OPINION – Now that Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, those who are paying attention can point to two crystal clear lessons that the storm brought with it.
The first is that there is no crisis that government will not seek to exaggerate and exploit for the purpose of magnifying its control over our lives. The second lesson is that the private citizens and businesses that took responsibility for their well-being by being prepared fared far better than those who did not.
Though billed as the “perfect storm,” Sandy was not quite the end-of-the-world event that many civic leaders were touting. Compared to the frantic predictions of pundits and politicians, the Category 1 storm ended up as a fairly low level disaster. But you’d never have known that from the way government leaders played up the doom and gloom and ordered the public around like a flock of frightened sheep.
Our increasingly risk-averse society has been conditioned to believe that if we give government enough control over our lives, it can protect us from anything. But protecting the public invariably takes a back seat to maintaining control over them.
Writer Becky Akers pointed out the dissonance of leaders like New York City Mayor Michael urging the public to “remain calm” while simultaneously doing his best to scare the pants off of them.
Even the New York Times promoted the state as savior by touting the idea that “A Big Storm Requires Big Government.” But the state didn’t exactly deliver on its promises as NYU hospital had to be evacuated after the power went out and its generators shut down. Bellevue Hospital was also evacuated after running out of oxygen tanks and nearly running out of fuel for its generators.
Despite its inflated promises, government proved unable to fulfill its role as protector.
By contrast, Goldman Sachs had its property sandbagged well ahead of the storm. As economist Robert Wenzel reported, “They certainly weren’t depending on the government to protect them. And reports indicated that, through out the night, lights remained on in the Goldman Sachs building, while the rest of Wall Street was dark. Which means GS had their own functional power generator(s), better than those at NYU Hospital or Bellevue.”
Wenzel points out that even New York Times columnist Paul Krugman boasted of having a generator to help him weather the storm.
The lesson couldn’t be clearer; those who wish to be protected during a catastrophe should have their own emergency stockpiles of essential items. This includes having food, water, medicine, clothing, tools, fuel, weapons, ammo, and the basic skills to use them all properly.
The dependent have been trained to view the state as our protector while personal preparedness is regarded as a subversive activity. Preppers are too often viewed as being on the radical fringes of society. But the fact remains that government has a longstanding habit of overpromising and underdelivering when it comes to protection.
This is not intended as a slight against first responders, it is simply the recognition that preppers are part of the solution — not part of the problem. They allow the first responders’ limited resources to be put to use for those who truly need help.
Self-reliance requires a willingness to shoulder personal responsibility though it often incorporates a degree of teamwork such as when neighbors or family members combine their efforts. This means that we need not feel compelled to depend upon the state for our basic needs or security. Self-reliance also protects us from the state’s well-documented tendency to overreact in times of crisis.
When a calamity takes place, it’s often in our best interest to have minimal interaction with the state. This was evident in the unconscionable treatment of peaceful property owners in New Orleans who were unlawfully disarmed by police and National Guard troops following Hurricane Katrina.
Protection was not the concern of the authorities; it was about consolidating control over the citizenry and forcing them to obey the dictates of their so-called protectors.
Hurricane Sandy has once again shown us that in times of crisis, it is the preppers that can be counted on to take care of themselves.
As for the state? Not so much.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.