29 August 2011

Further strangeness with Dr Paul

Uh, Mr Paul, history is kind of important to know the basic facts about before you start in on the standard anti-government rants

Since you know, Galveston used to be a relatively large, even cosmopolitan city on the Gulf Coast up until 1900. And now it is noteworthy mostly because of its unique privatized social security setup. But not because it survived and thrived in the face and wake of a massive hurricane, in 1900.

There are legitimate critiques of FEMA versus private charity and local or even national non-governmental responses to major disasters like hurricanes (see: Katrina) without going to the "balls to the wall pretend game" that no disaster was ever very terrible prior to its existence. History is full of counter-examples. And if you pick out 1900 specifically, you should at least be aware of the actual example that occurred in 1900.

This is exactly the sort of thing that gets quoted around to show that you're some sort of weirdo who doesn't know what he's talking about. And with a good deal of justification herein. Maybe the basic point about FEMA's relative uselessness is true. But it certainly isn't true that Galveston did just fine without it and one shouldn't go around claiming that it did as a result because you'll look like you're talking nonsense instead of generating a sensible critique.

Further point: The seawall was built by the Army Corp of Engineers, not by the local people per se. And this was well after the hurricane had already leveled the city. The entire city was raised up when it was rebuilt, a massive civil engineering project itself. Survivors were, for a time, living on US Army surplus equipment (tents mostly for shelters for example). Maybe this is considered all with the absence of government interventions, but it seems rather dramatically not to be the case.
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