Grover Norquist hates government so much, he wants to shrink it small enough to drown in a bathtub. Based on pictures coming out of West Virginia the past few days, I believe we have found his tub — except the only thing that may have drowned is free market dogma.
It is an article of economic faith in the business world that less regulation means more profit. No one denies that regulations cost money, and following rules can be burdensome. Regulations are an accepted necessary evil for business, but a few industries are headed by true believers who will not tolerate heresy.
To accept regulation violates the first commandment of their faith, which is maximizing profits. Next to keeping labor costs down, nothing gets the congregation testifying more fervently than attacking the Great Satan of government regulation.
Listen, sinners! We are having an old time Reagan Revival! Government regulation is tyranny, and it leads down the pink-paved interstate highway to socialism! We need to get this country back to the free market principles our founders intended!
Why, right here in the Constitution it says Congress shall have power “to regulate commerce,” and so you can see the word “regulate,” right there, plain as can be!
Oh, wait. Um, never mind that. This must not be the Constitution that Jesus wrote! It must be one of those revised Harvard liberal versions! So… um…
Let us now baptize you socialist sinners in the laissez-faire Bathtub of the Holy Grover!
Ah, behold the beauty of free market, unregulated, “coal-washing” chemical water. The invisible hand, with its magic finger pointing us in the direction of freedom and liberty!
Except… 300,000 people had their lives put in harm’s way because dogmatic ideology prevailed over common sense and the public good. For the want of profit, the proper balance between business initiative and government oversight was tipped over into the Elk River, poisoned in a morass of corruption and indifference.
Before the faithful gets their teabags in a twist, know that this isn’t a gambit. Those of us hostile to free market fundamentalism are not reflexively anti-capitalist, nor do we think government should run and control everything. This isn’t a capitalist vs. socialist dichotomy. It isn’t a call for creeping fascism. It’s about the essential need for a safe, well-regulated water supply, necessary for the security of a free people, and it shall not be infringed.
“Well-regulated” means there has to be rules. That is all. Enforceable, clearly-defined, uniformly applied rules. Because bathtubs, like this one filled with toxic water — courtesy of Freedom Industries and the Koch brothers— in West Virginia, say so.
h/t: Huffington Post