Sunday, May 30, 2010

Our Fix-It Faith

From The New York Times comes this article about our reliance on technology to "fix" whatever is wrong. This is especially evident with the oil spill, as Americans are skeptical that BP can fix the problem and want the government to take over. What they refuse to accept, and what the article points out, is there may not be any technology, aside from the relief wells, that can stop the spill. Putting the government in charge will not change the facts on the ground, or in the Gulf. The top kill and the junk shots had not been tried at that depth and even BP was not willing to say they would be successful. Americans want answers and action, but sometimes there aren't any. Our expectations exceed reality.

We Americans are an impatient lot, and don't tolerate ambiguity well, especially in situations like this. We want government out of our lives, except when we want it to take action. What if the only answer, once the well is killed, is more government rules and regulations? Over at the gCaptain forums I saw a post from a Norwegian driller. He said all of their experts on killing wells are busy working on the BP spill. He also indicated they have more rules, more regulations, and perhaps a better technological handle on issues like this.

I am reminded that the Tea Party wants as small a government as possible. I have to wonder if they would consider the Norwegian model for regulating oil and gas drilling an appropriate function of government? Are we willing to accept that perhaps the technology is not there, and may not be for a long time? Are we willing to accept that risk as an acceptable trade-off to continue deep water drilling for the oil this country runs on?

Are we willing to accept that maybe, just maybe, BP and the government are doing all they can to stop the spill?

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