There will never be enough boats

During the recent massive flooding in Nashville, Tennessee, the rain was so heavy and the rising waters so fast that many residents and tourists were trapped in their homes and hotels.  As First Responders both on and off duty mobilized and scattered to the most dangerous places in the area, thousands of people remained trapped by the rising waters.

At first, lone citizens began to arrive at these locations to ferry trapped tourists and residents to higher ground.  As these courageous citizens continued their efforts, the call went out to the community to send boats to certain areas.  Individuals showed up and worked tirelessly, using their own time, assets and fuel to play a vital role in thousands of rescues.  These were not citizens “mobilized” by some order from the State or City.  They were individuals making a difference in the lives of their neighbors.

But their care for their neighbors is not the only story here.  Neither is the heroism of First Responders in Middle Tennessee.  Their efforts are still drawing praise from all over the region.  This tragedy highlights the reality of government’s inability to solve every problem.  It was never designed to do so.  You see, during the flooding the government did not have enough boats.  Truth is, government never has enough of anything to take care of everybody.  It cannot and never will.

Whether we talk about water rescues, health care, retirement planning, product regulation, border security, community peace, hunger, child care, etc., government does not have the resources to solve every problem.  A citizenry that expects such will be sorely disappointed.  A citizenry that believes this myth to be true, or maintains that it is true for others only perpetuates a belief that cannot be substantiated by reality.  There is not enough tax revenue, not enough fees, not enough tariffs, not enough anything to provide the be-all end-all for all who expect to line up at the federal trough to be cared for for their entire lives.

The Founders expected individuals to be connected within their individual communities through neighborhoods, churches, or other organizations in order to encourage good citizenship and dependence upon others.  Such a paradigm requires a certain expectation of individuals to behave in a way that does not alienate them from their neighbors.  The Founders never intended for the Federal Government to provide one single solitary thing for any individual.  The Enumerated Powers expressed dealt with regulating a level playing field for individual rights and for the ability of commerce to flourish.  They would have bristled at the thought of a powerful federal entity picking winners and losers either through the tax system or through entitlements to certain individuals or groups.  These powers were reserved to the States and to the People individually.

Enough boats in a water rescue come from boat owners.  Enough health care comes from a bustling health industry, enough retirement comes from responsible, accountable citizens saving their money.  Depend on government and you will eventually be stranded.  Whatever we allow or expect government to give, government can take away.  Build your own boat and look out for your neighbors.  If you do not have your own boat, be enough of a neighbor that your neighbor with a boat looks out for you in time of need.


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10 Responses to “There will never be enough boats”

  1. And we could all together go out upon the ocean : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee Says:

    […] Hartline, Republican running in the Tennessee Fifth, blogs on how community is more effective than government: But their care for their neighbors is not the only story here.  Neither is the heroism of First […]

  2. LadyLib Says:

    Mr. Hartline,
    I don’t know you, but I do know that your views are so out of line in this situation that I am appalled that you are a Tennessean. I hope the citizens of the 5th Congressional district are made aware of your lack of compassion and your need to politicize the tragedy that has befallen our state. How about instead of waxing philosophic about there never being enough boats, you get out there and actually help someone.

    • Jeff Hartline Says:


      I believe you know my intention is not to politicize the tragic flooding across the State. It is obvious to me that the people of this State are far more capable of handling someone like this than our government is. I am proud to be a Tennessean. I have spent hours since basements began to flood on Sunday working with family and friends on their homes, lending out equipment to others to help repair damaged areas of town, etc. I am passionate about this city and this State. That is why I am running for this office. I want to make sure we don’t forget that WE are what keeps this country moving.

      I hope that makes sense. I apologize if my perspective offended you. However, the people of Middle Tennessee know the reality. People helping people will always be better than the government helping people.

    • krl Says:

      You are absolutely correct, you DO NOT KNOW Mr. Hartline. I do; and if you had any idea how busy he was helping people in the community this past week, you wouldn’t have posted your comment. The purpose of the post was not to politicize the tragedy, but a testimony to what happens in a community when the people pull together and get to work; not wait on the federal gov’t. to save everyone. It was also a message to those that think the government can take care of every aspect of our lives. It can’t. The growing entitlement mentality of this country is a danger to the people and to the Republic. BTW, where was Mr. Cooper during all this? The crickets in my flooded back yard have made more noise than him.

  3. chris Says:

    “….I believe you know my intention is not to politicize the tragic flooding across the State…”

    What a friggin joker you are…too bad your jokes aren’t at all funny….

    “”…The Founders never intended for the Federal Government to provide one single solitary thing for any individual. …”

    Oh Yeh…How about sound, compassionate and reasonable leadership that is honest?…I’m not surprised you missed those points.

  4. bankerdore Says:

    “sound, compassionate and reasonable leadership that is honest?” Not exactly sure what Mr. Hartline said that is not these things. The point I think Mr. Hartline made pretty well is INDIVIDUALS not THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT do a better job of helping their own. Let’s look at Hurricane Katrina for instance. In that situation the people of the area did not adhere to warnings to evacuate then sat and waited (or looted) for some governmental entity to help them out when the waters came. The city government let every school bus available sit and did not use them to evacuate people. Then when the waters came, the government literally dissolved. The State government had absolutely no impact and quickly ceded responsibility to the Fed’s. The feds couldn’t mobilize fast enough and then, when they did, fumbled over themselves to clean up the CITY’s mess.

    Now, fast forward to Nashville. No one waited on the City, State or Fed’s to step in. The people simply took care of each other. Whether affluent, poor or even illegal immigrant, everyone was being helped by their neighbors, friends or even by complete strangers.

    So, who is actually politicizing this discussion? Sounds like to me Hartline makes a very VALID and RATIONAL point.

  5. RHL Says:

    Hey Lady Lib –
    I don’t know you but I’m guessing you may be one of the folks that loves every opportunity for a big ol’ government boat to save you. I’m appalled that you can’t see that it was the uncompassionate folks (like Jeff Hartline – who FYI was at my home helping my family out throughout the week!) that we might have had enough death and destruction here in Nashville and Middle Tennessee to have gotten a little more attention from the MSM and maybe even the President. Oh wait – he called Brad Paisley…

  6. Jeff Hartline Has a Chance Unseating Jim Cooper | RedState Says:

    […] is conservative. He is also a man after my own heart with his love and faith in the people of Tennessee. I don’t believe we can ask for a better representative for Tennessee’s 5th […]

  7. Jeff Hartline Has a Chance Unseating Jim Cooper | Says:

    […] is conservative. He is also a man after my own heart with his love and faith in the people of Tennessee. I don’t believe we can ask for a better representative for Tennessee’s 5th […]

  8. Betsy E Thompson Says:

    Mr. Hartline
    We will be taping TV shows for “Hope for the Cities” with Lytle Thomas, a faith and values talk show to give hope to to the hopeless. We will tape on Wednesday June 23 and 30 at 11:30 am and 1:00 pm each day. Also July 7 and 14 same times.
    Would love to have you on with Lytle to talk about your thoughts and goals and give hope to our listeners. Please let me know if you would be interested and will be in Nashville any of those days. This is a local cable station and a great chance to get your message out.

    Thank you Betsy E Thompson 615-957-9394

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