WITHOUT HYPER-VIGILANT PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, GOVERNMENT RUNS AMOK:
This is from a discussion with a friend who feels government is morally groundless and should not have authority over what we do:Friend, I am not saying you’re stupid; you quite obviously aren’t. I don’t think you are, either. Smart People can say and do stupid things, however–but I’m not even saying that about you; what I am saying is we need people sent to examine what we do with the physical world–in business related to food, medicine, and energy production, otherwise we get Tylenol that poisons people, chemotherapy that increases cancer growth, cigarettes with polonium 210 in them, as well as arsenic, and other harmful poisons in them, faulty nuclear reactor constructions, oil spills, oil-over-use, wind, geothermal, solar, and hydroelectric UNDER-use, no emissions controls, etc., etc. This means oversight and regulation; WE decide on the parameters of that oversight and regulation, and we have our representatives pass the laws related to it–to protect us(!).
Look at fracking (!). It’s insane. Look at coal-production (which bleeds more nuclear radiation into the environment than nuclear power); Look at oil-procurement (and the wars necessary for it!); Look at nuclear power; It is said that given the conditions of the damaged Tepco reactors in Japan, right now, if they have a Richter 7-earthquake in the next two years–and the chances of that are above 95%–Japan may be finished (!). I read yesterday that the contamination of the Fukushima reactors could end life on the planet–or in the northern hemisphere. This is corporate (and government) failure (but without government regulation, I don’t think we would even be here, right now).
We can’t wait for years and years–decades even, to see the harmful results of greed, ignorance, and stupidity in business, any more–waiting for consumer-awareness to remedy the problems that stem from business manipulating the environment and what we drink, eat, and breathe doesn’t help.
The average person is too busy, not expert enough in the sciences, and has a pseudo-religious, and fantastical cum delusional outlook: ‘Nothing really bad is going to happen (to me).’ THAT’S A BIG PART OF WHAT GOT US WHERE WE ARE.We have DESTROYED the healthy progression of the biosphere and our health and evolution within it, letting business do what it wants (!); government, too, actually. However, government still has the power to regulate business, and we are a part of that.
Despite government’s failures, the answer is not to scrap government. Bush & Reaganomics, Deregulation… these are why we are where we are economically and environmentally. We need to reform government. But getting rid of it means every money-hungry fool with capital can do what he wants to us and the planet. We must be aware of the issues associated with what we learn from good scientists, and we must be telling our servants in government what they need to be doing to keep our species and other species thriving. Those other species (and the natural meteorological and geological processes they are a part of) are our biosphere. And it takes regulations to keep our biosphere and our food supplies healthy–because the average person is not yet cognitively advanced enough to care about that, especially when s/he can benefit enormously–financially–bu ignoring that.Friend, you lived in Korea. You saw what an ignorant population does to itself with little or no regulations (Ours is no different, but regarding different issues): At virtually every construction site I passed in Korea, workers burned trash–more as a tradition and a way to save on waste-removal–and that trash included plastics; I smelled burning plastics all the time. That is one example, only one.
IT IS MAN’s TENDENCY TO BE LAZY, on top of his hurry to do right in order to survive (and now to survive exceedingly well); it is man’s tendency to be ignorant and naturally greedy–especially in this age. Unchecked, man will–as is abundantly obvious with global climate change–destroy his environment and everything in it. And yes, it is government that has been a part of this, due to the slow growth of our understanding of the natural world, but yes, also due to our inaction on the issue, the corruption of the political process, and because of corporate corruption and bigger concerns over economics than over human and planetary health.
But no regulations, no oversight, and no penalties for abuse and we would have a situation ten times worse than what we have. Do you remember leaded gasoline? I do! It’s illegal now. If it weren’t, do you think you would not be inhaling its deadly derivative vapors in a country where the average conservative doesn’t care about health-care? Where there is still a fight against agreeing on a decent hourly wage? Where, without legislation, children would still be working in sweatshops and there would be no labor standards, health standards, and non-discrimination laws?And people need to start understanding science. That’s partially what’s been wrong too; people are too ignorant or too busy (or both) to know their foods, cigarettes, and power sources are killing not only themselves, but everyone else.Cigarettes, nuclear power, hydrogenated oils, harmful additives, and pesticides in foods, fossil fuels, the over-production and unsafe disposal of plastics, and other deleterious products and practices of business need to be outlawed–outright. And stupid, immoral, and/or ignorant business isn’t the only culprit;Our government and other nation-state governments completely irradiated all of us and the entire planet with upwards of 800 nuclear bomb tests; you, the reader have radioactive strontium 90 in your body because of it.The choice is ours; we must be more involved in our government, and when it doesn’t do what’s healthy and good for us & future generations, we must bar the members in it who are responsible from ever seeking office again, perhaps even jail them.The problem is you, the reader, if you think the government is your daddy; It isn’t; The government is the staff, and you are the management. If you don’t want that job, you don’t deserve democracy and you don’t deserve anything better than what you get.