Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Ideology of Death

Conservatism is an ideology of death. It was conservative laissez-faire free market ideology - that maximizing profit comes first - that led to:
  • the corrupt relationship between the oil companies and the Interior Department staff that was supposedly regulating them
  • minimizing cost by not drilling relief wells
  • the principle that oil companies could be responsible their own risk assessments on drilling
  • maximizing profit by outsourcing risk assessment that told them what they wanted to hear: zero risk!
  • maximizing profit by minimizing cost of materials
  • maximizing profit by failing to pay cleanup crews and businesses for their losses
  • focusing only on profit by failing to test the cleanup methods to be used if something went wrong
  • minimizing cost by sacrificing the health of cleanup crews, refusing to allow them to use respirator masks to protect against toxic fumes.

It is conservative profit-above-all market fundamentalism that has led other oil companies to mount a massive PR campaign to isolate BP as an anomalous "bad actor" and to argue that offshore drilling should be continued by the self-proclaimed "good actors." Their PR fails to mention that in Congressional hearings it came out that they all outsource risk assessment to the same company that declared that BP had "zero risk." The PR fails to mention that they all use cost-benefit analysis to maximize profits just as BP did. Cost-benefit analysis only looks at monetary costs versus benefits, case by case, not at the risk of massive death of the kind gushing out of the Gulf at present. Death, in itself, even at that scale, is not a "cost." Only an outflow of money is a "cost." This is what follows from conservative laissez-faire market ideology, an ideology that continues to sanction death on a Gulf scale.

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