September 06, 2005
The Katechism of Katrinism
Are there too many opinions right now? Yesterday I was told there are -- by someone who does not care to hear another opinion about Katrina or The Government or politics. While this makes me think I should stick to comedy, the problem with that is that there's nothing at all funny about human suffering -- although it still makes me laugh when, for example, people claim the hurricane is God's punishment for homosexuality (which God inflicted, of course, on Alabama, Mississippi, and poor urban blacks living in New Orleans, while sparing the sodomitic French Quarter).
It is a depressing time to be blogging, for several reasons. One, because I'd like to help but there's little I can do (short of sending in money). The other is that I cannot stand illogical moralistic arguments based on emotion, and I cannot stand scolding. And in terms of sheer quantity and scope of illogical arguments and moralistic emotion, I've never seen anything quite like this in my life. It's certainly worse than 9/11, because at least there were human enemies to be blamed. Here, an act of nature is the culprit. Clearly, the reasonable and logical thing to do is to blame the hurricane, and focus on assisting its victims. But it's not that easy -- not for those who have an agenda. They -- the Katrinistas -- are in a mad scramble to occupy the moral high ground, and when they think they've gotten there, they take their favorite issues and plug in Katrina. It's as endless as it is tedious, and I share my friend's utter exasperation over the idiocy of much of what passes as human opinion right now.
What, for example, does the nomination of John Roberts have to do with Hurricane Katrina? Everything, according to the Katrinists. From today's Philadelphia Inquirer:
WASHINGTON - By opening questions about poverty, race and government policies, Hurricane Katrina has imposed itself on Washington's deliberations over Supreme Court vacancies and threatens to make John G. Roberts Jr.'s confirmation hearings for chief justice a contentious test of conservative thought.I'm all for protecting individual rights and freedoms, and I earlier expressed my concerns. But I can't think of anything less related to the Roberts nomination than individual freedoms in the context of hurricane relief.
I am intrigued, though, by the assertion that Roberts' "opposition to expanded affirmative action and voting-rights laws" is connected to the "disproportionate suffering" by black citizens of New Orleans, as I don't see what voting or affirmative action have to do with death and destruction from a hurricane. Had more blacks voted, would they have elected a different mayor than Roy Nagin? I doubt it. Considering the failure to evacuate the city, the 250 buses left sitting to be wrecked by the flood, I don't think the voting argument holds water. Well, there is the issue of the postponed levee repairs, but I've seen no argument connecting that to voting rights or affirmative action. (Well, I suppose you could squeeze in the awarding of government contracts to minorities.)
Having a "disproportionate impact" on minorities, it is true, raises a legal presumption of discrimination. But is Katrina a federally-regulated employer, lender, insurance company, or provider of housing? Just because a giant institution could be held liable under the "disproportionate impact" theory, are we really expected to abandon all logic and apply the doctrine to a hurricane?
Furthermore, New Orleans was two-thirds black. While it's true that 80 percent of the city did evacuate and the 20 percent staying behind tended to be more heavily poor and black, even if no one had evacuated, the hurricane still would have had a disparate impact on minorities because of the percentages.
Suppose a nuclear device had been detonated without any warning. Two thirds of the victims would have been black. Does that mean the nuke would have been racist? Would Osama bin Laden be chargeable? Is that an argument that Roberts is "soft on terrorism"?
Attempting to analyze these things drive me to despair, as I'm trying to be serious, but the complete lack of logic is so overwhelming that it seems like comedy.
And I haven't had time to address the unsubstantiated allegations involving the racist feeding habits of alligators.
(Should I have said alligations?)
The future of logic is not looking good. But I will venture that it's about as logical to attribute racism to a hurricane as it is to attribute an anti "sodomy" animus, and I'm sure there will be much more.
MORE: The Reverend Bill Shanks (self appointed prophet of Katrinism), is claiming that God was discriminating against sin:
Rev. Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans, also sees God's mercy in the aftermath of Katrina -- but in a different way. Shanks says the hurricane has wiped out much of the rampant sin common to the city.God hates Mardi Gras? I hadn't seen that one before. In any event, today's WorldNetDaily would seem to disagree that the hurricane freed New Orleans of Southern Decadence:
"The shocking callousness of New Orleans' gay activists towards the severe suffering of its fellow citizens cannot be adequately articulated in a news report," says James Hartline, a former homosexual, who describes the "Southern Decadence" festival as being "replete with tens of thousands of men and women engaged in public nudity, prostitution, illegal drug use and destructive public S & M sex."Yes, the gays are callused. Almost as callused as Condoleeza Rice watching a Broadway play and buying shoes in New York.
AFTERTHOUGHT: I know things are really getting bad when blogging fails to provide relief. In the normal course of things, I try to write about what I perceive as defects in human thinking as a way to help me think my way out. But this nonsense is so maddening that writing about it, instead of helping me think my way out of it, only upsets me. That's because it's nothing new, and I like to think that the collective human mind might learn over time. Instead, when disaster strikes, primitive illogical thinking takes over. It's tough to see crass stupidity and grotesque groupthink having such sway over so many people, and tougher to realize that they're just getting warmed up. Toughest of all is to see it coming.
MORE: Eugene Volokh weighs in on the "God's punishment" fallacy by considering the Katrina damage and asking whether God hates the poor:
....wouldn't it follow that God must really dislike poor people? After all, poor people generally bear the brunt of most natural disasters: It's harder for them to evacuate; they are less likely to have insurance; their assets are less likely to be diversified, so the economic damage is more likely to be severe for them; they are closer to the poverty line, so even small losses may harm them more than larger losses harm rich people; and so on. If you live in a poor country, you're much more likely to suffer from disasters than if you live in a rich country. If you're poor in any country, you're much more likely to suffer from disasters than if you're rich.Well, if we follow the "God's punishment" logic to its conclusions, yes, the poor are being punished. And the rich are God's "elect" (once a carefully considered theological conclusion).
I very much enjoyed Professor Volokh's "disclaimer for those who tend to read into posts things that the author hasn't written into them" as I hate it when people argue with themselves while claiming they're arguing with me.
May the Lord spare us from Katrinatarianism!
(And I am too exhausted to blog further today.)
posted by Eric on 09.06.05 at 07:56 AM
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