Friday, July 2, 2010

Post No. 146a: Article of Interest re Response to BP Oil Spill

Over the past several years, there has been much discussion regarding the role of government versus the role of the private sector in addressing societal issues and needs.

The Laughingman came across the following article from Garden and Gun Magazine, which details the efforts of one private sector entity to deal with the Gulf event.

Should the US leave the response effort entirely in the hands of the private sector, entirely in the hands of the government, a combination of the two, or even perhaps neither, thus leaving it to individual citizens to address as they see fit?

July 1, 2010

Garden and Gun Magazine

Goings On


No one understands the tragedy in the Gulf as well as fishermen. So it's no surprise two diehard anglers have made it their mission to make a difference - government red tape and BP be damned.

Mark Castlow, the owner of Dragonfly Boatworks in Vero Beach, Florida, and his colleague, Jimbo Meador, took one look at the crafts used to rescue oiled birds and knew that they would be of no use in the marshes and shallows of the Gulf Coast, precisely where many injured birds will go when in distress. So thanks to some financial backing from Jimmy Buffet, they halted their production line, sketched a resue boat on a napkin, and ....

To view the remainder of the article, click here.


  1. Consistent with the Republican value of limited government, the government should stay completely out of the clean-up business, and it should be left entirely to the private sector, plain and simple.

  2. Why must it be one or the other? I think the work should be left to the private sector, the relief to those impacted should be supervised (not done) by the public sector.

    The private sector (in this case, BP and the associated companies involved in the incident) has a vested interest in a rapid clean-up.

    The public sector has a vested interest in the General Welfare.

  3. Thanks Douglas. Good to hear from you again since we've been on sabbatical for some time now.

    We actually generated a fairly lengthy response to your comments, and then our internet connection failed, causing us to lose all of the unsaved text.

    Our viewing audience is probably better off. The gist of our inquiry was the following:

    Doesn't society generally better comprehend things or concepts which are black and white, off and on, and up and down, as opposed gray, in standby mode, and in the middle?

    Isn't there a need for moral clarity, right and wrong, and clear lines of demarcation in many areas of our lives?

    Isn't there also a potential conflict of interest when the both the public sector and the private sector work side by side? Particularly in the same environment? Don't they have totally different roles, goals, "constituents or shareholders?"

    Many argue that the states retain the right and responsibility to do certain things, and that the fed retains the right and responsibility to other things.

    If we approach some issues in some sort of coordinated manner or using joint venture practices, what percentage should be allocated to the private sector versus the public? None of this is arguably covered by the Constitution per se, with the possible exception of the concept of the "public welfare," whatever that may be, and however people may disagree.

    Let it be clear that we do not have any better solution than what you proposed. At least you proposed SOMETHING logical and did not choose to bitch about whatever was currently be done by either sector.

    And we applaud you for that....

  4. Many argue that the states retain the right and responsibility to do certain things, and that the fed retains the right and responsibility to other things.

    I do not know why they have to argue that, read the 10th Amendment.

    I think we can all argue about what may be black and what may be white when it comes to political structure and market forces.

    I am, as you have surmised by now, a "limited government" advocate. There is a need for a central government; to act as mediator or arbiter in interstate commerce (which was the original intent of the commerce clause, I believe), to maintain national defense, to defend/control the borders (at which they seem to be failing), and resolve disputes between states.

    I see no reason for the government to intervene, even in the oil spill, except to protect the interests of the general public by backing up the impacted individual states.

    Some say that the reason BP was drilling at such depth (which makes the control of the underwater gusher near impossible) was due to government interference (environmental issues). Had they been drilling in shallower water, it might well have been under control and cleaned up by now.

    Welcome back from your sabbatical. We missed you.

  5. Two parents raise a child. One parent is responsible for developing the child's character and ensuring that he or she acquires a good education. The other parent is responsible for discipline, and the child's socialization.

    Any potential overlap. Assuming none, any reason for the parents to occasionally have a disagreement about how to raise the child?

    How many different components of or definitions are there for "commerce?"

  6. Government is not your (or anyone's) parents. Both parents are responsible for discipline, character, education, and socialization. I speak as a parent (and grandparent).

  7. We understand that "government" and parents are different.

    Although perhaps inartfully, we were trying to create a scenario where two different parties have different areas of responsibility for the same "charge" and explore how those responsibilities might not have clear lines of demarcation, but might on occasion merge, cross, or be blurred, resulting in differences of opinion between the two "responsible parties" about their roles and what is best for their mutual "charge."

    We apologize for the poor example.

  8. It is only human to want to assign responsibilities. After all, any responsibility we assign to another means one less for ourselves. Some are happy to assign all responsibility to others. They feel secure, safer, that way... as they did when they were children and their parents watched over them (or, at least, that is how they assumed it should be).

    While there are times we must delegate responsibility to others, we should be careful in granting too much privilege in the process.


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