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:

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.


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.

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