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A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

Sep 12th 2005

Hurricane Katrina and Argentina

One of the better insights I’ve read on the “issue” of Hurricane Katrina comes from a comment on Slashdot:

How anyone can take away from Katrina the idea that *more* dependence on government is a good idea boggles the mind. Local and state governments were thoroughly incompetant, and FEMA was unable to force their way in thanks to that pesky Constitution that gives states power in times of crisis (not that FEMA was all that on-the-ball either). More of this is better?

One of the political science “puzzles” that I encountered in Argentina is that a large portion of the general populace:

(1) hates the government for its incompetence (and when I say “hate” I refer to a marching-in-the-streets-with-pots-and-pans-to-overthrow-the-goverment level of dislike)

and yet simultaneously,

(2) depends entirely on the government to create jobs, a better economy, etc.

¡Que se vayan todos!…..¡Que nos den trabajo antes de irse!

These inherently contradictory attitudes are a recipe for failure.

I am saddened that many here in the United States are falling into the same trap that will inevitably lead to disappointment and despair.

4 Responses to “Hurricane Katrina and Argentina”

  1. Doug,
    Regarding the pots and pans thing I believe that initially was a genuine reaction that didn’t necessarely want to overthrow the goverment (I was there and it was a “burgois” crowd with no revolutionary instincts at all). They wanted more action (De la Duda didn’t give them any) and they were certainly pissed of by the fact that their life savings had being semi confiscated a few days earlier.
    Later on, this pots and pans reaction was taken over by the “piqueteros”, the peronists and by the MSM that tried to convince everybody that the reason for their problems was the lack of state intervention, the IMF, the privatization process of the 90s and any other cause that didn’t require any (perceived) sacrifice from the people to fix.
    Argentina is becoming really a third world country in that there are less and less people capable of independent thinking (thanks to the destruction of the educational system by the same state). The lack of critical thinking leaves people in the hands of propaganda machines such as the MSM which is almost entirely controlled by the left. This is helped anyway by natural tendencies towards bad impulses that all of us have within ourselves, such as envy, resentment and lack of self criticism. It is always easier to believe that someone else is to blame and that someone else should pay the price for our mistakes.
    But I am digressing too much.
    Thank you for your excellent blog.


  2. Argentina: Depending on Government

    Hurricane Katrina reminds Doug of All-Ecompassingly that both Argentines and Americans criticize the government but also depend on it.

  3. Sean M.

    American’s expectation of the government to “rebuild and reconstruct” everyones lives devestated by this terrible disaster brings us ever closer to a lopsided welfare state mentality. The people of America and not the government are the ones who are to pull up their bootstraps and get crackin’

  4. Mina

    Just to make a clarification: The Pots and Pans thing (better known as “El Caserolaso”) and the Piqueteros are completely separate things. The Piqueteros are an ongoing problem in Buenos Aires and the people are quite sick of them. The whole story of that is complex and quite frankly, REALLY annoying. The Caserolaso was more the general public, the real people, “el pueblo argentino” lashing out to an idiot. Completely different things.
    Just wanted that to be clear, if it wasn’t before.