Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Alleged Role of Government

On the short trip home from the gym this morning, I heard three interesting little tidbit news stories on our local “listener supported” classical radio station (listener supported is the heinous euphemism given to the classical station’s new owners: the government).

The first was about the chair lift accident at Sugarloaf Mountain.  In the brief, the radio announcer reported that the state safety inspectors had examined and approved the lift at the beginning of the year and that Sugarloaf staff allegedly inspected the lift each morning. 

Why the difference?  Are the state safety inspectors beyond reproach?  And what is the proof of their diligence? Official looking paperwork? Is the staff at Sugarloaf incompetent?  Are the workers all stoners who couldn’t possibly understand the proper working of a chair lift which contributes greatly not only to their incomes but also to their way of life? Did they lack the official paperwork?

The second story was about the apparently disconcerting color of the frozen Charles River. While we all know to not eat yellow snow, the appearance of yellow ice sparked a concern which could be calmed only by official government confirmation.  The state’s DEP tested the waters, found nothing irregular, and floated the theory that the high winds stirred up leaf detritus and tannins caused the water to freeze with a yellow tint.

Do we really need government confirmation for a phenomenon that we ought to be familiar with through general observation?  Are we that reliant on the “official” word that we have become a nation of people unable to do anything correctly, including think?

Finally, I heard, only partially, a story about the closing of some local courthouses. 

One of the very few things that our government was formed to do is to provide a framework to settle legal disputes. The courts are a necessary and proper role of government.  Allegedly, there isn’t enough money to fund them.

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