02 June 2010

On blame

After Katrina, Working Assets designed a billboard which placed a photo of the submerged city alongside a quotation from famed small-government crusader Grover Norquist, stating his desire to reduce the federal government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."

I always wonder how fair it is when we take a major, unforeseen disaster as evidence of a flawed ideology.

Today the AP ran a story entitled "Conservatives seek government solutions after oil spill." In it, they recall Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal's 2009 promise to refuse federal stimulus money, in contrast with his eagerness to work with the federal government (and its resources) to deal with the oil spill. It's interesting to ask small-government conservatives from the region how they rationalize it, but ultimately not very satisfying: I gather that most would say that disaster recovery is precisely one of the few proper roles for the federal government. I can't tell if the reporter was fishing for hypocrisy, but I don't think there is much to be found here.

A much more lighthearted effort in this same vein is the Facebook group entitled "Plugging the Gulf oil leak with the works of Ayn Rand". Lord knows she wrote enough pages.

I know my opinion usually falls on the left, and I spend a lot of my time trying to be as charitable as possible toward the right. My aim is not to let anyone off the hook, or to conclude that the Gulf disaster is ideologically neutral. But if you think you're in a position to score ideological points off of this disaster, the relevant question is not whether you own a copy of Atlas Shrugged; it's whether you own an automobile.

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