Culture

No, the Response to Harvey Doesn’t Refute Texas Conservatism

Boats rescue residents of Dickinson, Texas, from floodwaters, August 27, 2017. (Reuters photo: Rick Wilking)
They didn’t wait for help. They became the help, and in so doing they inspired a nation.

It’s not easy to burn a straw man in the midst of a biblical flood, but some on the Left are frantically trying to light the flame. The target, of course, is Texas conservatism, and the argument is old and tired. Whenever disaster strikes red America, there’s always someone standing there ready to say, “What do you think of big government now?”

Here’s the stupid, vindictive version of this reflexive take, from a Politico cartoonist. A tea-party, secessionist Texas rube praises God for the government’s good work:

https://twitter.com/amber_athey/status/902956305136136195

The enduring legacy of Harvey is going to be one of pain and loss — pain and loss that is hopefully tempered first by the love and support of family, friends, and neighbors and second by governments’ and other institutions’ stepping up and providing the aid they’re designed to provide. It won’t be an ideological sea change, where Texas conservatives somehow renew their love for failing public schools because the Coast Guard performed heroically in Houston.

In fact, the Texas ethos (properly understood) won’t just endure, it will flourish. The state faced a terrible crisis, and person after person acted on his own initiative to help neighbors in need. They didn’t wait for help. They became the help, and in so doing they inspired a nation. That’s exactly the kind of self-reliance American needs.

READ MORE:

Slideshow: Hurricane Harvey Aftermath

Houston Rescuers Prove the Lie of ‘Toxic Masculinity’

Hurricane Harvey’s Men, Women, and Children

— David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.

Editor’s Note: This piece has been amended since its posting.

Most Popular

Elections

What Do Republican Voters Want?

The latest entry in the post-Trump conservatism sweepstakes was Marco Rubio’s speech at the Catholic University of America in early November. The Florida senator made the case for a “common-good capitalism” that looks on markets in the light of Catholic social thought. “We must remember that our nation ... Read More
White House

Impeachment Woes and DACA Throes

This excerpt is from episode 176 of The Editors. Charlie: Yesterday was the day on which the rain stopped and the sun hid behind the clouds and the eyes of the nation turned in unison toward Capitol Hill for the first day of public hearings in the impeachment of Donald Trump. The results of that first day were ... Read More
Books

The Houellebecqian Moment

We are living in the imagination of Michel Houellebecq. The bête noire of French literature has spent decades deploring the erosion of Western mores that he believes resulted from the sexual revolution of the 1960s. His last novel, Submission, revolved around the election of a theocratic Muslim to the French ... Read More
Culture

‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More