The public response to the disaster in Houston is inspiring but not surprising.Dear God some people give me such hope:— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) August 27, 2017
REPORTER: What are you going to do?
HERO: I'm gonna save some lives.pic.twitter.com/Qj2nmvCD97
We’ve seen it before:The 'Cajun Navy' is heading to Texas to aid the rescue effort. https://t.co/FwYntM1ARC— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) August 28, 2017
Rebecca Solnit has some interesting insights into why the MSM is so often surprised by the public’s performance when the chips are down. (HT: Schneir on Security)
"In real world disasters, as we noted in chapter 3, genuine panic is rare and spontaneous social cooperation is the norm."
The United States of Paranoia
The term “elite panic” was coined by Caron Chess and Lee Clarke of Rutgers. From the beginning of the field in the 1950s to the present, the major sociologists of disasterCharles Fritz, Enrico Quarantelli, Kathleen Tierney, and Lee Clarkeproceeding in the most cautious, methodical, and clearly attempting-to-be-politically-neutral way of social scientists, arrived via their research at this enormous confidence in human nature and deep critique of institutional authority. It’s quite remarkable.
Elites tend to believe in a venal, selfish, and essentially monstrous version of human nature, which I sometimes think is their own human nature. I mean, people don’t become incredibly wealthy and powerful by being angelic, necessarily. They believe that only their power keeps the rest of us in line and that when it somehow shrinks away, our seething violence will rise to the surfacethat was very clear in Katrina. Timothy Garton Ash and Maureen Dowd and all these other people immediately jumped on the bandwagon and started writing commentaries based on the assumption that the rumors of mass violence during Katrina were true. A lot of people have never understood that the rumors were dispelled and that those things didn’t actually happen; it’s tragic.