Thursday, February 05, 2009

A slap up the side of the head

Whether we are considering the patterns of regularity found in the marketplace, or from our relationships with strangers on streets and highways, or, in this case, the aftermath of a disaster or near-disaster, so much of the order that prevails within society arises, without anyone’s intention, as a result of our pursuing other ends. Our politicized training – reinforced by media and government officials – leads most of us to believe that social order is the product of the conscious design of wise leaders, whom the political process allows us to identify and elect. In the face of the wars and economic collapse that are now destroying our world, it is difficult for intelligent men and women to any longer embrace such childlike thinking that is probably a carryover from a dependence on parental authority.

As the events of that day slowly fade, those most immediately affected will recite, for others, their recollections. Capt. Sullenberger will doubtless enjoy his well-deserved hero status with appearances on television and radio programs. The ferryboat operators will likewise enjoy their earned fifteen minutes of fame. Other than memories, nothing permanent will come of this event. Those directly involved will return to their normal work: Capt. Sullenberger piloting other flights; ferryboat operators transporting people across the Hudson.

But the statists will figure out ways to exploit all of this for their narrow ends, insinuating their non-existent roles in the rescue. In an effort to reinforce the illusion that their authority carried the day, the politicians – along with Homeland Security officials – will likely concoct statutes or other rules in an effort to repeat, in the future, the kinds of spontaneous responses that arose, without design. Hearings will probably be conducted on behalf of some proposed "Water-ditching of Aircraft" regulations – to be administered by a newly-created federal agency to be housed in the Department of Homeland Security. Thereafter – and reflecting the governmental responses in New Orleans – woe be unto any future Capt. Sullenberger who dares to exercise his independent judgment should it conflict with government-mandated conduct. Nor shall this agency be inclined to tolerate the unapproved efforts of ferryboat operators – or others – who might dare to act, without prior authorization to save lives.
Full essay.