Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Political Opportunism during Tragedy

With Katrina's devastation plain to see, ideologues (mostly on the left) have gone to great lengths to blame their opponents for the contingency of nature. James Glassman has a poignant and personal response. Additionally, via The Corner on National Review Online
Benny Peiser, whose work on catastrophe deserves much more attention than, say, Jared Diamond's, has this to say to readers of his Cambridge Conference email network:
On behalf of CCNet, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to all our American friends and members who have been affected by the tragic events wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

Notwithstanding continuing rescue and support efforts, the calamity has triggered a rather opportunistic and cynical reaction by opponents of the current US Administration. In an eerie development that echoes the political exploitation of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster last December, environmental campaigners, Green journalists and European officials are blaming (once again) the U.S. and its people for the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Instead of supporting the rescue efforts, demagogues are using the human tragedy in a futile attempt to score points. At a time of utter desolation and misfortune, propagandists in high office and parts of the media are abandoning America and its victims for purely political goals.

Europeans in particular, who have been rescued and liberated from themselves by the U.S. no less than three times in the course of the 20th century, should feel ashamed for kicking a friend and ally when he is down. Let me re-assure our American friends and colleagues that this pitiless mind-set of environmental activists is not representative for the vast majority of Europeans who are following the heartbreaking events with great concern and empathy.

There is quite a lot CCNet readers can do to support the victims and survivors of Hurricane Katrina - which is why I have posted below relevant information by the American Red Cross. As each of us ponders our response, let us all keep in our prayers those who have lost so much.
I am sure Benny is right. Burke's comment about the grasshoppers and the cows is appropriate here.
Here's the quote from Edmund Burke he refers to:
Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle... chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field; that, of course, they are many in number; or that, after all, they are other than the little, shriveled, meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome insects of the hour.
More here and here.

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