Is this Big Oil’s Chernobyl?

I’m reserving judgment on this oil spill for now. Maybe BP is doing everything they can to stop it. Maybe not. The same goes for the US government. Maybe BP did all within their power to prevent this situation through risk assessments and safety systems. Maybe the government had enough in place to catch code violations or ensure enough resources were available for such a disaster. Again, in both cases, maybe not. Time will tell.

Three things do however appear clear to me at this time;

  1. Oil becomes harder to procure for a multitude of reasons; such as being difficult to reach in the few remaining pristine natural habitats, at depth in the oceans or its challenging abundance in the Middle East.
  2. Procuring oil at great depth is risky business. Let alone fixing problems when they arise.
  3. As our appetite for oil grows so do the associated issues raised in points 1 & 2

There is also something else that comes to mind…

I find it fascinating how the same media, pundits and critics who are all about “less” or “smaller” government appear to be the first to point the finger at the government for not solving their problems when things go drastically wrong. As they have with this awful disaster. To follow their oft flawed logic we must ask them these types of questions: Where is the free market in all of this? Where are the corporations rushing to save the day? Where are the naval militia of “Tea Partiers” and their commandeered flotilla of private vessels hell bent on stopping the oil reaching the coast? “Ask not what your country can do for you…”

Or is it the government’s responsibility to resolve this? And if it is, at least in part, what are the resources at its disposal to do so? Well they come from taxes and go to provide yet another historical example of how taxes are the cost of civilization.

If the public discourse on this terrible tragedy teaches me anything it is that balance is imperative. That there is a place for both democratically elected government and free enterprise and that if the scales tip too far in either direction those of us who enjoy the freedom of a democratic society will find ourselves in grave trouble indeed.

Now, will those with the power to do so please act swiftly and with great force to fix this tragedy as soon as humanly possible.


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