Saturday, December 20, 2008

Government Dogma, and Oversight of Industry

The following came from the Pacific Research Institute, using an article from the San Jose Mercury News, from December 15, 2008:

"One week after the election, a think tank founded and led by President-elect Barack Obama's transition chief, John Podesta, referred to synthetic biology as "the most profound challenge to government oversight of technology in human history." In an op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News, Daniel Ballon, Ph.D., PRI technology studies fellow, explains that synthetic biology offers an unprecedented opportunity to transform modern medicine, generate clean, renewable biofuels, and create millions of "green collar" jobs. Will the Obama administration encourage this innovation and respect the scientific community, or cave in to special interests peddling fear and hysteria?"

The better question is this: What authority does the government have to "oversee" any industry? We recognize such things as its authority to oversee standards that have been set for such things as pollution controls; national security interests such as selling items like supercomputers or explosives to enemies who would use those things against us; or in sorting out the vagaries of such things as where the rights of one industry may or may not overlap, such as the right of independent VOIP companies to use the high speed internet providers who offer their own VOIP?

President Bush is the first, and hopefully the only, President who can be said to be of the "religious right". His administration prevented the use of embryonic stem cells in research because his extreme right wing views are such that he--and millions of other people--believe that once the egg has been fertilized by a sperm, it has a soul provided by the Almighty, or that in some way it is one of God's sacred creations and therefore cannot in any sense of moral conscience be destroyed.

Where is the separation of church and state? Since several federal courts have deemed atheism to be a religion for the purposes of protection under the Constitution, an atheist who wishes to experiment with embryonic stem cells ought to be able to do so; after all, I do not have to follow the religious dogmas that Mr. Bush lives with, and he does not have the right to implement such dogma into law.

So where does the right of government oversight begin and end?

It seems it is to have a new beginning under the Obama Administration, which is going to print billions of dollars of money to put into those industries it deems either necessary, worthy, or "green."

Along with all these manufactured dollars will surely come oversight. Free money does not come with out strings. And it is not going to be a simple case of an industry accepting government funding for something it is already doing. The Federal government agencies responsible for handing out these unsecured greenbacks are going to be looking for results--and only the results it wants to see.

Obama is going to replace religious dogma with government dogma.

This is the reason that Ayn Rand stated the principle that there ought to be a wall of separation between industry and state, for the same reason as there is between church and state.

The Bush administration pushed for the government dogma of alternative fuel in the form of corn-based ethenol. This pushed up the price of corn to indefensible levels, farmers put wheat on the back burner in order to cash in on the profits to be made from corn, and as a result both wheat-based and corn-based products went up in price.

Government dogma screwed the American citizen. Fuel mileage is lower with corn-based ethenol, but it costs less, which was a priority when oil prices were going up, and in the attempt to wean us from middle east oil. Instead of paying higher prices at the pump, we now pay a much higher percentage for our food than we would have paid for our oil-based gasoline with the corn syrup left out of it.

Government dogma has no idea of how to "manage" industry or the economy. As a matter of fact, they cannot be "managed" without dire consequences. The housing market bubble disaster is because of government "management" of interest rates, which encouraged Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to perform in a very un-business-like manner, something they never would have done if money had not been so cheap.
Part of Detroit's problems are caused by concessions made to the Union--after the government stepped in many times to help negotiate a settlement because it was deemed "disastrous" to let the industry sit idle while both sides held their ground.

Part of Detroit's problems are that it's own dealers protested when, for example, GM announced several years ago that Chevrolet was going to be making only small cars, and the bigger cars would be in the other brands. Chevy dealers protested that they could not sell only small cars. Now, mini cars are the rage, along with the small, compact, efficient vehicles put out by the Japanese and the Koreans and the Germans and others.

Government oversight of how to build a car, i.e., what specifications and standards it should meet to be viable in the market place, would have bankrupted the industry already if it had such oversight. It seems it is going to get such oversight, at least in that part of the industry where it will have a "car czar" to tell it where government dogma says it is doing wrong or right.

I read, in a highly respected science magazine, that the Chinese are building a different kind of nuclear reactor than American law allows for. These reactors are smaller, cheaper, easier to build, can be transported in sections and erected in series, as needed, to increase output when it becomes necessary. And the Chinese reactors are so safe that the "China Syndrome" can never happen.

America knew about this type of reactor before "oversight" outlawed it. As a matter of fact, this kind of reactor was invented by the west before it invented the kind of reactor we use now.

But government dogma had other ideas: it seems that cheap, plentiful electricity, easily installable, would throw the electricity industry into some form of "confusion," and the big monopolies would no longer have monopolies, which means that they and their share holders would lose money because competition to build these smaller, cheaper, cleaner reactors would cause the existing companies to shrink.

"Physicists and engineers at Beijing's Tsinghua University have made the first great leap forward in a quarter century, building a new nuclear power facility that promises to be a better way to harness the atom: a pebble-bed reactor. A reactor small enough to be assembled from mass-produced parts and cheap enough for customers without billion-dollar bank accounts. A reactor whose safety is a matter of physics, not operator skill or reinforced concrete. And, for a bona fide fairy-tale ending, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is labeled hydrogen." Wired

When mayors of Chinese cities and towns need more electricity for their citizens because of population growth and capitalist-style industrial growth, they call the manufacturers of these small reactors and order them! And when they need more power, they order another one to be put in line with the first one. This series can apparently go on for as much electricity is needed.

Instead, America goes for dogma instead of the Chinese idea of how capitalism can cause a nation to become rich.

Certainly China has problems too, such as the murderous chemicals its unscrupulous manufacturers put into their products. But every nation has unscrupulous manufacturers. "Oversight" can never catch such forms of immoral behavior. It would require inspectors everywhere, in every industry, at all times, 24/7/365. And it still would not catch what smart but unscrupulous people will do to their goods just to make profit-making easier or quicker.

Communists used to be fond of saying they did not need to invade other nations to "take over" those other nations. Just let socialism creep in and take over everything, like vines creeping on a brick building, and when there was enough socialism, communist political takeover would not seem threatening at all.

Bush has created the biggest federal statism in our history. It is now Barak Obama's legacy, before it has even begun, to finish the socialist task of creeping into every nook and cranny of American industry.

Perhaps in my lifetime I will even see a communist President who denies he is communist, as Obama (never denied) he is Marxist.

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