Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, March 01, 2010

Some Thoughts About The Earthquake in Chile

Hi Everyone,

First, I wonder when Pat Robertson or some other Christian Fundamentalist is going to blame the Earthquake on some moral failing in Chilean policy.

Second, the differences between Chile and Haiti from a geological perspective are getting a lot of attention. But something that gets mentioned less is that the Chilean avoidance of mass casualties is evidence of the importance of a stable government capable of providing emergency services AND enforcing regulations about building safety.

This is important from a grand ideological sense. Republicans on the far right are found of saying that there should be minimal government. In practice this means they support any reduction in the regulatory authority of the state and support any increase in the military or police power of the state. If we project their preferences out to their end point, they prefer a government that supplies public safety (police and fire mainly) and military protection and virtually nothing else. We don't have to imagine what such a Republican utopia would look like. Most of Sub-Saharan Africa is like this. Haiti used to be like this until a series of corrupt authoritarian leaders and natural disasters destroyed even the public safety and military.

Chile's government instituted building codes to account for their frequent strong earthquakes. And what's more, they enforced those regulations. They did not rely on the enlightened self interest of private contractors to make their own buildings safer. Because of those building codes, even severely damaged structures stay intact enough, long enough for people to escape with their lives. This is in sharp contrast to Haiti's regulation free environment where buildings immediately "pancaked" on their inhabitants.

The message to the far right: be careful what you wish for!


Anonymous said...
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Raised By Republicans said...

Anonymous 12:55. Your post about 2012 looked suspcious because it is incoherent and has an odd looking url posted within it. That's why it was deleted. If you are a real person and not a spam/virus, I apologize for the misunderstanding.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Indeed, parts of the USA did look like subsaharan Africa in the 1930s when we last reaped the natural results of Republican laissez-faire policies.

Chile has done a good job since evicting its military dictators of adopting government policies that implement and safeguard its values. That is a lesson for us too.