Re: Gulf Oil Spill Reaches Land
First she says capitalism is perfect then goes on to say no system is perfect.
I don’t think that is what she is saying. I knew this article was going to be controversial but I thought it was worth the discussion of another viewpoint. Thomas Franks original article was the following.
Laissez-Faire Meets the Oil Spill
Sarah Palin is trying to outflank Obama to the left.
Among the chatterati these days the favorite topic of conjecture is what the catastrophic Gulf oil spill means for President Obama. Pundits argue hotly over the correct historical comparison: Will the spill prove to be his Hurricane Katrina? His Three Mile Island? Or maybe his Iranian Hostage Crisis?
Meanwhile, a strange reticence has taken hold of Mr. Obama’s ideological opponents. Where are the livid patriots who enthralled us for months with their fevered dreams of a socialist-minded, power-hungry federal government?
Only a short while ago, of course, the populist right was riding high, sweeping the primaries and insisting that the operations of the market must not be interfered with; that government intervention of even the slightest kind dangerously diminishes human freedom.
Just last week, for example, the Washington Post featured a 2,500-word essay by Arthur C. Brooks, head of the American Enterprise Institute, calling for a “New Culture War” for laissez-faire capitalism—a grand moral debate over the right relationship of business and government that Mr. Brooks felt his side was sure to win.
Well, the Gulf spill has given Mr. Brooks and his movement the perfect opportunity to stage that debate. On one side, we’ve got the liberty-minded oil companies, the gentle giants that, just two months ago, the right was so keen to liberate from federal interference and to unleash on the nation’s coastline.
And on the side of government, we’ve got the Obama administration, which has backtracked on its new offshore-drilling policy and even announced plans to beef up drilling regulations. True, for most Americans that’s not a lot of statism to deplore, but the tea party movement is accustomed to regard even the most insignificant regulatory initiative as a front in the eternal war between freedom and socialism.
Back in April, for example, Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas) greeted the president’s drilling policy with the suggestion that the Environmental Protection Agency be abolished and “the energy market” freed from bureaucrats so that it might answer to “the demands of the people and the decisions of private investors.”
But what say the tea partiers today? Who will step forward now and demand that the “energy market” be rescued from regulatory bondage?
Other than Rand Paul, who will honor the snakeflag slogan and demand that the government stop treading on BP? Who will unmask the Gulf situation as just another fake crisis manufactured by power-hungry liberals? Who will lament the persecution of productive business executives by the looters of Washington, D.C., posturing so arrogantly in their hearing rooms but trembling in private as they contemplate the tsunami of liberty heading their way this November?
Most importantly, who will find an inventive way to blame government for the disaster? Not blame it for reacting too slowly after the spill—that is merely a statist reflex in disguise—but for somehow causing the spill with its meddlesome concerns for safety and the environment?
The answer, as far as I have been able to determine, is almost nobody. True, newspaper columnist Charles Krauthammer attempted last week to divert a little blame toward “environmental chic,” arguing that one reason the oil companies were even drilling in the Gulf is that environmentalism has blocked their access to other spots, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
But for the most part, what we hear from the right these days is essentially the same as what we hear from the liberals: complaints about corporate misbehavior, the need for more federal action, and demands for a shakeup of the regulatory agencies involved so that they might regulate better in the future.
In fact, one of the people leading the criticism of the Minerals Management Service—the regulator in question—has been conservative paladin Darrell Issa (R. Calif.), who correctly accuses MMS of having “too cozy of a relationship” with industry. Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, for her part, has actually used the spill to outflank Mr. Obama on the left, suggesting that someone should find out whether his administration’s vacillating response can be attributed to the sizable campaign contributions he has received from BP employees over the years.
These are refreshing arguments to hear from the right. After hurricane Katrina wrecked New Orleans, you will recall, conservative pundit Amity Shlaes famously described the Bush administration’s vacillating response as the traditional observance of the “Federalist Pause.”
And Galt only knows how many times “coziness” of the MMS variety has been celebrated as part of the struggle for free markets and free people. For a reminder, just pull out that famous 2003 photograph of James Gilleran, then director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, a bank regulator, “cutting red tape” along with a smiling group of bank-industry lobbyists.
But things are different today. The catastrophe is too great to brush it off with the usual laissez-faire scholasticism. So the great debate must wait. We are all liberals for the duration.
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I think Wendy was trying to do exactly what Thomas was asking when he said “Who will step forward now and demand that the “energy market” be rescued from regulatory bondage?”. I think Wendy was making an Anarcho-capitalist argument which is generally too radical for the mainstream press. Like I said I am largely sympathetic to this arguement but it is a bit utopian in nature and I am still not convinced that it can fully handle commons problems like the environment.
One thing you must keep in mind is that you can not start with the current mess and then just say the Anarcho-capitalism would allow BP to get away with it. What you must do is immagine, if that was the system we lived under would the BP spill have even happened and if it did, would the impact have been as bad. It is really not possible to know but it makes for an interesting thought exercise.