For a quick exercise in the benefit of limited government involvement, contrast the brutal horror of New Orleans with the clean efficiency of Houston this week.
In New Orleans local, state, and federal officials began bickering before Hurricane Katrina ever hit as to who was going to supply relief, who was going to enforce order, and even who was going to order evacuations. The obvious and unfortunate result was (or will be) thousands dead, an entire city in chaos, and no one taking responsibility.
In Houston the situation was the complete opposite. Of course there are differences that should be taken into account when comparing the efforts: massive flooding hampering transportation, utilities connected or not, security or not, etc. But here the only government involvement was making the Astrodome available and ready. After the refugees arrived, everything was handled by volunteers and charity organizations. The result has been as far as I can see a very smooth transition into relative comfort for the reported 18,000 New Orleans natives there.
The disaster in New Orleans has and will continue to teach us many lessons. The first (after 'RUN AWAY!') that I can see is that the less government involvement in crisis situations, the better.