Time and again over the past week we have been told of the remarkable fellowship exhibited by Queenslanders as they have waded through fetid water to offer their services to their fellow citizens, or risked their own safety to haul strangers out of the malevolent black current. And yet: would we celebrate this tableau of human good nature so enthusiastically if we did not also fear, somewhere in our hearts, that we might have reacted differently — that we might simply have looked after ourselves and our own, and allowed the devil to take the hindmost?