Sunday, September 04, 2005


Whenever one of my daughters, 6 and 8 years old, ask me to do something for them, most of the time I will respond by asking her if she really needs me to do what she requested or if it is something she can do herself. I am still waiting for the day when one of them will react to my question by deciding to go it alone, but my lack of success in raising independent children so far has not deterred me. I know we will get there someday. I almost always make them at least start doing what they need on their own and then I only help when they are ready to give up. I figure that if they aren’t willing to at least start on their own, then they don’t really need what they requested. I am confident that I am raising two daughters who will learn and grow to be independent.

Independent people are an asset to their family, Church, community, and society as a whole. Dependent people are a burden to all of these institutions. Those who foster dependence by creating and enabling dependence have in effect weakened our society.

A lot went wrong in New Orleans last week. Some of what went wrong could have been avoided with better planning and preparation and some of what went wrong could have been mitigated with a quicker response. Government officials, at all levels, could and should have done better, both before and after the disaster. However, government officials did not cause the disaster. The disaster was an act of nature that was made infinitely worse by the larger number of people who should have been more responsible for their own welfare and who ended up creating a much greater burden for all of the government officials trying to respond to the disaster.

I don’t know how many of the survivors of Katrina were disabled. It appears that there were many people who legitimately needed help in order to survive. However, there were many, many, more who had no problem getting on and off of busses and who had no problem getting in front of a microphone and complaining who should have evacuated the affected area when they were told to leave instead of staying and then requiring government resources and government help in order to survive.

The government response would have been much more effective if government officials only had to respond to the thousands of people who really needed help instead of the hundreds of thousands who insisted on the government to provide the help that never should have been needed. I have nothing but contempt for those who unnecessarily burden others.

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