Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Responsibility yes, authority no 

Reader Tim Slade thinks more should be made of Peggy Noonan's column last week. I agree, it should be required reading to understand the difference between arguing who has controlling authority in case of, say, a hurricane and who is responsible. Money quote:
Last week I quoted Gerald Ford: "The government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." I was talking about money. But it applies also to personal freedom, to the rights of the individual, including his right to do something stupid as long as it's legal, like swimming.

Government has real duties in disaster. Maintaining the peace is a primary one. But if we demand that our government protect us from all the weather all the time, if we demand that it protect us from rain and hail, if we make government and politicians pay a terrible price for not getting us out of every flood zone and rescuing us from every wave, we're going to lose a lot more than we gain. If we give government all authority then we are giving them all power.

And we will not only lose the right to be crazy, we'll lose the right to be sane.

...It is hard for governments to be responsible, and take responsibility. It takes real talent, and guts. But authority? That's easier. Pass the law and get the cuffs.
She also discusses the media coverage. Also noted at the Acton Institute's Power blog.