Years of partisanship over country, privilege over sharing the wealth, and bureaucracy over democracy has sent Americans looking elsewhere, rather than to the political parties, for creative solutions.
ARCHIVES: 2006 ‐ 2010
I want to talk to you about the McChrystal story, about General McChrystal being relieved of his command in Afghanistan. But, I want to stay on some combination of speculative and maybe even a dramaturgical level...
I thought it was interesting. Obviously, the centerpiece of the discussion was that no matter that in the history of Western civilization happiness is treated as the object towards which everything moves, as Aristotle observed, there is still little money, little effort, and few resources given to the achievement of happiness in our culture. It’s interesting to speculate as to why that would be so.
There’s been a massive oil spill. There’s been a mobilization by BP and private industry and the scientific community under the auspices of the government to try to stop the leak. And, it seems to me the nub of the exchange between Axelrod and Matthews was this. Chris asked whether BP “can be trusted” to carry out this recovery effort, a question that comes complete with a whole set of negative political positions about the oil industry. They go back and forth. Finally, Axelrod says to him, ‘What would BP’s motivation be for not trying to solve this problem? They do not have a motivation for that.’ Chris doesn’t really have an answer. What he does say is ‘Well, what they had was a profit motive to go beyond their safety capability, to drill down 13,000 feet because their profit motive is the motive here. But they didn’t have the capacity to deal with what might go wrong.’ So Chris’ point is BP created a problem that they couldn’t handle and that’s what’s wrong with this situation. I guess the axiom that follows from that is We should never create problems that we can’t handle.