Fact: Government Failure. Conclusion: More Government?

Frequent readers of this blog, all 12 or so of them, are probably tired of my recent obsession with Katrina examples of how government values control over results (posts here, here, here, here, here, and here, lol).  So I will let someone else say it now:

There has been a lot of political and ideological discussions surrounding
Katrina. Clearly the political sector handled the disaster with great
inefficiency. Yet many people, including (as usual) most of the media, seem to
believe government failure somehow proves we need bigger government.

This is an odd conclusion. If the voluntarily sectors (market and civil
society) fail we hardly conclude that government must shrink. To put it another
way, if Katrina had been handled with great efficiency by the state the same
people would conclude this was an argument for even stronger government. But now
the exact opposite is also taken as meaning we need greater government. I am
curious to know if there is any world development the NYT does not see as
evidence for expanding the welfare state, at the expense of individuals and of
the civil society.

There is much more, from Truck and Barter.


  1. Anon:

    I like and understand what you are saying. Keep up the good work


  2. Sean:

    Let me second that. It can't be said enough. A socialist friend recently said, "I didn't see the private sector jumping in to handle it." To which I responded that the private sector was hardly prepared because ostensibly, the government was handling that. A free market must exist before it can serve its proper function. The problem of the levees is similar to the problem of the commons.

  3. Matt:

    I _did_ see the private sector jumping in and (trying to) handle it. During the critical first few days, they were held off at gunpoint by agents of the government.

    QED. For your socialist friend. :)

  4. elizabeth:

    Please read the fortune magazine article linked to below. The government failed and private business was well ahead of the game. We need less government not more. People must learn to look to themselves first, their family, friends and neighbors next and then the government. We, as a nation, have a huge "hands out" mentality, the government will provide, the government owes me, etc. This resulted in what?

    Love your blog -- keep it up --


  5. Michael:

    Peggy Noonan at Opinion Journal has an excellent column on government and Katrina.


  6. pb:

    These people are smitten with government. They swoon at the idea of new government programs. And they become furious if anyone suggests that their sweetheart isn't as pure and virginal as they had imagined.

  7. Soby:

    People must learn to look to themselves first, their family, friends and neighbors next and then the government.