Thursday, June 03, 2010

The BP disaster is the logical result of the Tea Party ideology

"When I give food to the poor, I'm called a saint. When I ask why they are poor, I'm called a communist." -Archbishop Dom Helder Camara.

Over at Alternet, Jim Hightower has a great piece on the BP catastrophe. The title speaks volumes: 'Who the Hell's in Charge Here? BP Disaster Caused by a Nasty Mix of Government Impotence and Corporate Rule'

Hightower notes that [t]he explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon well was the inevitable result of deliberate decisions made by avaricious corporate executives, laissez faire politicians and obsequious regulators.

The catastrophe is often described as an accident. And I wouldn't characterize it as deliberate. But when a disaster of this magnitude is the result of incompetence, greed and negligence, the word 'accident' seems grossly inadequate.

Much like the financial collapse, the cataclysmic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the very logical outcome of the corporate parties' ideology of de-regulation for its own sake.

Conservatives have spent the last 30+ years de-legitimizing all forms of government authority (except the military of course). They've spent decades preaching that businesses should be able to do whatever they want without the 'tyranny' of regulation, that the market would sort everything out neatly in every case.

It's perfectly legitimate to debate whether the state should be micromanaging x or y. Even much of the left believes that New York state government, for example, has far too many regulations that have no good reason for existing.

But conservatives have taken it much further than simply getting rid of the stupid regulations. They've pushed the un-nuanced idea that ALL forms of (non-'security') government authority are inherently illegitimate.

Just as it's wrong to say that regulation is inherently good, it's also dangerous to say that all regulation is inherently bad. I believe state authority should be exercised only when other options don't work or are not viable. But I don't exclude this option in all cases. Government regulation shouldn't be the first option, but it shouldn't be automatically excluded. Ideology should be a guide, not a straitjacket.

Disasters like the financial collapse and BP catastrophe are the inevitable result of the cult of less government for its own sake. If you want more of them, vote for Tea Party candidates.

I wonder why you don't hear Sarah Palin chanting "Drill baby drill" anymore.

Update: as an anonymous commenter pointed out, my last statement apparently gave the quitter too much credit. Why Republicans pay attention to empty celebrities like her is beyond me?


Anonymous said...

Evidently, you've let your subscription to Palin's twitter feed expire.

PCS said...

Don't forget, conservatives don't mind government authority when it comes to pregnancy and gender issues either.