Monday, August 28, 2017

“I’m gonna try to save some lives”

The public response to the disaster in Houston is inspiring but not surprising.
We’ve seen it before:

1940: A season of miracles: Dunkirk

"I never want to say the word 'I should have'"

Cajun Navy
Jesse Walker:

"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
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)

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.


David Foster said...

Very interesting, I do think a lot of the accusations against Ordinary Americans are basically projection.

Not sure about the term Elite in this context, someone like Maureen Dowd really a member of a societal elite? She doesn't have power to have anyone arrested or to pass legislation or issue regulations; the probably can't even fire anybody other than household help. Her net worth is probably less than many small-town businesspeople.

craig said...

I don't like the term 'elite' as used currently. It confuses things and concedes half the argument to the Left (equating populism with resentment).