License to Kill

Posted: March 28, 2020 in Corporatism, Environment, Ethics, Industrial Collapse, Legal Matters, Outrage
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Most news I gather is for me unsurprising. That’s the regrettable condition of a doomer continuously learning of different sorts of corruption and awfulness piling up. For instance, the coronavirus crisis is unsurprising to me, as I’ve opined many times that a pandemic was overdue. The previous time I remember being surprised — sickened actually — was learning of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (Similar garbage gyres are found in all oceanic bodies.) I’m surprised and sickened yet again upon learning that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has suspended enforcement of environmental laws against industries that despoil the environment in the course of their activities. Polluters are being granted, in effect, a license to kill. The 7-pp. memo can be found here.

I tried to read the memo, but it’s formulated in that dry, bureaucratic style that obfuscates meaning and puts readers to sleep. The news is reported here in a more readable fashion. The EPA’s action is purportedly a temporary response to the pandemic, but the crisis and the response seem to me unrelated except in the sense of “never let a serious crisis go to waste.” I fully expect opportunists to further consolidate power at the Federal level; I never suspected the crisis would be used to enable rape and pillage of the earth’s resources without consequence. No doubt, free rein to relax precautions is a dream many industrialists harbor, which aligns handily with GOP politics. Even to a cynic, however, this revision of policy is astonishing.

The earth has suffered quite a series of insults and injuries at the hands of its apex predator. How much more the earth can absorb is an impossible question to answer. However, it will obviously outlast us. We depend wholly on it, while it is indifferent to our needs. So the decision to loosen up and accept destruction not normally countenanced only hastens us early into the grave we have been digging for ourselves for the past three centuries or so. The pandemic and industrial civilization are already in the process of killing us (and in truth, probably most everything else). No need to accelerate further.

  1. Greg Knepp says:

    The lemmings are headed for the cliff – that’s for sure! Maybe it’s time.

    Today, two months into the U.S. incarnation of the “pandemic”, 3,000 people – mostly old or ill – have died of the corona virus. If 3,000 fans failed to show up for a Saturday Ohio State football game, that would leave only 104,000 fans left in the stadium. And the OSU stadium isn’t even the largest venue in the Big Ten!…Just tryin’ to put things into perspective.

    For this we’re gutting an entire economy – one that’s already on shaky ground. Once again I say, the arithmetic that would explain how we intend to recover from the impending self-imposed economic catastrophe has yet to be invented…Lemmings headed for – no, longing for – that cliff.

    On a personal note, let me state that you misunderstood a comment on Tom’s post; you aren’t the one taking cheap shots – I am. I’m originally from the East Coast and we tend to be a little snarky at times. Giving people shit is part of the Baltimore vernacular. You, on the other hand, seem very civil even when you disagree. I should learn to clean up my act a bit (but I probably won’t). Even Tom has admonished me on occasion – gently so, as is his style. Anyway, I enjoy the sparing, and don’t make the mistake of taking me too seriously. My mouth (and pen) is ever ahead of my brain.

    • Brutus says:

      Thanks for your comment. Reframing the current pandemic to put it into proper context has been done across the Internet, usually to advocate for a position. I get the impulse but can’t say I know how to perform the proper calculus precisely because there will be negatives outcomes whatever direction we move or action we take. So it continues to be a quandary whether the economic impacts are worse than the death toll if we did not self-quarantine. The default choice has been to save lives and damage the economy. If it were the reverse — save the economy and damage lives (worse than they must be in any case) — that would be a distinctly inhumane value. Some individuals are already making that choice (including a lot of Republicans from what I hear), and as the quarantine continues, I suspect more will decide for themselves that quarantine is no way to live and will take their chances out in public.

      As for who was swiping at who in the other comments section, up to my late 20s, I used to indulge in giving and taking shit with my friends and acquaintances. It’s an established and approved behavior among some subcultures (frats, NY comedians, online comments, etc.) But I thought twice after running afoul of earnest types who take things to heart. I don’t take myself any too seriously, either, but can still be earnest about a lot of things.

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