Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The snow day that wasn't, and true community


Because the Great Nor'easter of January '15 veered east (out to sea?), I didn't get my snow day so off to work (loving it) I go. Here is a recent conversation remembering Philadelphia's Blizzard of '96 with a segue into true community.
The blizzard of January of 1996. On Palmer Street in Fishtown, with my walk up Belgrade Street to York Street. Three feet of snow. I remember we waited for days for a snow plow. When it did not come, I looked out my window and saw a group of my neighbors shoveling snow from the street. So I grabbed my shovel, and within a few hours we had one block of Palmer Street cleared.
That was so much fun! Work was only a block from home so I was one of two who showed up. I literally swam through the little parking lot, under about four or five feet of drifted snow, to get to the door. The other guy and I walked through a quiet, gleaming white Ardmore that was magical.
Shows what true neighborly cooperation can accomplish!
Subsidiarity in action: true community, not big government, but one of government's legitimate roles is maintaining infrastructure such as paving and clearing roads.
Precisely . . . and if you carry it far enough, you have a mini-economic system that benefits all.
Reminds me of longtime blogger Joshua Snyder's point: we could have stopped the Sixties if the early New Left, such as the clean-cut '64 SDS, the John Birch Society, and redneck populists sat down and talked to each other, coming to an understanding. True community; self-determination. Not the big government of the Great Society or the Rockefeller Republicans and neocons.
I am no supporter of the Great Society, but for many who practiced it--i.e., that is actually believed in what LBJ said and allegedly was trying to do--they had good intentions. OK, much of the Great Society programs such as unbridled welfare went awry; maybe government-made jobs programs (without the necessary economic value) too. I perceive looking back that the problem was the marriage of huge gov't social spending, a hugely wasteful and expensive war, and large scale businesses that dropped the ball when it came to providing workers across the whole spectrum of industries gainful employment. Oh . . . and too many college graduates. We needed more skilled laborers, except that even nowadays much of that skill is exported overseas or due to shortages now imported.
Western liberalism's a Christian heresy; it often has the best intentions.

1 comment:

  1. The mid-century movers and shakers weren't about subsidiarity at all though. On the farther left they wanted to increase the power and prestige of political, governmental and humanitarian institutions. On the marginally less far left they wanted to increase the power and prestige of commercial institutions. Both promoted the influx of millions of women into the labor market. Both quite intentionally weakened the natural organs of society - family and Church - so both promoted eugenics, serial polygamy, fornication and the rest of the rot.

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