The Corner

Re ‘Where the Red River Runs’

A reader from Oklahoma writes, 

After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, food, water, blankets, massage therapists, video games, etc. were in great supply from individuals, professional and non, for the rescue and clean-up workers.

Some of the rescue workers were from Virginia, one of whom is a friend of a sister of mine. This fireman told how the workers were all gaining weight because of the good food, and how they were being treated like kings, with every possible need anticipated to make their stay in the Sooner State more comfortable. (He also told how humbled the workers were by this show of gratitude.)

Then some agency stepped in and took over — but it was great while it lasted (despite the circumstances).

Sometimes the government needs to be told, “Please, Mother, I’d rather do it myself!” Mothering is fine for individuals, but mothering a whole society, and throwing guilt on those who reject it? That is a tragedy waiting to happen. 

I remember I was in a group of speechwriters once, some years ago, and we were listing the American virtues. I suggested “self-reliance.” And somebody said, “Gee, haven’t heard that one in a while.” True. There is also such a thing as community reliance — leading us to call on the “little platoons” that should distinguish our society.

But you don’t need a lecture from me on subsidiarity.

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