A Rifftides reader writes:
While you admit that the problems New Orleans faced and knowledge of what was necessary go back to Camille and beyond, indeed had to have been known 300 years ago when the city was built, the only person who comes in for blame is, guess who?, George W. Bush.
This is really so tiresome. It seems to me a lot of people for a long time have been playing fast and loose with protecting New Orleans from a bad storm, and, sadly, the worst has come to be. Last week was not exactly the finest hour for a lot of folks: the Mayor of New Orleans and his police department; the governor of Louisiana, and the directors of FEMA and DHS. And New Orleans flood and hurricane protection has been underfunded for decades. But what do liberals care anymore? (And I say
this as someone who proudly called himself one for years, until liberalism slowly, since the late 60s, wandered into the swamp of bad ideas). Denounce Bush and, as Lenin said, everyone will know everything.
However you care to tie Lenin’s statement to current events and politics, this is what he actually said in a speech in October, 1917, when soldiers and workers led by his Bosheviks were storming the Winter Palace.
Our idea is that a state is strong when the people are politically conscious. It is strong when the people know everything, can form an opinion of everything, and do everything consciously. – V. I. Lenin
As things turned out, that admirable idea of openness was not an operating principal of the Bolsheviks after they morphed into the Communist Party and formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Claiming the virtues of a free flow of information and assuring it in a political system are quite different matters. Governmental power wants secrecy. A free people is reluctant to allow secrecy. So far in our nation, the people have won that ceaseless struggle, but, as Wendell Phillips said 153 years ago, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. That applies to threats from inside, even at the top, as well as to those from outside.