Despite requests to evacuate the area targeted by Hurricane Sandy, numerous residents in the northeast refused to leave their homes. Their decisions to defy evacuation orders, said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, were “selfish” and morally unjustified. But the ethics are not so clear cut, says Acton’s Ray Northstine, in a Religion News Service report published in the Washington Post:
Moral justifications to ride out dangerous storms can vary. Some stay put to look after elderly neighbors who can’t evacuate, or to care for pets who would be unwelcome in many hotels, according to Ray Nothstine, managing editor of the Acton Institute’s Religion & Liberty magazine. He says individuals must weigh various factors, from the likelihood of requiring rescue to the value of defending personal property; they can’t just let officials decide for them.
“Anytime there’s drastic government encroachment, even in the case of mandatory evacuations, you’re going to see your level of liberty erode,” Nothstine says.