Not long ago, President Obama gave an interview to the online site Politico in which he said:
“I think it’s fair to say, if six months ago, before this spill had happened, I had gone up to Congress and I had said we need to crack down a lot harder on oil companies and we need to spend more money on technology to respond in case of a catastrophic spill, there are folks up there, who will not be named, who would have said this is classic, big-government overregulation and wasteful spending.”
“Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying ‘do something’ are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much,” Obama said. “Some of the same people who are saying the president needs to show leadership and solve this problem are some of the same folks who, just a few months ago, were saying this guy is trying to engineer a takeover of our society through the federal government that is going to restrict our freedoms.”
Now, setting aside whether or not that's a fair accusation or not and ignoring the fact that Obama could have, but did not, attempt any such regulation this quote, betrays a basic flaw with leftist ideology.
In 2009, Deepwater Horizon, the rig that exploded, was given an award for “outstanding drilling operations” and a “perfect performance period.” from the Department of Interior's Mineral Management Services. What happened was an industrial accident, which by definition is something you cannot expect. It is the height of arrogance to presume that any human endeavor is accident free or can ever be engineered in such a way it will never go wrong. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig didn't explode and collapse because of insufficient regulation, it was an accident which no amount of law or government oversight can prevent.
It was a tragedy when the oil rig exploded, killing workers and creating a huge environment- and economy-destroying oil leak. And in a sense, beyond the petty partisanship and the cheap shots at the expense of logic and truth by the President, this interview betrays a certain viewpoint of the world and politics, of power and government. President Obama seems to think that with enough government oversight, with enough regulation and law in place, with enough bureaucracy you can avoid accidents. He seems to think that at least the really bad and major disasters can be prevented if only you get enough government involved.
And that seems to be a serious problem with the left's outlook on life. I don't think they consciously are aware of this, I doubt they systematically and logically come to this conclusion by examining all the data and step by step reason out that sufficient government = no major problems, but that's what their actions, policies, and statements all seem to indicate.
Every single problem in the world that ever comes up always has the same prescription: more government.
Homeless people? More government. Climate Change? More government. Unemployment? More government. Naughty Children? Too much salt in your potato chips? Unfriendly neighbors? Warped floors? Uneven tire wear? More government.
More, more, more. It always seems to be the same answer, no matter what the situation. The unspoken assumption here is that if only we had sufficient government control over every single aspect of our lives, then things would always be better. The idea here is that as humans, if only we put our best, most organized effort to the job, nothing could ever go wrong.
Look, I'll admit that government isn't always as bad or incompetent as some conservatives portray it. Yet the government isn't as good and capable as nearly all leftists seem to think it is either. Nothing on earth is that competent. And this attitude that government can and will solve all problems if only we give it enough power isn't just ignorant and childish, it is basically destructive as well. Liberty is destroyed, self-reliance is destroyed, market signals are destroyed, ambition is destroyed, and as we can see in Europe and possibly worldwide, entire economies can be destroyed.
The US Constitution absolutely requires the US Government to be involved at a certain minimal level in the economy. The market isn't designed to be completely free; taxes and other basic regulations are involved, such as with weights and measures. But there is absolutely no rational, historical, or common sense basis for the presumption that if only we had more government involvement in life, things everything would just go better.