Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

January 7, 2013

Stumptalk: We’ll fix it so it never happens again

By Phil Billington
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — Whatever the mishap — the Space Shuttle accidents, the September 11 attack, the underwear and Times Square bomb scare, the East-Coast energy blackout, the economic meltdown — the government priesthood was quick on the scene to begin reciting the articles of faith of collective authority.

First came the now familiar mantra that accompanies every plane crash, NASA disaster, or train wreck: “We will find out what went wrong and fix it so it never happens again.”

The duplicity goes on and on: When terrorists kill U.S. diplomatic personnel in Libya, the Capitol gang assures us, “We’ll find out how they breached our security and fix it so it never happens again.” (Still, four months later, and nothing.) And when America slips over a Fiscal Cliff, the Washington Calvary, e.g. the gang that can’t shoot straight, is on hand to fix it so it never happens again. Then a crazy kid shoots up a classroom killing many and, predictably, the authorities assert, “We’ll find what went wrong and make sure it can’t happen again” and, just as predictably, they “know” the cause was "too many guns.”

Let me suggest he was just plain nuts and he could just well have used a hatchet, like the one which little George chopped down the cherry tree, creating the same amount of gore and human misery.

Of course, there will be future plane crashes and power failures, future opportunities for the technocrats to again recite this catechism. Despite dozens of committee hearings, the exercise of “finding out what happened and fixing it so will never happen again” is a futile one at best. There will always be another tomorrow with another hidden workforce of pixies and other mischief-makers and the meddling of government prepared to upset the best-engineered plans. As long as we are mired in the collective mindset of centralized authority, insisting that only government can save us, we shall doubtless continue our vicious circle of reacting to one disaster after another while deluding ourselves that “we will find out what went wrong and fix it so it doesn’t happen again.”

At the end of a thorough and truthful analysis of any of these mishaps, the politicians won’t be pleased by what they find. It’s not “capitalism.” It’s not “greed.” It’s not “deregulation.” Nor is it any of the other popular culprits. It’s an institution of interventionism created by government itself.

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Stumptalk is published weekly in the Crossville Chronicle. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. To contact Stumptalk, email coordinator Phil Billington at