Here's the big lesson from mega-storm Sandy: Mother Nature sneers at high tech, mocks modern convenience and couldn't care less about what kind of person you are. She will smack you if she wants to.
As we have become addicted to machines, many of us have forgotten about nature. We must have gizmos. Sandy laughed and took them away. Power, gone. Internet, dark. Cellphones, not happening. Even your landline phone, not available, because "all circuits are busy."
Suddenly, it's 1850 with one exception: battery-operated flashlights and radios.
So what is the lesson here?
Actually, there are a few.
First: No government agency can help you when disaster strikes. Any assistance will be after the fact and painstakingly slow.
Second: In order to ride out any storm effectively, you should be self-reliant and resilient. That means you have to anticipate problems and have some solutions at the ready.
For example, where I live on Long Island, the power infrastructure is a disaster and has been for years. The power company, LIPA, simply cannot keep the juice flowing under duress. I have accepted that, and so I bought a generator. However, during Sandy, the generator did not work. You can imagine how many four-letter words were uttered. But I had a Plan B. I know some guys who can repair generators, and they fixed mine very quickly. I have a long-term relationship with these guys and will reward them.
So, I rode out the storm pretty well, and that's good because there are children in my home.
Not once did I think the local, state or federal government was going to help me in any way. When President Obama speaks about government being there for you, I roll my eyes. In the history of mankind, no government has ever been there for the individual. Ever.
Sadly, we are becoming a nation dependent on other people and very reliant on machines. Sandy's destruction brought us back to the 19th century, as the collapse of the machines was something to see. Many people were lost without their appliances because they are not self-reliant. They do not think ahead. They do not figure out Plan B because they don't even have a Plan A.
Life is hard, and then you die. But while you're alive, you'll be far better off if you forget about the big-government nonsense, deemphasize the machines and begin incorporating the discipline of self-reliance into your life.
Sorry for the lecture, but my father always said that out of bad things can come some good. Americans need to wise up, and with the election just a few days away, we have an opportunity to do so.
We the people need leadership that will solve problems, be fiscally responsible and promote individual responsibility. The charlatans that promise big-government protection will always be around, but they are no match for Sandy and her furious friends.
That is the lesson of this terrible storm.
Veteran TV news anchor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor" and author of "Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama."