A significant number of people who live along the northern Texas coast are under a mandatory evacuation order because of Hurricane Ike. Leaving the path of a natural disaster is obviously a reasonable and prudent thing to do. And if there is anything good that can be said for a hurricane, it would be that they provide enough warning to allow for a safe exit, a luxury that other natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes do not provide. Having experienced a hurricane first hand in the Houston area in 1983 (Alicia) I can testify that they are no fun. A hurricane is something to have a healthy fear of.
But it seems to me that a greater fear needs to be had of a government that has the power to impose a mandatory evacuation order. In other words, a government that can force you to abandon your home and your possessions. Forcing you to incur the expense, and expend the time and effort to leave. Just like that, with the stroke of a pen. Let me say again, I am in no way minimizing the prudence of leaving the path of a dangerous situation. After all, life and limb are far more important than worldly possessions. But a government that can simply declare that you are not intelligent enough to make this sort of decision for yourself, and that they need to do it for you, is a government that has too much authority over our freedoms. And a government that will likely, over time, carve away even more of our freedoms. And that is a looming storm deserving of a greater fear. And it is a storm that we are receiving plenty of warning about.
Note: I will be the first to say that if our public officials (who we are to respect, because God has put them in authority over us Romans 13: 1) issue some sort of critical evacuation recommendation because of a predictable peril, and a person decides to ride it out, then that government ought not be expected to expend any effort trying to rescue that person during the disaster, particularly at the risk of injury to first responder rescuers. Likewise, the person who fails to heed this sort of recommendation should not be relieved or protected from civil or criminal responsibility for harm done to innocent third parties (like children) who are negatively impacted by a decsion to stay in harm’s way.