June 24, 2010
An American Chernobyl?By Jim Mahoney
The calamity in the Gulf has the markings of the disaster that led to the demise of the Soviet Union. Our federal government led by our god-like president, an omnipotent structure in the starry eyes of many, shows itself to be an incompetent, uncoordinated monster, capable only of interfering with productive efforts to salvage our coastlines and livelihoods. The once-Olympian Obama is reduced to a sniveling nebbish bemoaning his inability to suck it all up with a straw.
The whole spectacle is too familiar to anyone who's ever tried to develop a productive enterprise. Such people see the same bureaucratic nonsense devised by lawyers to frustrate creativity and strengthen the government's grip on the citizen. From building permits to oil drilling, the motivation for the rules is always wrapped in some noble-sounding, abstract notion. The execution is inevitably callous, mindless, and ruthless. Too often, it's also corrupt.
With the kind of luck that used to be credited with accompanying fools and drunks, America is getting an object lesson in the stupidity of believing in an all-knowing state-god. As the horror goes on, this lesson, if learned, could last generations, and it arrives as we begin our final descent into serfdom.
While Obama turned the American drift to tyranny into a sprint, he's managed a spectacular slip-and-fall on the way to our transformation. His actions and those of his government are not substantially different from any other bureaucracy, Soviet or not. The results in all their hideousness are undeniably clear. Like Chernobyl, they will be with us for a long time.
As Chernobyl was a turning point in the mind of the average Soviet, the Gulf drama demonstrates the same weaknesses and follies of any centralized political command and control system. Like good Soviets, no one at the federal level, especially our leader, is proposing a solution to the leak. Rather, the federal response is absorbed in turf wars, leaving coherent action paralyzed by conflicting loyalties.
We watch the Corps of Engineers frustrate the Coast Guard, while both join the rest of the federal apparatus to frustrate problem-solvers. From rejecting foreign government help to ignoring good old boys with hay bales, the problem for the feds is not how to stop the leak, or even how to mitigate the disaster, but how best to exploit it to the advantage of politicians and their sponsors.
In the best tradition of ambulance-chasers running to the scene of a multi-car wreck, our president has no first aid skills and no desire to dirty his hands pulling victims from the wreckage. The only action he's capable of is pounding his chest and demanding that someone else pay.
Of course Obama's compassion is delivered on a contingency basis. The fee in this case is further crippling the American economy with his energy fantasies.
This is Chernobyl with an American spin.
The Soviet people lost their fear of the system as a result of Chernobyl. The nuclear disaster planted the seeds that quickly sprouted into the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the totalitarian governments that built it. America's flirtation with tyranny developed into a betrothal with Obama's accession. Will we have the sense Russians did to realize our state-god has clay feet? Can we leave him standing at the altar?
Over the years, America has built far too extensive a state apparatus. The financial collapse of 2008, followed by the recession and insane public spending, is producing an unprecedented transfer of wealth. Since the rise of public-sector unions, we've built a bureaucracy at federal, state, county, and municipal levels that would be the envy of any Soviet apparatchik. Our apparatchiks receive salaries 45% higher than those earned by the private-sector serfs who pay them.
If Obama manages to clean the tar balls off his administration and get his agenda back in motion, in a few years we will be a nation dispossessed of our private property. We will be enslaved by our own Wall St.-Washington Politburo and dominated by a class of apparatchiks willing to follow any instruction so long as they keep their comfortable jobs.
The transfer of the means of production into the hands of the state defines Communism. Incredibly, by outsourcing our manufacturing, we've managed to voluntarily transfer our means of production to the Communist Chinese state.
There is no economic activity that produces as much wealth as manufacturing. Part of throwing off the yoke of our masters-in-waiting is overthrowing ridiculous laws enacted in the name of environmental protection. The sorry spectacle in the Gulf demonstrates that for the most part, they are nothing more than obstacles to productive work, and they are often menaces to the environment.
Free of them, Americans will once again be free to start making products for themselves. Only then will our economy recover.
The calamity in the Gulf is an unprecedented tragedy. The farcical federal response is a deafening warning siren to America. If the reaction of our public is as wise and courageous as was the Soviet's, we may yet escape the shackles waiting for us.
Russia had no template but tyranny to follow the collapse of the USSR. America has the "blessings of liberty" enshrined in our founding documents and written in our hearts.
This could be our last chance to recover these blessings for us and for future generations.