I took a look -- and what I saw was unsettling.
Rauschenberger begins by favorably quoting Ronald Reagan's 1981 statement that, "[T]he jungle is always there waiting to take us over. Only our deep moral values and our strong social institutions can hold back that jungle and restrain the darker impulses of human nature."
Rauschenberger then informs us that the problem in New Orleans wasn't failed evacuation planning or weak government leadership. Instead, he tells us, "[i]n the case of so much of this tumult and destruction, root causes lie deeper." Rauschenberger then quotes columnist Thomas Sowell, who asserts that the deeper root cause of "the ugliness and anarchy of New Orleans" was the inability of those abandoned in the storm to "control themselves."
Then, after carefully setting the stage for his own comments, Rauschenberger says the following:
It may be comforting for some of us to believe that New Orleans' fate is a function of its uniquely concentrated poverty. But are we so sure that -- similarly stricken in Aurora, Peoria, Alton, or Blue Island -- Illinois would behave so differently?Although Rauschenberger states that he doesn't believe that extreme poverty was the cause of "the ugliness and anarchy of New Orleans" -- an ugliness that he suggests lies dormant in Aurora, Peoria, Alton, and Blue Island -- he never expressly tells us what he believes is the source of that ugliness and jungle anarchy.
Do you really believe that it's poverty that drives men to rape children? To loot and murder at the moment they realize the police cannot stop them?
We don't. And we won't join the endless rationalization parade -- led by guys like Jesse Jackson -- seeking to "define deviancy down," undermining the core standards undergirding our civil society.
Rather, he leaves it to his readers to infer his answer from the context of his statement. And that context speaks volumes about the character of Steve Rauschenberger.