Government isn’t the Only Hurricane Relief - America's Future Foundation

September 17, 2020

Leadership

Government isn’t the Only Hurricane Relief

By: Eric Peterson

Imagine one of the many Hurricanes of this wild 2020 hurricane season has hit where you live. The water starts rising, so you seek higher ground. You end up on your roof with no help in sight. Suddenly you hear a boat, you are rescued! But it’s not the government that has come to your aid, it’s the Cajun Navy. 

The Cajun Navy is a group of everyday citizens that decided to form a group to provide immediate relief during flooding, especially during hurricanes. They use their personal boats and other equipment to rescue those caught by flooding. This group of volunteers travels throughout the American Southeast acting as first responders, rescuing people before the government often knows people are in need of help. The organization has even gone as far as to hold simulated rescues to get their volunteers better prepared for hurricane season. 

The Cajun Navy is civil society at its best. The people of Louisiana and the American Southeast have too often been stuck waiting for government rescue from hurricanes and other flooding disasters. Look no further than the historic failure of both the local, state, and federal government during Hurricane Katrina.

As important as the lifesaving work of the Cajun Navy is, perhaps even more important is the lesson we can all draw in our own lives. While I don’t think I will be driving in my own boat, especially since I don’t own one, to rescue hurricane victims soon, there are still dozens of civil society organizations I can give my time and resources to that help those in need. These are the groups that deal with people on the personal and community level. Other organizations might not be literally driving up in a boat and offering to rescue them, but these organizations provide many a life raft to people in need. 

If we want to back up the conservative and libertarian rhetoric about shrinking the size of government and expanding civil society, we must act, not simply wait for others to do it for us. This ethos is embodied by the Cajun Navy. 

As the American South has faced a hurricane season that has reflected the craziness of 2020, the Cajun Navy will be busier than ever before. Those dealing with Hurricane Sally will certainly need their help.  But as we continue to face challenges unlike ever before, we should all be asking ourselves, “how can I be more like the Cajun Navy?”