Big Government Doesn’t Make Me Feel Safer When Hurricanes Hit

People who favor Big Government love natural disasters, like hurricanes. To them, this is an excuse to say, “See? Big Government is your friend when there’s a natural disaster.”

Not really.

If we didn’t have a Big Government, there would be no illusions. Big Government gives people a false sense of security. Every time there’s a disaster, FEMA and the other federal agencies disappoint. Republicans blame it on Democratic mismanagement, and vice-versa — but dissatisfaction with government relief and aid is the norm, not the exception. (In fact, I cannot think of any exceptions where people are satisfied with government relief efforts.)

The bigger the disaster, the bigger the disappointments with government “relief” and rescue agencies.

Doesn’t this tell us something? It sure tells me something. It tells me that people should stop having a false sense of security. They should take responsibility for planning for disasters on their own. Stop thinking, “Oh someone will take care of me.”

I live near the ocean. It would never occur to me to tell someone, “I live near the ocean. So you have to take care of me if a big wave or a lot of wind wrecks my property.” I no more expect someone else to be forced to take responsibility for my decisions than I would want to be forced to pay for somebody else’s decisions.

What I want and need — and do feel entitled to — is a free and competitive marketplace for insurance policies so I can plan what’s best for me. The degree to which government hampers, inhibits or constrains that marketplace is the degree to which I have fewer choices (and less safety/security) than I would otherwise possess.

Even worse, the degree to which the government nationalizes and takes over much of that industry — as in the case of FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) — the more upset I become. I don’t become upset with people who aren’t responsible for my problems, created by my own situation or choices. And I don’t even become upset with bureaucrats. I do become upset with those who advocate government nationalization of the marketplace for insurance, when a marketplace left alone would deliver a much better array of products and services — and ultimately lead to more safety benefits.

When I speak of government “leaving us alone” I don’t mean to say I don’t want a government. I very much want a government — in this context, to ensure that legally and voluntarily entered into contracts (by myself and an insurance company, for example) are upheld. Without government backing up legal contracts, we’d have chaos and injustice everywhere. At the same time, when the Big Government sets the terms and devises a one-size-fits-all system of disaster insurance (e.g. FEMA), then I get worried. If one-size-fits-all, federally mandated approaches have failed so badly with public schools, Medicare, Medicaid and just about everything else the government touches (outside its proper and limited role), then why on earth should I feel safer because there’s a big gigantic, bureaucratic, ultimately not-very-responsive FEMA to supposedly rescue me when the time comes?

No, I don’t feel safer with the existence of FEMA and entities like that in Big Government. In fact, I feel less safe than I would if those entities didn’t exist.

If I still haven’t convinced you, then ask yourself this question. Look at the type of people we elect to office — either party. Are these the most competent, qualified people in society? Or are they simply the most neurotic and power-hungry … you know, the types who yearn for national office? Do we generally elect the most intellectually and morally capable to higher office … or the least? If you answer the question as I do, then consider the contradiction in entrusting every aspect of our lives to the whims, personal proclivities and dictates of such people.


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