In response to a drought of historic proportions in his state, Georgia governor Sonny Perdue gathered with 250 of his constituents on Nov. 13th to pray for rain.
Yes, that’s right: a United States governor, in the most technologically advanced country in the world, where separation of church and state is a founding tenet, has performed the Western equivalent of a rain dance.
As he scheduled his prayer meeting for just before the ten-day forecast was predicting rain, his prayers were answered- in a manner of speaking. Two days later, a storm hit Georgia. The state got less than an inch of rain, not nearly enough to make a difference to the drought. The force of the winds, however, did make a difference- damaging buildings and injuring at least 9 people.
Governor Perdue responded to the storm by saying, “Frankly, it’s great affirmation of what we asked for.” What we have asked for, apparently, is a state ruled by faith where charlatans arrange revival-style meetings while the water levels reach historic lows.
This is merely the latest example of the mismanagement of water throughout the South. Leaky reservoirs, unenforceable water restrictions, and the exportation of billions of gallons of water to save a species of endangered mussels in Florida have made the region incapable of handling the unusually dry summer. It is also the latest example of the inability of government to run industry. Imagine a private corporation, guilty of this level of mismanagement, facing its consumers with a plan that included praying for a divine solution. They would be driven out of business—and replaced with a more reality-oriented company.Dr. Keith Lockitch, a resident fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, explains the need to move towards a private water system:
“What is needed is a water management system that is entirely owned and operated by private individuals and companies, who would be driven by the profit motive to ensure a sufficient water capacity. A wholly private system would protect the rights of all users with a legitimate interest in the Chattahoochee River Basin–including metro Atlanta as well as the energy plants downstream and the Florida seafood industry in the Gulf–with no one requiring that human beings be sacrificed to mussels.”