The spirit of social Darwinism

The scenes of death and destruction in New Orleans have provoked ire, even belatedly, against US President George Bush. The president’s lack of responsibility was clear from a number of his decisions, ranging from the 50 percent reduction in funding for flood protection works to the fact that the USS Louisiana, equipped with six surgeons and a drinking water production plant, stood offshore for days. If the typhoon was unavoidable, the same did not apply to the extent of the loss of life and property. The main political issue, however, is not so much the incompetence of the federal government but the policies imposed on the USA since the Reagan administration; the USA abandons the poor to their fate, even if that fate is flooding and famine. It is a state that is indifferent to those in need, in which the spirit of social Darwinism has been apparent for a number of years – the poor are left to the mercy of God. In New Orleans, initial evaluations were not about the cost in terms of human lives but the cost to insurance firms. The problem is not limited to the USA. It should not escape us that what Brussels decides and what the Greek government adopts as «reforms» restrict the mechanisms of public and social support and aid. When we applaud or tolerate these measures, we should not forget the repercussions that are visible every day in the event of a major flood – or earthquake.