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September 5, 2005

Social Power vs. Government Failure: The only government bus that saved anyone was the “stolen” one

May I please have your permission to do something good?

It cannot be repeated often enough: government is force. Everything government does involves either things that are mandatory, or things that are prohibited. So when you rely on government to solve problems everyone is left standing around waiting for permission, lest they do something wrong. Social power doesn’t work that way, which is why it works better, as this story illustrates.

Jabbar Gibson “stole” a school bus and used it to rescue people. Meanwhile, all the other government buses were drowned by the flood as officials dithered about what to do. Still other officials, of course, considered arresting Gibson for his act of intelligent and compassionate initiative. The people he rescued, on the other hand, are grateful that he didn’t just stand around waiting for permission to do something. And at least the city of New Orleans has one school bus that wasn’t ruined by floodwaters.

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