Thursday, September 01, 2005

Limited Government

I confess, I was this naive, too:


Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: I guess I was naive.

I thought that in the wake of Katrina's passing we'd see flotillas of helicopters, fleets of boats, and public health and public safety professionals from all over the country giving booster shots and restoring order within hours. I expected to see rapid, active, and aggressive disaster-recovery response from rescue assets prepositioned nearby but out of the reach of the hurricane.

After all, having a hurricane hit a city is nothing new. New Orleans's vulnerability as a bathtub waiting for the ocean is obvious. Louisiana is crucial to America's oil industry, and New Orleans is--was--an incredibly valuable touristic and cultural jewel.
What does it mean when folks like me aspire to have limited government? We seek maximal freedom for citizens, without the intrustion of government where it is not needed. But we also seek maximal efficiency of the government in those cases where it is essential. On typical days, we argue about where to draw the line between "essential" and "not needed." A Category 5 hurricane making landfall anywhere is so far over that line that we cannot even see it anymore.

Limited should not be misconstrued to mean ineffectual.

6 comments:

CHUYS said...

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Anonymous said...

I have come to the position that people who believe in limited government are not to be trusted with running a government. Unless you believe in something, you aren't likely to handle the assigned responsibility well. I have always indentified myself as a fiscally conservative Republican but the gang in power absolutely embarass me.

Bibamus said...

On typical days, we argue about where to draw the line between "essential" and "not needed." A Category 5 hurricane making landfall anywhere is so far over that line that we cannot even see it anymore.

Amen.

Roland Patrick said...

So far we're seeing massive government failures at all levels. The notoriously corrupt New Orleans police force couldn't keep law and order.

The state that has been ruled by Earl and Huey Long, Richard Leche and Edwin Edwards couldn't mobilize an effective National Guard.

The Army Corps of Engineers who were given the job--in the wake of 1965's Hurricane Betsy--of designing and building levees to protect the city, built them too low.

The welfare-mentality citizens who stayed in the city expecting someone else to help them, started shooting at the rescuer helicopters and looting the convoys of supplies.

Just what a Milton Friedmaniac would expect.

Arun Khanna said...

All governments by definition are limited. Even Soviet Union could not have unlimited government, though Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot came close to it.
I assume the title refers to small government. Small government just like big government can be efficient or inefficient. It all depends on the administration running the government. Not since 1814, have we come as close to losing New Orleans.

Nathan Kaufman said...

http://cafehayek.typepad.com/hayek/2005/09/weeping_for_my_.html