Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Future is Now Because Now is Not Yet

Continuing our discussion of the theological virtue of hope. As we mentioned yesterday, hope is thoroughly entangled with the idea that we are on a journey. But this journey is obviously not to a physical destination. Rather, "it refers to the innermost structure of created nature," and is the "inherent 'not yet' of the finite being." Human being means being on the way to humanness -- or to fully realized human personhood, to be precise.

This gets a little complicated, but the fact that we are created simultaneously introduces the possibility of hope and of hopelessness, depending upon whether we turn toward or away from our source. Ironically, the man who imagines himself to be wholly self-sufficient turns away from this source and necessarily falls into a kind of loveless nihilism (or at least that is its tendency and end). The existential price for this denial and refusal is what we might call hell.

Let me see if I can back up and explain this more clearly. As it so happens, I'm reading another important book at the same time, Being as Communion. Pieper's Faith, Hope, Love was so fraught with implications, that I needed to put it down for awhile and assimilate what I'd read so far.

But this book is equally profound, plus it is resonating with the other one in such a way that they are feeding off one another and creating a luminous arc in the space between them, i.e., in my melon. Thus the need to post on Saturday and Sunday to try to keep up with the flow of (n). As always, this verticalisthenic exercise is as much for me as it is for readers. It's probably a little sloppy as well, but at least it's completely half baked.

Anyway, Zizioulas writes that "the being of God is a relational being," so that "without the concept of communion it would not be possible to speak of the being of God." It seems that many theologians have failed to properly draw out the implications of the Trinity, for its immediate implication is that God cannot be a "substance"; or, to be precise, the substance would be posterior to the essence, which is pure relation -- a relation that ultimately reduces to love.

I remember when I was a child and forced to attend Sunday school, on the wall in large gold letters was the statement GOD IS LOVE. Of course it made no sense to a child, and as I grew older it just seemed like sentimental nonsense.

But in reality, this conclusion was a result of the daring and sophisticated thinking of the early fathers, which transformed God from a remote and abstract substance to the very essence and possibility of personhood. The latter is in sharp contrast to mere biological humanness, which is given to us by nature. Real personhood is intrinsically transnatural and can only be conferred from on high (which is why in order to progress along the path, one must be "born again from above").

I'm not sure if Zizioulas' ideas are controversial, but they absolutely resonate in me, vis-a-vis my own ghostly spookulations regarding the intersubjectively trinitarian nature of the developing psyche. A human being is irreducibly intersubjective. I'm not going to make a rehash of the entire argument here, as it is covered in detail in the book. Suffice it to say that our own mysterious intersubjectivity is an analogue of God's interior life, so that to be means to be in relation. There is no being without relation, not even in God:

"There is no true being without communion. Nothing exists as an 'individual,' conceivable in itself. Communion is an ontological category" (Zizioulas).

To turn it around, to deny this ontological communion is to eradicate the person at the root. Thus, any kind of materialistic metaphysic that crudely regards man as a self-enclosed thing is nothing less than ontological genocide. There is no scientistic way to get from the biological human to the unique person whose being is loving interior relation.

The latter conception frees man from the "ontological necessity" that bounds him in the closed system of biology, and instead renders him an open system, both horizontally and vertically. Again, the Person is not "an adjunct to being, a category we add" to a supposedly more fundamental biological entity.

Rather, Personhood is itself the substance of being, both its principle and its (vertical) cause. Our substance -- and God's substance -- "never exists in a 'naked' state," the result being that we may affirm that real personhood is an uncreated mode. It is intrinsic to God, and given to us -- if we accept it. (Interestingly, Zizioulas derives our own absolute uniqueness from the uniqueness of the only begotten Son.)

If we choose not to accept it, we are essentially choosing our own ontological self-sufficiency. But again, the existentialists are correct that this radical freedom necessarily ends in nihilsm, so that the person becomes the negator of his own ontology, which is ultimately loving relation. Zizioulas:

"It thus becomes evident that the only exercise of freedom in an ontological manner is love.... Love is not an emanation or 'property' of the substance of God," a "secondary property of being." Rather, love constitutes God's being, and is his very "mode of existence." Which in turn introduces the human dilemma, which is "either freedom as love, or freedom as negation."

So, what is the proper relation between the biological human and the post-biological person, or between the old man and the new? As Zizioulas suggests, it implies a "movement, a progress toward realization" rooted in hope.

You might say that for vertical man, his personal roots are aloft, his biological leaves and branches down below. Thus, the person is "maintained and nourished, by the future. The truth and the ontology of the person belong to the future," and "are images of the future."

This speaks to the paradoxical position of vertical man, that of "already but not yet." For to draw our substance from the above is to draw it from the future, so that both are in a sense already here -- as they say, the kingdom of heaven is spread upon the earth, but men do not see it. Not with their biological eyes, anyway.


walt said...

For many years I, too, used to read "God is Love" as rhetorical pap, which made no sense at all. But I investigated the matter, in my way....

Now the statement has a mathematically precise ring to it, as though it could not "be" otherwise. Interesting that it is referred to as "substance!"

Thanks for the Sunday post!

Joan of Argghh! said...

I have been reading MacDonald for the past few months, just to reground that ineffable First Love. MacDonald's appeal to my broken heart is his fierce assessment that if his God could not or would not love with a total abandonment to Hope for the beloved, then he would refuse to acknowledge such a poor specimen of godhood.

Accept no substitutes.


Tigtog said...

One thought concerning" God is Love." I would think it more correct to say God is all things, above which He is mercy. Love is a verb that can be applied to both good and evil ends. To say God is love is to say where ever love is active, for either good or evil ends, then God is involved. Not sure this comports with Gagdad's meaning.

Rick said...

Bob, I don't know when you last read Ware's "The Orthodox Way", but this post certainly resonates with it, as well. Especially, a person's relationship to each person of the Trinity and between themselves. He is quite precise about the explanation. Including the Holy Spirit as a person which was news to me.

Van said...

"Suffice it to say that our own mysterious intersubjectivity is an analogue of God's interior life, so that to be means to be in relation. There is no being without relation, not even in God:

"There is no true being without communion. Nothing exists as an 'individual,' conceivable in itself. Communion is an ontological category" (Zizioulas). "

The connection between the very interior of a person, to the external world, is made through their actions in it, and the connective tissue between the two, the interior and the exterior, is made of our choices. When we choose to do, we open a connection between our interior and the exterior and establish an ever deepening integration between the very core of ourselves, and the world without, and those around us in it.

It's in the act of freely choosing our actions, that we are truly integrated into the whole and form a community.

What may seem paradoxical, if you look no further than the outer appearances (the myopic limit of leftist thought), is that any attempts to force people into a collective, by artificially limiting or mandating their choices, fundamentally destroys true community.

If you go back and look at any of the descriptions of life in places like East Berlin, one of the most common ones you'll find is of the grey hopelessness of the people, and their distrust and suspicion of nearly everyone. Such collectivism, far from creating a community, destroys it by disintegrating it at it's most fundamental source - the interior choices of it's individuals.

Conversely, one of the most common descriptions people coming to America from those places had of Americans, was, as one of my neighbors who escaped soviet ruled Poland remarked, how comparatively happy Americans were and even as far back as de Tocqueville, our amazing propensity for creating associations - everything from school boards to Rotary clubs. We associate and integrate through our choices and interests.

The attempt to force fit people into a faux-relation with their fellows by forcing their choices and actions, severs the vital living connection between a parson's interior, and their actions in the exterior, and that vital living connection is their freely made choice. The community which collectivism supposedly seeks to establish, is destroyed by way of depriving people of the choices they otherwise might have made, and which would have truly integrated them together.

Collectivism destroys community (and individuals) by trying to force the formation of one.

Gagdad Bob said...


Your description of life in leftist hells such as East Berlin is spot on. Pieper touches on it in his book, as it is the ultimate ramification of treating humans as things, not persons. The most devastating thing about these tyrannies is that they prevent the free flow of knowledge and emotion between interior lives, so that people become withered hulls since they are denied the very food -- the daily bread -- that keeps the person alive.

Gagdad Bob said...

... and keeps the community alive as well, since person and community are simply two sides of the same coin.

Van said...

"Love is not an emanation or 'property' of the substance of God," a "secondary property of being." Rather, love constitutes God's being, and is his very "mode of existence." Which in turn introduces the human dilemma, which is "either freedom as love, or freedom as negation.""

The "Relational" is, I think, so vitally important to any conception... of anything.

" be precise, the substance would be posterior to the essence, which is pure relation -- a relation that ultimately reduces to love.

... the statement GOD IS LOVE. Of course it made no sense to a child, and as I grew older it just seemed like sentimental nonsense."

As it did to me too, until I began to grasp a bit more of what it meant to love someone. There is an integration of values, ideals, interests, and how those are reflected in the other's appearance, their mannerisms, comments and actions... the deeper and more significant the depth of integration, the tighter you become bound and the more painful it becomes to be separated from them. They become part of your method of living in the world, very little comes to you, and stays, without doing so through them as well.

The saying we have when losing a loved on of "It was like my heart was ripped out of me", in a very real way is deeply true. We connect to our loved ones, and to the world, by way of the relations we make through our ideas and actions and choices, and that process integrates our interior with the exterior world.

We are limited in our ability to do that, to relate and integrate, to the extent that our ideas fail to perceive and reflect reality... they establish a limit on the extent our integration into the cosmos can achieve. Of all the disasters of leftism, the most destructive is that notion that we cannot know reality, and have no need to integrate our ideas either with each other, or with reality. The world as we are able to know it, is lessened, and in a very real sense our ability to know ourselves or others is reduced along with it.

Coming back around to the "God is Love", when viewed from a perspective that overlooks or discounts or even denies the value of integration, such a saying does amount to little more than pap. But when you grasp what is is our minds do, the vital part which relation and integration play in our lives and in our ability to live them, it begins to take on an almost sublime meaning in its vastness.

When we Love, we are recreating within, to some extent, the integrated nature of One Cosmos without. What else can it be, to BE that integrated substance without, which we are within?

If anything, to say that "God is Love", is an aching understatement.

(BTW - I love the post today)

Van said...

Gagdad said "...since person and community are simply two sides of the same coin."

Yep. Two sides which make up a third something which they could not exist without, and could not be without them - the coin. The proper relation between subject and object, is the process of maintaining a proper relation between subject and object, and which is where the Third arises from.

Or in geek-speak, a database without properly defined relations between it's tables of data... is just a bunch of useless data, and amounts to even less than the sum of its parts if the data is mis-integrated.

What prevented me from going whole hog on the objectivist individualism express (though my wife recently reminded me that I rode it further than my easy random access memory often allows me to recall - painfully embarrassing in some places), is that almost rabid response to community, especially visible among libertarians. The notion of the individual as something which is wholly self contained, that should actively act against any 'conformity' with the community... the assertion that A man IS an island unto himself, just didn't click.

Or rather, to the extent that I thought it did, it always generated such a string of errors immediately afterwards, that I slowly realized it was an obstacle to further (buzzward bingo points here) integration, into any further understanding and participation with in any larger senses of value and truth.

I'd pity the child raised in that home. Heh... and to your point, our child 'forced' me to grow beyond my misconceptions, misconceptions which I probably would have been pleased to cling to, had they not come along. In a sense unintended by the original phrase, the child is the father of the man.

Gagdad Bob said...

Doc Zero touches on both hope and community in today's post. For example,

"Above all, I reject the essential premise of statism: the belief that we don’t need each other.

"This is the distilled essence of Obama liberalism, which teaches us to look to the State for our needs, instead of seeking the voluntary cooperation of our fellows."

Gagdad Bob said...


You are exactly correct about the error -- one might say intellectual heresy -- of libertarianism. In fact, Kirk went so far as to say that it was even more of an enemy to conservative liberalism than the left!

Van said...

O, well put Dr. Zero!

Gagdad Bob said...

Here's a better link, starting at the top.

Susannah said...

Beautifully put, Bob. I'd predict no possibility of trolling on this one, but that would likely just encourage them. ;)

"It thus becomes evident that the only exercise of freedom in an ontological manner is love.... Love is not an emanation or 'property' of the substance of God," a "secondary property of being." Rather, love constitutes God's being, and is his very "mode of existence." Which in turn introduces the human dilemma, which is "either freedom as love, or freedom as negation."

Michael Card's song comes to mind:

There is a joy in the journey;
There's a light we can love on the way.
There is a wonder and wildness to life,
And freedom for those who obey.

And Paul, too:

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Talk about the now and the not yet!

Funny how when you're bound by love, you perceive yourself as set free. Given that our "home" is in Him, this becomes all the more true of our communion with Him. We are eager to please Him, to clear anything out of the way that interferes with it.

It's an overwhelming experience to be perceptibly, inexorably loved by God. It does indeed bring hope! And with the hope comes thankfulness, wonder, and joy, because hope from God "does not disappoint."

Susannah said...

I'm so glad to see your take on libertarianism. Libertarianism, and also the inhuman effects of leftism, are what cause me (so conservative that it's probably in my genetic makeup) to ask, "What about the children?"

Gagdad Bob said...

There's more than a touch of spiritual autism in libertarians.

Van said...

Gagdad said “Kirk went so far as to say that it was even more of an enemy to conservative liberalism than the left!”

Yep, I fully agree with that.

If I ever get to complete the series of posts I’ve been doing on Justice, the lefties might be surprised to learn that that is one of the central points, and the reason why I began the series in the first place, was out of an extended argument with a libertarian. They typically have no conception beyond the notion of “Liberty” which they latch on to, they treat it as if it is a self-contained autonomous whole all it’s own and requires or entails no other considerations beyond “No one can tell me what to do”.

On the surface, Libertarians can be a fellow travellers against an overgrown leftist government, but, especially in its anarcho-synwhateverism varieties, their notions would ultimately guarantee a tyranny, deep and dark, with no pretentions of Liberty whatsoever.

But even in day to day considerations of Right and Wrong, and even of Liberty, libertarianism guts all argument of value and Truth, and leaves behind little more that “I want this, and it’s not anybody else’s business! You can’t stop me!”. It often leaves a bad taste when arguing alongside them for something… like bird poop in the honey.

Van said...

Just finished Doc Zero's post, and what an excellent one it is - thanks for that!

Gagdad Bob said...

Truth is the New Hate Speech. I'm not a fan of Geller's writing, but I love that headline.

One reason Hitchens left the left is its absence of irony, as perfectly exemplified in this instance, whereby it is considered hateful to call the haters hateful.

julie said...

Getting all self-referential again, I'm reminded of something I was thinking about a while back:

"Real love, the kind that flows outward but asks for nothing in return, is a rare and precious gift. The benefit of living through those fears [referenced here] is that it gives that love an opportunity to be expressed, if we will but allow it. In humiliation, we find protection; in weakness, strength; in sickness, comfort. Even in childish foolishness, indulgence. For the loved, when we let go of all of those wants and fears we find we receive far more than we think we’ve lost. For the lover, there is the inexpressible joy of having given. The miracle of being human is that we may be both of these things."

To which I'd only add, the miracle is only possible because "the being of God is a relational being."

black hole said...

What is the raccoon position on the oil spill?

BP bad? Good? Somewhere in the middle?

Drill in California? Not drill?

I know the racoons believe climate change to be a hoax. The raccoons do not believe Katrina was created by the Bush Administration.

What about the Gulf Oil Debacle? Is it Obama's fault? Should be BP be let off easy because they are Big Money and therefore friends of the conservatives?

Don't be shy let's hear what you got.

Gagdad Bob said...

Moron: there are more "big money" contributors to the Democrat than Republican party, which only makes sense. In the case of BP specifically, they gave more money to Obama than to any other candidate in the last 20 years.

Gagdad Bob said...

Not to mention the fact that the dollar value of the free marketing arm of the DNC, the MSM, is incalculable.

Susannah said...

My position is that it was an unfortunate accident, that presidents (whether of countries or of companies) cannot foresee and prevent every accident anymore than the rest of us can, and that it's better to rally 'round and try to work the problem and set the brightest problem solvers free to do so, before casting blame and devising "punishments" from on high.

I hope a better engineer than I can come up with a quick and clever solution. I hope against *hope* the powers that be will be smart enough to recognize and put into action said solution. However, I am hearing claims that supertankers that could help at a relatively decent cost are sitting idle.

My husband's position is: this is the perfect opportunity to detonate a low-yield nuclear device.

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, the bottom line is that no one knows how to fix it, and to blame Obama is almost as foolish as it was to blame Bush for Katrina. It just fosters the idea that omnipotent Big Government will take care of everything. If Republicans try to score points off of this now, they'll just pay for it later when something bad happens on their watch. It's tempting to do to them what they did to Bush, but one must resist the temptation. There are plenty of other good reasons to hammer Obama.

Van said...

Bh wheedled “…Is it Obama's fault? Should be BP be let off…”

My position is, that if you have to even ask that question, then you’ve admitted (though doubtless unknowingly) the actual problem.

If through the growth of numerous regulatory agencies, their contradictory regulations, various partnerships between corporations and government, and corporations assessment that it benefits their profits to contribute to the political campaigns of candidates from both parties in all levels of local, state and federal elections… then you inevitably reach the point where you have to ask what would otherwise be a very stupid question.

Why do I say that?

Well… look at the headline level of facts available to us, which is all we have to go on until a further investigation is completed.
1 – The oil rig is operated under the direction of BP.
2 – Therefore It is BP’s responsibility to pay for the cleanup and damages done to the property and businesses affected by an accident occurring on property under their control.

Barring later disclosure of further negligence or even conspiracy of other parties, it starts and ends there.

At least it would under a system of justice centered upon property rights under a government adhering to the original understanding of our Constitution.

However… bring in the unconstitutional developments of rulings, orders, directives by various agencies such as DOE, EPA, SEC, campaign finance (oh yeah… that’s involved too – watch the headlines), congress’s various laws passed favoring or excusing one party, business, industry, pressure group or another, over the course of several decades, as well as an administration that doesn’t want to bring in additional resources because it might be embarrassing politically… and you have the fruits of Big Govt in a mixed economy.

As a quote fromVelociman (TW Joan of Arghhh!) says “There ain't nothing we can do as individuals that the government can't do more poorly, more insensitively, and more inefficiently."

Gagdad Bob said...

Then again, even the Times is starting to doubt the competence of our socialist overlord.

Gagdad Bob said...

In short: never send a community organizer to do a man's job.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh c'mon blown hole, you're texting this thread from a party being held in Rahm's rent-free D.C. lodgings underwritten by a BP flack, aren't you?

As for the rest, I don't believe in convenient coincidences of opportunity. What I can believe is that Obama's speech on Tuesday will likely be to lay out a plan to nationalize our oil industry. But it won't be peddled that directly.

It's how Mexican presidents get rich and stay rich: they skim the petroleum and drug cartel proceeds and skip town when they have enough to live in Bahrain. Most realize that absolute dictators get killed eventually, and really, they can't be bothered with the hassle of governing, so they merely "arrange" the economy to their liking and get out while the gettin's good.

Otherwise, if he's going to insist it is another 9/11 then perhaps we shall hear of sabotage and intrigue and blame placed squarely on. . .

Gagdad Bob said...

When you've lost the Times... who's next, Castro?

Gagdad Bob said...


I think you're right. Obama, because he's so emotionally immature, can't handle all of the psychological projections being aimed at him, so he'll try to shift the focus and provide a different target for the projectors.

Gagdad Bob said...

I can hear him now:

"Let me be clear: even though this is totally Bush's fault, I take full responsibility."

Joan of Argghh! said...

"Castro ha muerto.
No! No es difunto!
Si, si es.
No! Solo extrana a los fjords. . . "

ge said...

For when messes like the oil fiasco happen, you certainly want a Romney or a Giuliani [or heck even a Sarah P!] taking charge and losing sleep weighing solutions---rather than this Tiger Woods wannabe: apparently he is playing Presidential Golf Round #38...[Drudge]
It is also madly-far/deep the levels companies are mandated to work at [Thanks Schlickmeister]

julie said...

Related to today's post is this, via Vanderleun:

"Our rulers, then, increasingly deliberate on our behalf, and decide for us what is the right thing to do. The philosopher Socrates argued that the most important activity of a human being was reflecting on how one ought to live. Most people are not philosophers, but they cannot avoid encountering moral issues. The evident problem with democracy today is that the state is pre-empting—or “crowding out,” as the economists say—our moral judgments. Nor does the state limit itself to mere principle. It instructs us on highly specific activities, ranging from health provision to sexual practices. Yet decisions about how we live are what we mean by “freedom,” and freedom is incompatible with a moralizing state. That is why I am provoked to ask the question: can the moral life survive democracy?

By “the moral life,” I simply mean that dimension of our inner experience in which we deliberate about our obligations to parents, children, employers, strangers, charities, sporting associations, and all the other elements of our world. We may not always devote much conscious thought to these matters, but thinking about them makes up the substance of our lives. It also constitutes the conditions of our happiness. In deliberating, and in acting on what we have decided, we discover who we are and we reveal ourselves to the world. This kind of self-management emerges from the inner life and is the stream of thoughts and decisions that make us human. To the extent that this element of our humanity has been appropriated by authority, we are all diminished, and our civilization loses the special character that has made it the dynamic animator of so much hope and happiness in modern times."

Just a small excerpt; the whole is worth your time.

julie said...

ha - I wouldn't have guessed that "extrana" = "pining"

Good one, Joan ;)

julie said...

Or as Taranto might say, he's in stable condition...

Susannah said...

"Yes, the bottom line is that no one knows how to fix it, and to blame Obama is almost as foolish as it was to blame Bush for Katrina. It just fosters the idea that omnipotent Big Government will take care of everything. If Republicans try to score points off of this now, they'll just pay for it later when something bad happens on their watch. It's tempting to do to them what they did to Bush, but one must resist the temptation. There are plenty of other good reasons to hammer Obama."


And double yep to Joan's prediction re: "never let a good crisis go to waste."

Susannah said...

Julie...paragraph 4, *literally* my thoughts exactly this afternoon, as I was listening to the news and thinking of our lefty trolls.

Northern Bandit said...

Having worked intensively with various regulatory regimes over the past decade (Sarbanes-Oxley on Wall St., TSA/APIS 2005-2008 and most recently FDA/CDER) I can tell you that Van is pretty close to the mark re BP and the oil spill. I would add that it couldn't happen to a nicer mega-corporation. BP lied and propagandized green rubbish (uh, oh... more BS from BP) right alongside Gore and the very worst of the transnational progressive global claque (a full member of which Obama aspires to become far more than merely POTUS, IMO).

Nevertheless the accident was at least partially due to the paralyzing effect of literally millions of pages of US government regulations, and the unintended consequences which inevitably result. The US is easily as over-regulated as Europe, and with Europe bailing on "democratic socialism" just as the US surges ahead into the same trap, it will soon become all but impossible to do business except as a massive "progressive" corporation which is deeply intertwined in a most unhealthy manner with the US Leviathan. Large corporations like BP are not necessarily in any way representative of the healthy free enterprise environment envisioned by America's founders. Why do you think Obama is coddling so many of them while he silently annihilates the seed corn which has kept America bouncing back for generations (i.e., his policies have severely crippled the new small enterprises which traditionally spring up in the wake of a downturn -- and which create 90% of new jobs)?

It's hard to see the incalculable damage done to the US in the past 50 years (with a good chunk done in the last 2!) by progressives being undone in less than another 50, and only if we did a 180 right away. As David Warren says: enjoy this summer -- it may be the last one many of us remember as the real "good old days".

anon said...

My position is that it was an unfortunate accident

It never ceases to marvel how you people fail to connect the dots of your own thoughts.

The very article that one of you cited yesterday (the Rolling Stone piece) made it very clear that this was an entirely preventable accident caused by BP being too cheap to install and maintain basic safety equipment, a decision made possible by the regulatory capture of the appropriate agencies during the Bush administration (and not fixed by Obama, so he can take a share of the blame).

Yet we have people like NB (who poses as some kind of entrepreneur) asserting that the problem is over-regulation (if only) and thus somehow attributable to "progressives". Oh yes, that makes sense.

The company applied the same deadly cost-cutting mentality to its oil rig in the Gulf... BP shaved $500,000 off its overhead by deploying a blowout preventer without a remote-control trigger – a fail-safe measure required in many countries but not mandated by MMS, thanks to intense industry lobbying. It opted to use cheap, single-walled piping for the well, and installed only six of the 21 cement spacers recommended by its contractor, Halliburton – decisions that significantly increased the risk of a severe explosion. It also skimped on critical testing that could have shown whether explosive gas was getting into the system as it was being cemented, and began removing mud that protected the well before it was sealed with cement plugs.

Gagdad Bob said...

Uh oh. Anon's mad at us again.

greyniffler said...

anon, it appears that it took a series of bad expedient decisions to create this failure, not just one. Clearly, BP is to be blamed for them. On the other hand, the safety protocols were in place and had to be given short service.

As to the "remote control" blowout preventer: they have been installed, but none has ever been called upon to do its job. In other words, we don't even know that they work.

There will be plenty of time to put people on trial after we get the problem under control. Meanwhile, companies stand ready to provide miles of spill-containing boom but the Obama administration has balked at waiving the rules requiring union (or minority?) contracts.

Of course, the people whose businesses and livelihoods are being tarred over don't count, since they are not union, but that hated enemy: the businessman.

Fix the problem. Then place the blame.

black hole said...

Well, clearly the BP debacle is a call to bring increased federal scrutiny to oil production and distribution, if not outright nationalization. I should say, preferably nationalization.

It is also a call to halt petroleum prospecting and drilling in the USA forever.

This is also the time to massively fund development of other sources of energy and alternate modes of transportation.

Racoons get on board this train; it is a faded green but you can trust it to go where safety and sanity lie.

Rick said...

"This is also the time to massively fund development of other sources of energy and alternate modes of transportation."

You are welcome to spend your own money and man-hours on this. Good luck.

In the meantime, we will be sitting on decades upon decades worth of domestic energy sources (coal, oil, nuclear) being put to death by regulation and feel-good BS.

While you work on the perpetual motion machine and alternative fuels, based on recent history, what makes you think, what in-forms you, that the regs won't get there first? Or that other nagging principle I like to refer to as often as I get the chance: energy density. Actually that last one is always present. Yet it is always overlooked.

If we spent a fraction of the funds you dream about on making the current sources of energy "less-suck" I know they would "less-suck".

Van said...

bh spewed "...It is also a call to..."

Way to live up to your nicname.

greyniffler said...

To BH and all those who demand nationalization, please answer this question:

If a private company breaks the rules, we can appeal to the government to demand that it mend its ways. If the government breaks the rule, to whom can we appeal to demand that it mend its ways?

You seem to believe that profit is the only reason to do a thing badly, or to do a bad thing. I remind you that a hundred years ago we had a social endineering program called racial segregation. The government backed this program, and thus it was very, very hard to undo. Its backers passed the Posse Comitatus Act, which ended the federal involvment in stopping racial segregation, and it took the Supreme Court's action to get it back in the business. And getting SCOTUS involved is even more dangerous: what happens when the court of last resort rules against you?

Just on the basic principles of oversight, we should have as much as possible done by someone who is not the government.

Gagdad Bob said...

I do not recommend Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future to Anon or Black Hole, since they are uneducable. But for everyone else, it's a very informative read.

ge said...

Back where it all began...
having enjoyed the movie,
i started Faulkner's THE REIVERS,
for a novel perspective on 'the beginning of the problem':
a southern family buys the town's first auto

Van said...

Greyniffler said "Just on the basic principles of..."

You lost them at 'principles'.

Susannah said...

Anon, with the benefit of hindsight, most accidents are preventable. Most stem from a moment of what could be termed "negligence," or from some other form of human error. We still call them *accidents,* however. People don't mean to do them, in other words. Cutting corners here and there is a short-term benefit that may have long-term consequences you can't foresee.

I can't imagine any company intentionally bringing this sort of thing down on their heads, much less the damage spread far & wide to others.

Accidents do happen. Those responsible step up and make restitution for the damages. Or at least, that's what should happen.

Unfortunately, we're a sue-happy, vengeance/greed/control-centered society now. And contrary to BH's blind, implicit trust in those who'd lead her(?) down the primrose path, those in gov't aren't immune to the temptation for quick wealth and power (again, see "never let a good crisis go to waste").