Crisis Opportunity

The waters haven’t even begun receding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey and already big government politicians are calling for the imposition of zoning laws in a city famous for rejecting them at the polls with the implication that the lack of zoning laws was responsible for the devastating flooding accompanying the storm.

Big government politicians never fail to demonstrate their conceitedness by thinking that government can solve all problems if only bureaucrats have more power to run our lives. This is in stark contrast to the intentions of the Founding Fathers who realized that self-reliance and independence were the cornerstones of both preparedness and recovery. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel summed up big government thinking in 2008 by declaring “You never want a serious crisis go to waste” as President Obama’s Chief of Staff in response to the opportunity of Obama administration regressives to run roughshod over the business community in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown. Ironically, the seeds of the 2008 financial meltdown were sown by the Clinton administration in revisions to the Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act which forced lenders to extend mortgages to lower income buyers unable to afford homes. The pattern with big government regressives is to create a crisis, then offer up solutions which involve more government power and less freedom for Americans, but which never adequately address the crisis in question.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans in August of 2005, the Louisiana legislature passed a statewide building code forcing Louisiana residents wishing to build a home to first secure a $1500 building permit under the guise of forcing homes to be built to code to better withstand hurricanes and limit property damage. Insurance companies like State Farm and Allstate took a bath on Katrina damage and convinced legislators that imposing a statewide building code would limit further damage claims. North Louisiana doesn’t get much hurricane damage, but we now have to secure expensive building permits before constructing a house because insurance companies lose money covering south Louisiana. By the way, home insurance went up dramatically for everyone in Louisiana because the insurance companies made bad bets. Not only did Katrina wreak havoc on New Orleans, but the politicians wreaked havoc on the entire state for the benefit of the insurance companies.

Houston is the fourth largest American city and has no zoning laws. Residents value their ability to live free from government intervention like the Founding Fathers intended. Media reports coming out of Houston are already beating the drums for zoning laws which Houston voters have rejected numerous times. These reports are always accompanied with the implication that the lack of zoning laws is partially responsible for the flooding devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey as if zoning laws would have stopped the rain or something. Houston’s drainage system was constructed during the Depression and is woefully inadequate for addressing the drainage needs of a coastal city built on a flat plain. This system has never been upgraded to handle the types of situations like that presented by Hurricane Harvey, but somehow this is all explained as the fault of voters for rejecting zoning laws.

Houston politicians have lobbied for zoning laws to no avail for decades. Zoning laws appeal to big government regressives wishing to extend their control over every aspect of the lives of Americans in the vain hope of controlling for every eventuality which may come their way in spite of the fact that bureaucrats routinely demonstrate their inability to efficiently manage even the simplest of governmental functions effectively. Case in point, look at the implosion of Obamacare while realizing the misery its demise is causing millions of Americans because big government politicians had the audacity to believe the government could efficiently manage one sixth of the American economy. This was purely a nationalization of health insurance in the same manner as socialist banana republics.

Houston politicians are gearing up to promote another stab at zoning laws to increase their control in response to Hurricane Harvey. In a familiar pattern, these media reports constantly mentioning Houston’s lack of zoning laws will inevitably be followed by calls from regressive astroturf groups demanding zoning laws to prevent future devastating floods. Politicians will wring their hands as they bow to the will of the people despite the fact that this siren call is manufactured and the politicians secretly want these zoning laws as a sop to the insurance companies and construction industries. Houston will expand its bureaucracy to employ all manner of inspectors, and shady under-the-table deals will eventually come to light enriching some of these inspectors at the cost of public trust.

The Founding Fathers intended for Americans to be self-reliant and enjoy as much freedom as possible to realize their ability to do so. Colonists who had the courage to leave their families and all the comforts they knew in Europe to come to America to build a new life from scratch were hardy souls capable of self-reliance who needed nothing from any government but to be left alone. These colonists weren’t expecting a government agency to send them a check or rescue them from a flood, and they damn sure weren’t expecting some callous reporter acting as an emotional parasite to stick a microphone in their face to ask about their feelings in a pathetic display of schadenfreude exploitation. These Americans were hardy pioneers who moved west to the frontier when the least bit of government encroachment threatened their freedom. They cleared land, built log cabins, and farmed for survival and didn’t need permission from any government bureaucrat to do so.

Big government regressives occupying coastal enclaves such as New York and California have long since forgotten the pioneering independence of their forefathers and have no clue that the same independent spirit still exists in the majority of the American interior. They look down on self-reliance and independence as impediments to their ability to herd Americans into their cozy little concentration camps where we’re expected to allow them to care for us as if we don’t have enough sense to get in out of the rain. These Ivy-League educated elites think they have been endowed with unique abilities that set them apart from us mere deplorables, and that their elite status requires them to care for us as second class citizens unable to make sensible choices with our lives. Being lazy themselves, they seek to fulfill these egalitarian responsibilities with as little effort as possible by enlarging the government bureaucracy and shifting their inflated responsibility on its shoulders. In this way, they employ millions of us riff raff looking after millions of other riff raff while they enjoy the lives of leisure to which they feel entitled.

Houston politicians have neglected for decades the need to invest in drainage infrastructure improvements which would have made a huge difference in alleviating the flooding which is devastating the city, but the lesson they appear to be drawing is that the lack of zoning laws is the primary culprit in a major act of deception designed to shift blame away from themselves to place it on the voters who are suffering the most from their inaction. This is an entirely false narrative designed to deceive the public by both shifting attention away from their responsibility and making the call for zoning laws more palatable to Houston residents.

Hurricanes are a fact of life along the Gulf coast which residents accept as part of the price for living in these coastal states. Residents accept the tradeoff between the relatively low odds that a hurricane will target their particular area with the high risk of devastation should one occur. Except for the retirees looking for a low-cost areas with beautiful amenities, Gulf coast residents tend to be a particularly hardy lot who let their emotions run free in the wake of hurricane devastation, then pick themselves up to rebuild and go on with their lives. Insurance can help with the cost of rebuilding, but it doesn’t cover everything, and it doesn’t begin to alleviate the suffering experienced by those who have lost everything, including loved ones, to the ravages of a hurricane. It takes a hardy soul to live through the destruction of a hurricane and decide to rebuild. These are not the type of people who rely on the government on a daily basis.

Americans across the country are demonstrating their graciousness by opening their wallets to donate to those suffering from the ravages of Hurricane Harvey in the finest traditions of the sense of shared responsibility imbued in America. This is neighbor helping neighbor as the Founding Fathers intended. Unfortunately, there are also those who seek to profit off the misfortune of others through illegal scams and looting, and there are also politicians looking to profit off the misfortune of Houston residents to increase their political power through the passage of long-sought zoning laws. Both groups are just as culpable in their greed and disdain for their fellow Americans, but the politicians will be dressed nicer and speak in more solemn and somber tones as they seek to convince Houston residents to trade their freedom for a sense of security which these politicians never intend to provide.

It tears at the heart to watch Americans suffer through the devastation of natural disasters, and the media fully intend to exploit every minute of this schadenfreude in their pursuit of viewers and advertising profits. It was refreshing to see the Houston woman go off on the CNN reporter for attempting to exploit her misery as if she existed for the entertainment value of her suffering. This sorry episode came right after CNN had run a piece congratulating itself for its part in rescuing flood victims by providing a cell phone to a man who contacted his father. As a worldly outfit, CNN reaped the reward for any good it might have done by patting itself on the back instead of just doing good deeds for the sake of doing the right thing. CNN congratulates itself for doing the minimum in helping their fellow man while pushing the false zoning law narrative of its political masters and shamelessly exploiting the suffering of fellow Americans in the pursuit of profits. The worst part is that millions of Americans are glued to their televisions enjoying this schadenfreude as if it were some kind of reality show staged for their entertainment pleasure.

Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast to sow devastation on Houston and the surrounding area, and the exploitation of residents suffering from this devastation is in full swing. That exploitation will continue long after the flood waters have receded as politicians impose zoning laws that erode the freedom of those residents who seek to rebuild their lives, and con artists continue to push their scams on unsuspecting Americans using the destruction as their lure.

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