Archive for September, 2005

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Faith & values: On-campus ministries feed needs of students

September 18, 2005

I thought this article in our local paper had some great insights.
blessings,
iggy

Faith & values: On-campus ministries feed needs of students

By KIM WOESTE
For The Gazette

Last year I was invited to do a presentation about young adults and worship for a church-related gathering.

As I prepared, I realized I didn’t have enough first-hand knowledge about the topic, so I began conducting some highly unscientific research with students at Montana State University-Billings.

Any time I could create an opportunity, I asked some questions: Do you attend church? Why or why not? When choosing a church, what do you look for? What style of worship is meaningful to you? What helps you connect with God, and what turns you away? What is needed to keep young people active in the church today?

Unfortunately, the answers I received didn’t help much with my presentation. Each student described a different expectation for worship and different hopes for the church. However, as I listened, I did hear some common themes that have proved helpful to me in my work with campus ministry.

The first had to do with food. It was something they all mentioned – that, when money is tight, food can be a powerful motivator. For many, food was the determining factor when deciding whether to attend a function.

The second common theme was a need for community or for belonging.

Each student I talked with described a desire to be welcomed. Several mentioned how important it was to be more than noticed, to be known by name. Others highlighted being prayed for or supported in tangible ways. Most acknowledged that they did not need to be friends with others, but they did need to feel companionship and caring.

The third theme was more difficult to pinpoint. Several students specified a need to discuss the new ideas they were learning in the classroom and how they were being affected by them. Many expressed frustration with sermons and identified the desire to ask questions or to talk about issues instead. Others expressed a need for being heard, no matter how radical their beliefs might sound. They were describing a desire to explore knowledge and faith in a safe environment.

A final commonality among students was a desire to be involved with something meaningful. A few students talked with evangelical fervor about saving souls. Many described a connection with social action; they wanted to work to make a difference in the world. Others simply wanted to believe their faith and their actions mattered.

While these results are certainly unreliable, I believe they help to highlight a few of the purposes for ministry in higher education. These include supporting students and providing pastoral care for persons on campus, encouraging intellectual growth that is integrated with spiritual growth and fostering ethical decision-making or faith that is put into action.

When people ask me why chaplains or campus ministers are necessary, I like to mention these common needs. I also like to remind persons that, when Catholic and mainline Protestant denominations moved into frontier lands, they established schools and hospitals alongside churches. Education was recognized as a basic human need, and denominations stepped up to meet this need.

Ministry in higher education remains a place where churches and denominations meet needs. Through campus ministry programs, students are supported as whole persons – body, mind and spirit; they are fed physically, intellectually and spiritually.

In the midst of transition, students are known by name and welcomed into a safe space for exploring faith and connecting with God and others. In a changing world, students are empowered to live in ways that make a difference.

The Rev. Kim Woeste is campus minister at Montana State University-Billings.

The Faith & Values column appears regularly in the Saturday Life section of The Billings Gazette.

Pastors, ethicists, educators or other experts who would like to write a column about faith, ethics or values for the section, should contact: Susan Olp; Billings Gazette; 401 N. Broadway; Billings, Mont. 59101. Or call her at 657-1281; fax to her attention at 657-1208; or e-mail to solp@billingsgazette.com

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Continuing Discussion about Authority the church and relational models

September 11, 2005

Here is an outtake of a discussion about…. Ahhh Josh McDowell and well morphed into this discussion. I am discussing with Dan on Tall Skinny Kiwi’s blog.
It seems to me that churches desperately want to display the same certitude that Paul and other NT writers evidently display in their writings. Paul seemingly knew exactly where to draw the lines in terms of heresy, so why shouldn’t we? Paul seemed to have many clear cut answers, so why shouldn’t we? (I realize that Ro. 14 would be an exception, even for top-dowChurcheses, although which categories fall into this passage is a matter of debate.) Overall, they read and preach with this mindset: “Here’s the scripture which _obviously_ means such and such, believe it and don’t argue about what it says [which really means, don’t argue with my interpretation]”.
Two questions. First, does the NT support such an approach? Iggy, you wrote: “I also agree with Paul that there must be some division in the Church to tell who has sound doctrine and who does not”. Could you expand on this? Is a dialogue format of understanding “truth”, through the Spirit, shown in the NT? Would 1 Co 12-14 perhaps be an example? Secondly, does the fact that we no longer have apostles make things different in our day? In other words, is dialogue, the role of the Holy Spirit, and the priest-hood of all believers that much more essential in our day?

Dan,
I want say first off that I want the Relational model to be THE model yet, I must say even within the Relational model there is to be some recognized authority.

Now, with that being said, i beleive that is up to the community of belivers to decide how that authority is plaid out as they see and understand scripture. I believe there are many RIGHT models and only a few wrong ones. But again that is my stinky opinion.

Paul of course was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as he wrote and given “authority” (oh that “A” word) by God to preach the Gospel to the gentiles. So we will find a wonderful and colorful mixture of Jew, Gentile, ex temple prostitutes, and such all joining and learning how to fellowship under the New Covenant, which I am sure many had no idea, there was an Old Covenant. And learning also new morals and ethics and many other ways to live with each other under this incredible thing we call God’s Grace and the Body of Christ.

Here are some disjointed thoughts about discussion and arguments.

  1. Paul gave warnings: Col 2:4 (be sure to read these all in context my dear brothers and sisters).
  2. We are told to not have anything to do with “stupid” arguments, now lets argue over the definition of stupid! LOL! An argument for the sake quarrelling is just stupid and wrong! and I better not have anyone disagree with that! (2 Tim 2)
  3. More on the “stupid arguments” Paul teaches that we are not avoid controversy and arguing over genealogies and such, why? I think with these things so much is up to conjecture. Titus 3:9
  4. Paul said that there must be heresy amongst us to be able to tell who has the truth. At least if one reads the KJV. Now in the NIV it says “differences” that right there makes exclusivism just plain wrong! If we have differences without discussion then how would anyone know? This is a way to be able to spot those who need “correcting” and also allow for helping in the spiritual growth of people.1 Cor 11:19

Now about a model.

In 1 Corinthians there was problems, why? Because there were people at that church! These people as I said were Jews, gentiles, temple prostitutes and such so you can only imagine how that would all mix together. There would be so many different backgrounds and stories and thinking and opinions and… You get the idea. We are called a family. In fact Jesus called us His brothers and said those who do the will of His Father were His mother, brothers, and sisters, we are family. We are even more. We are joined together lets say as Adam was “placed” in the garden, a type of Christ in the OT we are now literally placed in the Body of Christ and have become one in Christ in that way. The body has an authority, the Head…The same with us Jesus being our Head. If He lives then so much more His Body, so to me that shows the “institutional” model may not be Biblically accurate. The body inter-relationally interacts with itself. If part is ill the rest of the body suffers and also finds ways to deal and correct itself to heal itself, usually this is regulated in the brain, which is in the Head. I think often in the institutional model we lose out and not let Jesus through the Holy Spirit minister as Husband and the True Head He is. This to me shows a lack of faith. As the Body of Christ we need to learn how to trust Jesus more and not lean on our ideals of “authority”.

Authority is not bad, but think about this. All of us, even the lost are under the Authority of God. Demons are under His authority, as all creation is. So, the issue is what makes us as “Christians” above and transcend this authority? Grace and Mercy but most of all our Relationship with the Father through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is in the relationship authority is not a real issue. We learn to live and love God’s Life and Love. This is so much more than just living under authority.

Blessings,
iggy

h1

Continuing Discussion about Authority the church and relational models

September 11, 2005

Here is an outtake of a discussion about…. Ahhh Josh McDowell and well morphed into this discussion. I am discussing with Dan on Tall Skinny Kiwi’s blog.
It seems to me that churches desperately want to display the same certitude that Paul and other NT writers evidently display in their writings. Paul seemingly knew exactly where to draw the lines in terms of heresy, so why shouldn’t we? Paul seemed to have many clear cut answers, so why shouldn’t we? (I realize that Ro. 14 would be an exception, even for top-dowChurcheses, although which categories fall into this passage is a matter of debate.) Overall, they read and preach with this mindset: “Here’s the scripture which _obviously_ means such and such, believe it and don’t argue about what it says [which really means, don’t argue with my interpretation]”.
Two questions. First, does the NT support such an approach? Iggy, you wrote: “I also agree with Paul that there must be some division in the Church to tell who has sound doctrine and who does not”. Could you expand on this? Is a dialogue format of understanding “truth”, through the Spirit, shown in the NT? Would 1 Co 12-14 perhaps be an example? Secondly, does the fact that we no longer have apostles make things different in our day? In other words, is dialogue, the role of the Holy Spirit, and the priest-hood of all believers that much more essential in our day?

Dan,
I want say first off that I want the Relational model to be THE model yet, I must say even within the Relational model there is to be some recognized authority.

Now, with that being said, i beleive that is up to the community of belivers to decide how that authority is plaid out as they see and understand scripture. I believe there are many RIGHT models and only a few wrong ones. But again that is my stinky opinion.

Paul of course was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as he wrote and given “authority” (oh that “A” word) by God to preach the Gospel to the gentiles. So we will find a wonderful and colorful mixture of Jew, Gentile, ex temple prostitutes, and such all joining and learning how to fellowship under the New Covenant, which I am sure many had no idea, there was an Old Covenant. And learning also new morals and ethics and many other ways to live with each other under this incredible thing we call God’s Grace and the Body of Christ.

Here are some disjointed thoughts about discussion and arguments.

  1. Paul gave warnings: Col 2:4 (be sure to read these all in context my dear brothers and sisters).
  2. We are told to not have anything to do with “stupid” arguments, now lets argue over the definition of stupid! LOL! An argument for the sake quarrelling is just stupid and wrong! and I better not have anyone disagree with that! (2 Tim 2)
  3. More on the “stupid arguments” Paul teaches that we are not avoid controversy and arguing over genealogies and such, why? I think with these things so much is up to conjecture. Titus 3:9
  4. Paul said that there must be heresy amongst us to be able to tell who has the truth. At least if one reads the KJV. Now in the NIV it says “differences” that right there makes exclusivism just plain wrong! If we have differences without discussion then how would anyone know? This is a way to be able to spot those who need “correcting” and also allow for helping in the spiritual growth of people.1 Cor 11:19

Now about a model.

In 1 Corinthians there was problems, why? Because there were people at that church! These people as I said were Jews, gentiles, temple prostitutes and such so you can only imagine how that would all mix together. There would be so many different backgrounds and stories and thinking and opinions and… You get the idea. We are called a family. In fact Jesus called us His brothers and said those who do the will of His Father were His mother, brothers, and sisters, we are family. We are even more. We are joined together lets say as Adam was “placed” in the garden, a type of Christ in the OT we are now literally placed in the Body of Christ and have become one in Christ in that way. The body has an authority, the Head…The same with us Jesus being our Head. If He lives then so much more His Body, so to me that shows the “institutional” model may not be Biblically accurate. The body inter-relationally interacts with itself. If part is ill the rest of the body suffers and also finds ways to deal and correct itself to heal itself, usually this is regulated in the brain, which is in the Head. I think often in the institutional model we lose out and not let Jesus through the Holy Spirit minister as Husband and the True Head He is. This to me shows a lack of faith. As the Body of Christ we need to learn how to trust Jesus more and not lean on our ideals of “authority”.

Authority is not bad, but think about this. All of us, even the lost are under the Authority of God. Demons are under His authority, as all creation is. So, the issue is what makes us as “Christians” above and transcend this authority? Grace and Mercy but most of all our Relationship with the Father through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is in the relationship authority is not a real issue. We learn to live and love God’s Life and Love. This is so much more than just living under authority.

Blessings,
iggy

h1

10 Things I Have Done You Probably Haven’t

September 9, 2005

Rick set out the challenge to give 10 things I have done that you probably haven’t.
Sooooo…

Here is my list.

1. I have been married to the same woman 21 years.
2. I waited 19 years of marriage before our first child was born.
3. I owned a custom Harley… That was pictured in Hot Rod Harleys magazine (before it was renamed Hot Rod bikes.)
4. Rode with bikers for Christ, the vampires, Hells Angels and Hells Bells (the Lesbian biker group)
5. Receive regular emails from major Christian Musicians.
6. Operate an online Christian radio station.
7. Lost the feelings in my hands and feet from neuropathy (doing much better now)
8. Delivered chairs and tables to Clint Eastwoods 2nd wife. We used to see Clint all the time as we lived in the Monterey Ca. area.
9. Attended movies for free between 1995 -1997.
10. Wrestled with a four year old brown bear.

Blessings,
iggy

h1

10 Things I Have Done You Probably Haven’t

September 9, 2005

Rick set out the challenge to give 10 things I have done that you probably haven’t.
Sooooo…

Here is my list.

1. I have been married to the same woman 21 years.
2. I waited 19 years of marriage before our first child was born.
3. I owned a custom Harley… That was pictured in Hot Rod Harleys magazine (before it was renamed Hot Rod bikes.)
4. Rode with bikers for Christ, the vampires, Hells Angels and Hells Bells (the Lesbian biker group)
5. Receive regular emails from major Christian Musicians.
6. Operate an online Christian radio station.
7. Lost the feelings in my hands and feet from neuropathy (doing much better now)
8. Delivered chairs and tables to Clint Eastwoods 2nd wife. We used to see Clint all the time as we lived in the Monterey Ca. area.
9. Attended movies for free between 1995 -1997.
10. Wrestled with a four year old brown bear.

Blessings,
iggy

h1

Something to think about… The death of individualism in America

September 7, 2005

Much of this disaster was already in place before Katrina.
Just a thought.

iggy

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State by

Robert Tracinski Sep 02, 2005

by Robert Tracinski

It took four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can’t blame them, because it also took me four long days to figure out what was going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.
If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city’s infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.
Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists—myself included—did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.
But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.
The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.
The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.
The man-made disaster is the welfare state.
For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency—indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.
When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).
So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?
To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story:
“Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.
“The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire….
“Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.
” ‘These troops are…under my orders to restore order in the streets,’ she said. ‘They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.’ “
The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows a SWAT team with rifles and armored vests riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.
What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to speed away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Superdome?
Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?
My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage one night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. “The projects,” as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)
What Sherri was getting from last night’s television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of “the projects.” Then the “crawl”—the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels—gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of those who remained, a large number were from the city’s public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then told me that early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city’s jails—so they just let many of them loose. [Update: I have been searching for news reports on this last story, but I have not been able to confirm it. Instead, I have found numerous reports about the collapse of the corrupt and incompetent New Orleans Police Department; see here and here.]
There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations–that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.
There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit—but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals—and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep—on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.
All of this is related, incidentally, to the incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. In a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters—not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.
No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American “individualism.” But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.
What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider “normal” behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don’t sit around and complain that the government hasn’t taken care of them. And they don’t use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.
But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don’t, because they don’t own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.
People living in piles of their own trash, while petulantly complaining that other people aren’t doing enough to take care of them and then shooting at those who come to rescue them—this is not just a description of the chaos at the Superdome. It is a perfect summary of the 40-year history of the welfare state and its public housing projects.
The welfare state—and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages—is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.
Source: TIA Daily — September 2, 2005
Robert Tracinski is the editor and publisher of TIADaily.com and The Intellectual Activist magazine.

h1

Something to think about… The death of individualism in America

September 7, 2005

Much of this disaster was already in place before Katrina.
Just a thought.

iggy

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State by

Robert Tracinski Sep 02, 2005

by Robert Tracinski

It took four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can’t blame them, because it also took me four long days to figure out what was going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.
If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city’s infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.
Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists—myself included—did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.
But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.
The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.
The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.
The man-made disaster is the welfare state.
For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency—indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.
When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).
So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?
To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story:
“Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.
“The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire….
“Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.
” ‘These troops are…under my orders to restore order in the streets,’ she said. ‘They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.’ “
The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows a SWAT team with rifles and armored vests riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.
What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to speed away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Superdome?
Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?
My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage one night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. “The projects,” as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)
What Sherri was getting from last night’s television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of “the projects.” Then the “crawl”—the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels—gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of those who remained, a large number were from the city’s public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then told me that early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city’s jails—so they just let many of them loose. [Update: I have been searching for news reports on this last story, but I have not been able to confirm it. Instead, I have found numerous reports about the collapse of the corrupt and incompetent New Orleans Police Department; see here and here.]
There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations–that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.
There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit—but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals—and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep—on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.
All of this is related, incidentally, to the incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. In a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters—not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.
No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American “individualism.” But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.
What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider “normal” behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don’t sit around and complain that the government hasn’t taken care of them. And they don’t use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.
But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don’t, because they don’t own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.
People living in piles of their own trash, while petulantly complaining that other people aren’t doing enough to take care of them and then shooting at those who come to rescue them—this is not just a description of the chaos at the Superdome. It is a perfect summary of the 40-year history of the welfare state and its public housing projects.
The welfare state—and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages—is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.
Source: TIA Daily — September 2, 2005
Robert Tracinski is the editor and publisher of TIADaily.com and The Intellectual Activist magazine.