Monday, February 05, 2007

Micah, Katrina, and Big Governments

In my Prophets and Prophecy course this morning, we discussed Micah, one of my favorite biblical prophets. Micah repeatedly calls for social justice, and condemns the ruling elite of Israel and Judah, likening their exploitations of the poor and working class to cannibalism (3:1-3). Two of my favorite biblical quotations come from Micah, one about a great day of peace, and the other about how being kind and just are better than sacrifices in God's mind:
"They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (4:3).

"With what shall I come before Yahweh, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will Yahweh be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does Yahweh require of you? To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God" (6:6-8).

Micah comes from Moresheth-Gath, a rural area not too far from where we excavate at Zeitah. Micah clearly seems to be against big government, as it is oppressive, and subject to corruption.

Fast forward 2,700 years. Before Katrina, I was a classic big government liberal. If there was a problem, I thought, legislate it away, get a government board to fix it. That has all changed now. Maybe the four paid contractors who four different times knocked on my FEMA trailer door to paint the oven knob red changed my mind. In my opinion, local, state, and federal government has failed us, and it has created a bureaucracy that is expensive, inept, and moreover, it makes recovery much more difficult than if it were not involved. I think this excellent article by Christopher Cooper sums our situation up pretty well. But for now, please ask your congressional leaders to do away with the Stafford Act, as the government did for Florida after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Manhattan after 9-11-2001. I still can't believe that bureaucratic bottlenecks such as this are in place. It makes me think that I'm being punished by W. for living in the great state of Louisiana.


Anonymous said...

What's your opinion on Micah having written a lion's share of the Old Testament?

Anonymous said...

We'll make an anarchist of you yet.

mominem said...

I've long been a small "l" libertarian for just those reasons.

Welcome to our ranks.

George "Loki" Williams said...

Michael, it is posts like this one that make yours one of my favorite blogs. I hope you do not mind f I borrow the bible quotes, I think I may have use for them in an upcoming piece.

Loki The Libertarian

Ann said...

Top notch post. Nothing to add but thanks.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'd just want to say that the problems you've faced might have more to do with the Republican party than with the principle of government involvement. Not only are we talking about the same people whose electoral slogan for about 20 years was 'government doesn't work; elect us and we'll prove it!', but also the same administration that is led by a man-child known for pursuing petty vengeance against anyone whom he thinks has slighted him. I think the government's shameful response to Katrina owes a lot to the same kind of attitudes that make so-called blue states' national guard deployments to Iraq so much heavier.