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Dangerous Risk Aversion

This week has been an interesting week in the offshore oil drilling biz. President Obama got his wrist slapped a second time for trying to shut down all drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and a second oil platform suffered a major fire.

President Obama's rationale seems to be that the risks of environmental catastrophe, like we maybe/nearly had with the BP leak, are too great. I'll let others fight over that one; I've got bigger fish to fry here.

We've had offshore oil drilling for decades. And in that time, we've had exactly one major disaster -- this summer's. That's a pretty impressive statistic. Unless, of course, you're a Gulf fisherman or someone else directly and severely affected by it. Then it's damned lousy.

Decades of safe operation, one bad incident, and Obama's ready to pull the plug. Why does that sound familiar?

Oh, yes, nuclear power. Decades of safe operation in the US, then one near-disaster -- and BAM! No new plants in the US. Period. The only reactors built since then have been bolted to US Navy submarines and aircraft carriers. And at Three Mile Island, nobody died.

Oh, yeah, there was Chernobyl, but the real lessons of that disaster is that Communism leads to lethal incompetence and mass deaths -- and a lot of us already knew that.

There are two points that need to be addressed here. The first is that, simply, we need energy. We need energy if we are going to survive -- not even prosper, just survive -- as a civilization. Our whole society is structured around relatively cheap, readily available energy. When we shut down whole categories of energy sources, we impair not only our ability to prosper, but to continue to exist.

The other is that everything has dangers. Despite what decades of scumbag lawyers have told us, nothing is perfectly safe, and we have no right to demand absolute safety. (This is, I believe, related to "no one must ever be allowed to fail, because it could hurt their fragile self esteem" movement that is crippling us as individuals.)

EVERYTHING has risks. Period. Nothing is absolutely safe. Life is about balancing the risks, taking chances, weighing the dangers versus the benefits.

Yes, we need to exert caution whenever we can. We need to give these highly risky endeavors like deep offshore drilling and nuclear power plants and whatnot several layers of protection, precautions, safety measures, and so on. We need to do all we realistically can to minimize our risks.

But we can't eliminate risk altogether. That's simply not possible. And all we do when we try to is to end up smothering ourselves.

In the case of Gulf drilling, we need to figure out what went wrong, and take steps from keeping it happening again. But we went decades without a disaster like we just underwent; to shut down all drilling is a gross overreaction. (It makes me wonder if "safety" is the only motivator here, or if it's part of some larger agenda.)

But we -- as individuals and as a society -- need to be able to take risks. We need to be able to risk failure if we are going to succeed. To avoid risk is to avoid change, to avoid growth, to avoid progress, to avoid success.

There is no such thing as perfect safety. We cannot hold out for certainty from risk. As Benjamin Franklin said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

Especially in a Democratic administration.


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Comments (7)

I smell a rat once again! J... (Below threshold)
Inge:

I smell a rat once again! Just Wednesdau, the judge shut down Obama's attempt to demand a moratorium regarding drilling, and the enxt day...boom...!
Could it be another 'manufactured' crisis, to get their backdoor cap-and trade? To make a point of discontent towards the judge?
Just wondering.

While dark conspiracy is a ... (Below threshold)
epador:

While dark conspiracy is a possibility, I think the total incompetence of the current administration makes this entirely unlikely to have originated from them.

"There is no such thing as ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"There is no such thing as perfect safety."

Ah, but there is in a Democratic Socialist world. And we will be perfectly safe when gasoline is $6-7 dollars a gallon.

In the case of Gul... (Below threshold)
Stan:
In the case of Gulf drilling, we need to figure out what went wrong, and take steps from keeping it happening again. But we went decades without a disaster like we just underwent; to shut down all drilling is a gross overreaction. (It makes me wonder if "safety" is the only motivator here, or if it's part of some larger agenda.)

The outfits like Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, ELF, ALF, et al have trying to shut down the drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for the last 40 years. Now with the right person in the White House, they now have an opportunity to do just that.

They managed to persuade his "Holiness" to shut down the drilling in the Western United States where the reserves would have weaned us from imported oil from countries that really don't like us, but pretend to, so they can rake in the dollars.

Even now the EPA has plans to implement Cap and Tax without Congressional approval. Which is Unconstitutional. Just as with the Unconstitutional moratorium on drilling in the Gulf, this will also be struck down by the courts.

Well said Jay."In ... (Below threshold)
olhardhead:

Well said Jay.

"In the case of Gulf drilling, we need to figure out what went wrong, and take steps from keeping it happening again. But we went decades without a disaster like we just underwent; to shut down all drilling is a gross overreaction. (It makes me wonder if "safety" is the only motivator here, or if it's part of some larger agenda.)"

I think that what went wrong on the Deepwater Horizon is already known. There were several human errors,errors in judgment,attentiveness, procedures etc. which combined to cause the catastrophe on the Macondo well. As I and many others see it this was a series of human errors that occured in a very short time to turn an otherwise everyday events into a disaster.
Safety is top priority for every company operating in the GOM. NO JOKE. NO KIDDIN'.
Pres. Flop Ears' drilling ban (IMHO) was done for purely political reasons and has absolutely nothing to do with safety. Companies operating in the gulf large and small are safety conscious almost to a fault. After this disaster every t will be crossed and i dotted I gar-raun-tee. The Macando well disaster was complacency and just plain bad luck to the nines.
Security...huumm...now that's another story.
I told a true story about a very unsettling (for me) thing that happened on a "big" deepwater rig not long ago. (my last post on the platform fire story below).

ol'

.... But we went decades wi... (Below threshold)

.... But we went decades without an accident like that at the BP site and to shut down all drilling is a gross overreaction that makes you wonder if "safety" is the only motivator -- or if that's part of his gang's larger agenda....

Like if maybe the fascist traitors that - for just a couple of examples - have imported and employed against us a thirty-five million strong alien army to speed up their insidious destruction of our republic and other treasons and have made effective "national parks" of lands containing Billions of Dollars of the minerals their predatory Peking pals want to sell us from Indonesia might be stuffing their offshore accounts with the Billions of Dollars of kickbacks from their foreign oil-producer pals to keep their eyes on the main game?

That sort of "larger agenda?"

Or did you not yet figger why the likes of Peking's Predators and George bloody Hitler's-Little-Helper Soros spend Hundreds of Billions to get their serial rapists and Chance the Gardeners into our nation's halls of power?

Hundreds of Millions, that ... (Below threshold)

Hundreds of Millions, that is .....




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