DEATH TOLL LOWERED IN AFGHAN QUAKE: Yahoo News is reporting that the death toll in Monday’s Afghan Quake was dramatically lowered from 1800 to a current estimate of about 200.
The toll could go somewhat higher, he said, but was not expected to exceed “the low hundreds,” [Ros O’Sullivan, project coordinator from Concern Worldwide] said Wednesday. That conclusion was reached Tuesday night during a meeting of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the International Organization for Migration, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Concern Worldwide, and other relief groups working at the scene.
Good. But still, it goes without saying that a nation of mud-brick houses faces huge risks when there’s an earthquake. Back in early 2001, Jonah Goldberg wrote about the then recent earthquake in India which killed an estimated 20,000:
Modern buildings have a tendency to fall down less than squalid tenements or shantytowns. Especially when you’re rich enough to make them quake proof.
So again you ask, why is this relevant?
Well, if you listen to what the anti-globalization protesters are saying at the World Forum in Davos, Switzerland, or at my local coffeehouse, you’d get the impression that they have the best interests of poor people at heart. Of course, it turns out they don’ t.
Globalization is generally something rich people are against and poor people are for, which is funny since rich people are supposed to be greedy and poor people are supposed to be content. This is true about both certain conservatives and liberals but for different reasons. Conservative anti-globalists and trade unionists fear what globalization will do to people inside our borders. That creates problems to be sure, but it’s not nearly so evil as a certain breed of liberal nostalgia which wants to make the world safe for righteous tours of impoverished lands where noble savages still live in huts and starve with surprising regularity.
Okay so maybe most of them don’t live in huts, but they do live in a crushing poverty that so many liberals think is preferable to being forced to eat at McDonalds or drink Starbucks coffee.