Fifty States of Fear by Northwestern University philosophy professor Peter Ludlow is insightful on so many fronts: the manipulative and coercive nature of terror-scaring; the counterproductive nature of drone attacks; the gradual but steady widening of the net to include environmental activists as terrorists; and this:
But while we spend more than 7 billion dollars a year on the T.S.A.’s national security theater in which over 58,000 T.S.A. employees make sure we are not carrying too much toothpaste or shampoo onto airplanes, the budget for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is under $600,000 per year. It seems that our threat assessments are flawed.
We are conditioned to fear persons in caves in Pakistan but not the destruction of our water supply by frackers, massive industrial accidents, climate change or the work-related deaths of 54,000 American workers every year. Fear of outside threats has led us to ignore the more real dangers from within.
The actual threat of shoddy workplace safety and environmental protections is orders of magnitude greater than that posed by intentional terrorists, but no stone is left unturned to catch terrorists, even before they do anything, to say nothing of terror plots hatched and/or enabled by the authorities themselves. In contrast, the “unintentional”
terrorists wreakers of catastrophic havoc–old-fashioned, red-blooded American entrepreneurs–are given a pass. The pundit class yawns:
Few, if any, of the Sunday TV talk shows discussed the [West Virginia water catastrophe], but imagine the fear that would have been pedaled on those shows if terrorists had poisoned the water of those 300,000 Americans. Of course the danger is the same whether the cause is terrorism or corporate indifference and malfeasance.
Cutting corners to make a buck, deregulating, keeping regulatory agencies toothless to enforce already weak regulations, hey, it’s the American way. Shit happens, and when it does, we’ll pray hard for you, West Virginia….