This world is so full of life and nature that exists outside the realm of mankind, that to think we have even more than a smattering of knowledge of it all is the height of conceit, and to think we have any control of it is just plain idiotic. Sure, the industrial age heralded an unprecedented understanding about the natural sciences relative to what we knew before. Compared to the sum total of knowledge in the dark ages, we could be considered almost omniscient. But that is not really saying much. It is like saying that, compared to a newborn, a high school graduate is brilliant; but no one would assume that high school graduate is about to cure cancer or understand the behavior of tachyons. We are smarter sure, but we don’t know everything.
We don’t know enough to really understand what the gulf oil spill is going to do in the long run. No one could have even predicted the events that led up to the spill. Sure, one could argue that if “proper precautions” were taken, the crisis would never have happened. But that is really not true, especially when you remember that accidents happen no matter how many plans you put into place. You cannot plan for every eventuality. Perhaps if BP had drilled secondary vents, they could relieve the pressure on that line so less oil would leak into the gulf. But that would not have prevented the explosion. Maybe if they make a determination that the explosion was “preventable,” someone will step forward and admit wrongdoing. Not likely, but one can always hope. Either way, that determination will be erroneous. We can always second guess our outcomes, but hindsight is 20/20 and the only good it does is to give the public a scapegoat.
Who should take the blame for this? Obama and the socialists? It would be easy to blame them. Bush and the conservatives? Easier still for the liberals to blame them. But really, the fault lies with BP. Only with BP. No one else can claim fault (unless the explosion was the direct result of an eco- terrorist act) because no one else was involved. The public wants to roast someone on a spit about it. Whenever something goes wrong the first thing the public wants to do is to assign blame. This makes the public feel superior and gives them comfort in their moral superiority. Never mind that the main reason BP was drilling there was to feed the public’s appetite for energy.
Obama made a declaration in an interview yesterday that he was in talks with experts so he “knows whose butt to kick” about the disaster. There are all kinds of people clamoring for the government to take over the efforts to repair the pipe and stop the leak. That is the last thing anyone should want. Why would we want an institution that cannot even balance a budget, cannot secure our nation’s borders, cannot solve healthcare crisis and cannot meet the basic needs of the nation to even try to fix a leak in a 40-inch pipe a mile under the surface of the ocean? They could only make matters worse. It would be like a plumber trying to wire in a 220 volt circuit, or a baker trying to repair a hot water heater. These are not similar skill sets. Nothing good can come of the attempt. There is no geologist just waiting around the West Wing waiting for a project. The best minds that can work on this problem already are.
The only thing the government can do is drive BP to work harder. Fine them a billion dollars a day that the leak is spewing. Give them the proper incentive to get this problem fixed. But stop getting in the way. Everyone knows what is going on, we don’t need more coverage, we don’t need more politicians getting airtime clamoring for the administration to act, and we don’t need bureaucrats getting in the way of real experts.
No one knows how the spill will affect the gulf ecosystems in the long run. Sure, it will kill of thousands, perhaps millions, of animals. Sure it will poison the waters. But the oceans are huge and you may not know this, but raw crude oil has been leaking into the ocean since the dawn of time through naturally occurring fissures in the ocean floor. Perhaps not as rapidly as the oil well leak, but it gets there none the less. The ocean cleans itself. It is part of nature. Don’t ask me to explain how. I don’t know. And that is my point.