We don't know how to take care of ourselves anymore. We are too dependent on infrastructure. At Bethany, we are making an effort to understand how to fend for ourselves, but we have a long way to go. (I have a dead car in the driveway which probably needs only a new solonoid or starter, yet I am not sure how to make sure and then how to fix it.)
But as I contemplate these things, I realize that the ideal of "independence", while certainly American, it is not necessarily a good thing in all aspects. It really depends on what you mean. Interdependence of peoples is good. It makes for peace in a community, in a country.... It is the hallmark of early Christian communities.
The fracturing of the family-first the extended family by our mobile and relocating society and then the fracturing of the immediate family through divorce, contraception, abortion, etc.-have devastated our ability to depend on each other. We don't know our neighbors in many communities - so we don't even try to depend on them. We can't depend on our families because they are either fractured or thousands of miles away. So we depend on government, utility companies, and the like.
In fact, we depend on infrastructure now and not on each other - and not on God!
During these disasters, people are once again forced to depend on each other-unfortunately we see sometimes, as in the reports of rape and mayhem in New Orleans, that some of the people can not be depended on when others are in need.
From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...
Oremus pro invicem!