Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Train Wreck!

In a moment of clarity I noted the perfect definition of a “train wreck.” It is generally defined by the collision of two unstoppable forces. This perfectly describes the forces which we have observed from the “the one.”

On the one track we have the momentum generated by the successful campaign for the presidency which was fueled by the messianic zeal of his supporters and the press. On the track coming ever nearer is that unstoppable behemoth, market forces in response to governmental clumsiness and outright fraudulent self-interest. Those with knowledge of Newtonian physics can only anticipate with horror the inevitable result as these forces collide. They are incompatible and the outcome can be extremely dangerous.

Anyone who has actually seen the results of railway accidents soon discovers that it is unsafe to pull a vehicle snug up against the barrier rail at a railroad crossing. In this real life circumstance it is far better to leave a generous space between one’s vehicle and the actual railway right of way. When accidents occur, the cars often leave the rails and scatter themselves about the adjoining ground. In the ensuing chaos it would not be uncommon for them to wind up fifty to hundred feet from the tracks. I park far to the right and allow the suicidally impatient to go around and have the front row seat. Although I do not fear death, I see no reason to accelerate the process.

Like the train wreck, and the resultant random destruction, the current disparity between campaigning and governing leaves serious questions of the outcome. The possible damage goes far beyond that which is, so far, readily observable: financial markets in complete disarray, insecurity in the populace, constant reminders of the felonious activities of governmental officials, decisions ruled by the self interest of bureaucrats, and the ever present reminders from the top of further problems to come.

To continue the analogy, how does one avoid a train wreck? There are several ways. For one, it is nowhere more clear than on the rails that speed kills. Another is the efficiency of control devices to assure that two immovable objects do not occupy the same space coming in opposite directions. In addition, to lessen the damage, that variant dangerous cargoes not be loaded together whose interplay in a collision would heighten the resultant chaos.

No cheerleader ever stopped a train wreck. While gathering voters, raising money and improving your image are desirable to gain high office, they are not the stuff of governance. In the distribution of immense sums of money, long deliberation should be the rule and not the desire to show how quickly you can rise to a possible solution. I would think that a government which can’t get a letter from Washington to New York in three days would not have the chutzpah to think it could distribute nearly a trillion (!) dollars in less time between the vote in congress and the final signature of the executive.

My personal opinion is that the American people gave up their rightful control of the government at the ballot box. Seeking “hope and change” will not stop a train wreck either. By endorsing an office seeker instead of a journeyman office holder they ceded control. There is a reason that railroads reward longevity: it’s the experience factor of seniority which they value so highly. My son learned how to operate an on-plant diesel switch engine in less than half a day. He also recognized that it does not qualify him to take his place on a mainline route. In a perfect world, everyone would realize their limitations. Unlike those who passed the bill without a thorough knowledge of its contents, a competent engineer would not operate with a light proof mask over his eyes.

Lastly, the “porkulus” package contains many volatile issues all crammed together: housing, banking, infrastructure, manufacturing, education, healthcare, and energy. Each on its own is of great importance. But, within the categories are long embedded bureaucrats who narrowly cannot see beyond the huge desks in their own department. If you are totally committed to “green solutions” to energy you will not be able to see the wisdom of either drilling or development of nuclear sources. Given their personal commitment to such issues, congressmen rely upon the reactions of their constituents rather than an unbiased view of needs of the republic as a whole.

For further information on train wrecks one needs to do little more than check out the safety record of Amtrak. They are the government entity which provides the entirety of our nation’s passenger service. Google “accidents Amtrak” and peruse the 376,000 entries all of which are devoted to the subject of tragedies on our country’s passenger rail system. If anyone should recognize a train wreck it would be our government.

My conclusion is simply, as formerly stated, to park as far as possible from the right-of-way and watch without danger. Unfortunately, in this case, you may wind up being a participant whether you want to or not.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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