If Cuba can do it ...

Michael Edelstein wrote:

This is going around the internet. Any thoughts?

I've been wondering about the relationship of true militias to
disaster response. The kind of preparation described here, where
"the whole civil defense is embedded in the community to begin
with", sounds like what I imagine a true militia to be -- all
citizens trained and prepared for threats to the community,
whether hurricane, invasion, or otherwise.


I suspect that if you are willing to completely surrender your freedom and
do whatever the government says, then *if* the current person running the
disaster response program is competent, response will be quick and
effective. Despotism is often efficient, since there�s none of this pesky
due process or legislative deliberation to bother with.

However, I suspect the real story in Cuba is that everyone knows the
government is undependable, and so communities prepare for and respond to
disasters on their own, while the talking heads make grand statements
about The People on the TV.

The problem here is that our government is � or at least, has been � just
competent enough to keep people dependent, but not as competent as people
acting in their own self-interest would be. Mayor Nagin, for example,
blaming the feds in retrospect, instead of just assuming from the start
that the people of NOLA would be on their own.

I am hoping that one outcome of this disaster will be a realization that
people need to depend on themselves and each other, not the government,
though I fear the actual outcome will be a great hue and cry for more
government instead.


There was a really f----- up article in the Chronicle a few days ago (see http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/09/03/MNGM5EI2QN1.DTL&hw=katrina+regulation&sn=014&sc=212) giving print space to exactly the kind of hue and cry you mention.

  In the case of Cuba, my best guess is that the Castro regime probably deserves the credit for getting people out of the storm's way, for better or for worse. Most Cubans work for the state, so it would be easy to propagate evacuation orders via the workplace. Then there's Cuba's Big Brother equivalent of Neighborhood Watch groups, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (supposedly one of these on every city block, and I saw plenty of signs for them when I was there). I'd imagine that each CDR has a list of people under their watch, and that committee members are under pressure from above to produce good compliance results with any orders that get handed down (e.g. how many of your people signed in at the checkpoint today?), or risk losing their regime-stooge privileges. When you're dirt poor with close to zero other options for improving your financial lot outside of an open raft to Miami, I imagine that many find those extra ration coupons or whatever the regime bribes them with hard to resist.

Yours in liberty,
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