Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Some Perspective

Claudia Rossett — investigator, observer, and commentator par excellence — has a new column up on OpinionJournal that's a worthwhile read. In it she talks about the impact of Katrina on America, but with a loftier perspective than most of the stories and commentary currently circulating. An excerpt:

But aid from the state, or even from private charities, is not what's going to rebuild New Orleans. What will bring back the city--or not--is the many decisions people will now make about how to best get on with their lives. Some may not return. Some may go back and build stronger than before. But the promises of politicians and the scenes of survivors on cots in the Astrodome do not begin to sum up the real pool of resources now available to the people of New Orleans.

The most valuable resource of this country is something called human capital, nourished within a framework of liberty and rule of law. The armed thugs who briefly ruled the floodwaters were not the norm. There are countries like Sudan or Zimbabwe where they would have been part of the routine miseries of the average day. New Orleans was a city known both for its high crime rate and its parties, parades and bohemian French Quarter. For three days, in extreme crisis, the balance tipped the wrong way. It was terrible. But by lights of much of the planet, the order that then kicked in for a massive rescue effort was beyond hoping.

Take a moment to read the whole thing...

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