Friday, November 02, 2012

Thoughts From Jersey: Is A Post-Apocalyptic Society Red or Blue?

So I was driving down U.S. Route 130, heading south for warmth and a shower.   It's an interesting bit of road - it runs parallel to, and predates the New Jersey Turnpike, and was a key route from central New Jersey to Philadelphia and Delaware back in the day.  Today, it's a strange conflation of new and old, with farm equipment supply depots, diners, ancient motels, small garages and machine shops mixing with mini-malls, well-lit service stations and the occasional Dunkin Donuts.

But it wasn't well-lit yesterday for the 20 or so miles I trekked on it.  Most lights were out, and downed trees and power lines still blocked lanes, despite the efforts of some on-scene work crews.  And the few gas stations that were open had lines around a 1/4 mile long.

How quickly things change.  And how quickly we adapt.  But which way does evolution flow, specifically, political evolution?  I thought about my interactions over the past few days with a myriad of strangers, each of us looking for gas, food, water, and a way out.

As is often the case in a crises, most people were kind and giving; I witnessed more acts of kindness in a three day period than I do in a normal month.  Or two.  So in a certain sense, citizens were acting the way the "blue" social model wishes they would:  sharing what they had, giving to the less fortunate, and generally showing compassion for their fellow man.

Of course, these actions weren't done under penalty of law.  If there were two boxes of Pop Tarts left on the shelf, and the authorities ordered them to be handed over to someone ""less fortunate", you would it expect it do be done with much less good cheer.  If it were done at all. One's attitude towards sharing seems to get a bit harder when it is forced. Which, in this example, is also known as "redistribution".

Maybe the more liberals try to force society to act "nice", the less nice society actually becomes?

And what of generators - the ultimate demarcation between haves and have-nots in post-apocalyptic New Jersey?  Two houses on my block were humming with heat and lights, while the rest were cold and dark.  Yet no one stormed these homes, demanding either shelter or a greater "need" to their electricity. Seems like, even in a crisis, most people respect property rights, and any envy was more of the "kick-yourself-in-the-ass" type, as in, "why didn't I get one of those for myself earlier"?

But wouldn't the blue model dictate that these people be forced to open their homes to their neighbors (they might have, for all I know - I keep to myself quite a bit)?  Or should the liberal shock troops - also know as the "Occupiers" - be allowed to take over these properties in order to open them up to "the people" - specifically, those who couldn't afford a generator, or who didn't prepare for a super-storm?

Even those of us freezing on the outside would be sick at the thought.

So it seems as if post-apocalyptic New Jersey has morphed into a "red" state - where people are on their own, take care of their own (which covers their entire community), and are respectful of property rights of others, regardless of the disparity of living conditions.


How does this bode for Barack Obama?  Well, I am sure he will still win the state, but there is this, seen in Point Pleasant yesterday:

And I wonder how those people on the endless gas lines will vote, knowing that the president is the man fighting with all of his might to make sure these long lines and high prices are a permanent condition of American life?  And what of the power crews and tree-cutters, working 24 hour shifts to resurrect New Jersey without any government assistance whatsoever?  How will they take to a chest-pounding president, who will be the first to tell them "you didn't (re)build that!"?

Think all those photo-ops of Barack hugging old ladies will melt hearts?  Sorry, bud - in a massive blackout  no one can see you pose...

One wonders if any New Jerseyans will learn the political lesson of Sandy - the government cannot prevent disasters (despite their claims to the contrary), they cannot help you rebuild, and that the enforced niceness of nanny-state liberalism is actually a hindrance to civil society?

Probably not many.  Most will blame their God before they blame the government (especially a Democratic one).  Which offered me a wane smile as I drove on through the darkness, watching, even in the late hours, the people of New Jersey slowly reclaiming their lives, with nary a bureaucrat in sight...

UPDATE: Perhaps one can ask, after seeing this story -  how many New Jersey residents are liberals willing to kill in order to maintain their worldview?  The answer, of course, is the same it has been since Stalin:  As many as it takes...

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