quite so vulnerable, nor have I felt such a sense of unease that the other shoe is about to drop and that this may just be the beginning of something even bigger. Pray for the leadership we need right now. I'm truly feeling for the first time since I came to this country that we are in peril -- probably the biggest danger since WWII.

Or maybe I've been watching too much Geraldo.


At 4:54 AM, Blogger TJ Willms said...

Outstanding post Aussiegirl,

After reading it, I’m feeling all vulnerable now!

I have often wondered how far fetched “Hollywood’s” post apocalypse scenarios were and New Orleans has provided us with that answer. The “reprimitivized man” came bursting forth at the first available oportunity, it does apear the “femenization” of the american male has proven to be another failure of left wing social doctrine. I suspect that most of these thugs were not thoroughly imbuded with concern for their fellow man prior to Katrina. They were only restrained by the prospect of somebody bigger,badder, and more heavily armed appearing around the corner and putting them in their place.

I saw a television interveiw with Mayor Nagin of New Orleans, this guy was (shuck’in and jive’in) in the greatest tradition of oily small time southern politicians. It seams that every one but him is doing things wrong. It probably won’t be long before the democrats push him onto the national stage as the “hero” of New Orleans disregarding the fact that it was his inaction in large part helped to create the the human tragedy within this natural disaster.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Billy D said...

At this point, the terrorists will also know that the USA is totally unable to take care of itself, it's citizens are weak and emfeebled, and it takes almost nothing to break down this society to the point of anarchy.

Every single peron right now needs:
a 30 day supply of water and canned food/dry goods.
One scoped rifle, one shotgun with both slugs and birdshot, and one pistol, with as much ammo for all as they can carry.
And get to know your neighbors, and create coalitions amongst you. Strength and safety in numbers.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Aussiegirl said...

Thanks for the comments, TJ and Billy D. Perhaps we could just start calling him Naggin' Nagin for short -- as all he's doing is running his trap, yadda, yadda -- has he gone out in one boat to rescue one person -- or even a dog? Has he tried to talk those people who still refuse to evacuate into some sense? No -- he spends his time whining on 60 Minutes and the radio.

And Billy D. -- sounds like you are well prepared. If only I knew something about guns I might get on that I could manage to use without killing myself first. I almost think we should make a course in gun handling mandatory in our country. there's no question that we cannot rely on government to help us when things get tough. They are too busy pointing fingers and avoiding responsibility.


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