Politics, at its worst, has always been a war of words consisting of gimmicky gotchas, catchy sound bites, and partisan name-calling. It’s just that in today’s environment the participants have raised it to a new art form. Of course, none of it would be possible without the perpetual support of an increasingly clueless news media.
And, I won’t even go into the intrepid windbags of issue-oriented TV and talk radio. It’s become so bad that news pundits grab any little nuance, no matter how innocent or insignificant, that will create a controversy.
We have a major catastrophe going on in the Gulf of Mexico right now. Its direct impact encompasses every aspect of life in that region: ...view middle of the document...
But, the fact is that we’ve never sent corporate executives or government administrators to jail for violating the SPIRIT of the law. While something MAY change this time, don’t bet on it.
And, even if a few people do go to jail, no one of real significance will get the assignment. As always, THAT task will fall to those unfortunate inhabitants residing much lower on the authority channels: the designated scapegoats.
Throughout all of this, it’s important to remember that politicians and free-market capitalists understand a few things in common and two of them are worth mentioning here.
The first is that astute politicians and shrewd capitalists know that certainty is a subjective perspective based on myth while uncertainty is an objectively based reality. Therefore, the most prudent course is learning to live with uncertainty. The second thing they know is NEVER to admit this to us, the “little” people. Otherwise, fear and anxiety wouldn’t be nearly as effective in getting themselves reelected.
WE, the “little” people, are fine with risk as long as it does not affect us directly. Whenever it does, however, we don’t want to hear anything about uncertainty. If we feel screwed, we want it fixed IMMEDIATELY! And, it’s usually not enough to win the point; others MUST lose.
I often wonder how many people born after 1940 know… REALLY KNOW… how true free-market capitalism operates. Even people well into their 50s have no clue as to the difference between an Adam Smith “Liberal” and a Nancy Pelosi “LIBERAL.” I’m not going to explain it here; you’ll have to Google it.
Somewhere along the line, BP made informed decisions to save a few million dollars in operating costs by sidestepping a few safety regulations. Lured by the potential for untold millions in oil revenue, the odds of a problem seemed minimal. It’s what free-market capitalism is all about: risk-taking in return for riches. But, this time it backfired and BP is looking at about $60-billion to fix the mess. I’m betting on bankruptcy.
As well, the staunch defenders of unfettered free-markets will explain that the result of this disaster will cause the market to self-correct. After all, it would take an oil-company executive of unprecedented stupidity to endorse these kinds of safety shortcuts again… at least not in the short-run.