Monday, September 05, 2005

Bloggers On Katrina

Okay, I have to note this down, having found the outrageous symmetry too much to pass by (note that liberal and conservative are used purely in their US contexts):

1. A liberal blog entry.

2. A conservative blog entry.

I am pretty much equally disgusted by both of these, and rather surprised at the dark side of human nature which has been revealed in these two blogs.

Let's have a look at 1.

"So why was I thinking of starting a movement against giving aid to the stricken areas?

Because these are red states. They voted for Bush. These ninnies obviously wanted these policies, and they deserve to live with the consequences of their votes."

So, his first reaction would have been to deny aid to victims of the hurricane, because they voted for Bush? He is very clear about this. For the record, I don't really dispute his attack on Bush's policies. What I oppose completely is the conclusion.

Even if we imagine that all the people affected were Bush supporters, and even if we were to conclude that they knew what they were letting themselves in for when they gave him their votes, that would still be absolutely no excuse to deny them aid! Come on, one of the key points of liberalism is compassion - leave the judgementalism to the conservatives. It is completely unforgivable to say that because of such poor choices, these people should be left to die horribly. If you can't see that, I don't think that much hope is left really.

His final conclusion to reject this does not excuse him because he does it only because he worries that Democrats will also be killed. This whole thing is, to me, completely immoral and disgusting. As a liberal myself, I feel sick that such a piece could come on a liberal blog.

On to 2.

"It's nice, it's charitable to help people out in either situation, but in neither case does the fact that a person is hungry give them the right to just take whatever they want."

The above is applied to essentials like food and clean water just as anything else. More arguments are given for this position than in the above, but the conclusion is equally vile. He is defending the starving and dehydrating people of New Orleans being denied the chance to retrieve essential supplies from deserted property.

There are four arguments here. The first is that the people to whom the property belongs would not feel it right to allow their property to be taken. To which I reply: You must balance interests. The right to property is important, but surely superceded by a genuine and desperate need for such things to survive. Surely this is common sense? It is like the old stealing bread to feed starving family problem, in its purest form. There really is no alternative.

Secondly, and most horribly, it is argued that these people deserve no better:

"Besides, what's the difference between: "Gee, I decided to stay in town after I was told to evacuate and I'm hungry," and "Gee, I didn't want to get a job and I'm hungry?" In either case, it's hunger caused by your own irresponsibility."

I will not go into socio-economics about how ignorant it is to assume that all people in poverty are their due to there own choices / laziness. Most sane people already know this. But even if we assumed he was right, just as in link 1, that does not justify depriving these people of their lives in horrible ways, for having made mistakes in the past. If nothing else, what about all the children suffering for their parents' 'fault' of poverty?

Thirdly, it is argued that accepting essential looting opens the door to non-essential looting. And fourthly, he argues that the distinction is impractical. Both of these are reasonable points, but do nothing to suggest that preventing all looting, even for essentials, is the answer. Most likely he is the type to desperately need black and white rules of what is right and wrong. Sorry mate, welcome to the real world.

Both of these are despicable conclusions based, I would argue, on a complete lack of empathy and compassion. I for one find them detestable and would hope that I am not alone.

NOTES: I would like to stress that neither of these opinions represent the mainstream of thought on hurricane relief / looting in either school of politics. Neither are, as far as I can tell, particularly prominent. However, I would argue that 2 is more closely based on US conservatism (neo-conservatism) than 1 is on US liberalism. This is because 2 relies on some good old mainstays of neo-conservatism: Blaming poverty on the poor, rough justice, and valuing property above lives (or, in a more class-war sense, the propertied above the lower classes).

I would also like to note the irony that I found 1 on a link from 2's blog. He had the gall to criticise it! Pot, meet kettle.

Also, scroll down from 2 to see more posts on the issue.


Oplecta said...

I agree with you. About the first blog, how can the voter ever see behind the candidates true intentions anyways--its politics! Besides, one has the right to vote for anyone he wishes without punishment.

crazy/evil/chocoholic/crazy-girl said...
a blog i like to read, i find her prespective and writing refreshing in the materialistic ways we live - with or without realising it. not entirely political, more personal.

on another note - i can already see the lawyer coming out in you - adding disclaimers to your own blogs :) - keep up the good work petey :)

the art student said...

interesting how these people see the situation from a completely isolated point of view, i very much doubt that either of these people would see it from the same point of view if they were in the position of those who are there currently.

fortunately these people dont get much power, so we are safe for the time being.

long live democracy...

crazy/evil/chocoholic/crazy-girl said... ^^