This originally appeared on The Huffington Post The issue is death — death gushing at ten thousand pounds per square inch from a mile below the sea, tens of thousands of barrels of death a day. Not just death to eleven human beings. Death to sea birds, sea turtles, dolphins, fish, oyster beds, shrimp, beaches; death to the fishing industry, tourism, jobs; and death to a way of life based on the beauty and bounty of the Gulf. Many, perhaps a majority, of the Gulf residents affected are conservatives, strong right-wing Republicans, following extremist Governors Bobby Jindal and Haley Barbour. What those conservatives are not saying, and may be incapable of seeing, is that conservatism itself is largely responsible for what happened, and that conservatism is a continuing disaster for conservatives who live along the Gulf. Conservatism is an ideology of death. It was conservative laissez-faire free market ideology — that maximizing profit comes first — that led to:
- The corrupt relationship between the oil companies and the Interior Department staff that was supposedly regulating them
- Minimizing cost by not drilling relief wells
- The principle that oil companies could be responsible their own risk assessments on drilling
- Maximizing profit by outsourcing risk assessment that told them what they wanted to hear: zero risk!
- Maximizing profit by minimizing cost of materials
- Maximizing profit by failing to pay cleanup crews and businesses for their losses
- Focusing only on profit by failing to test the cleanup methods to be used if something went wrong
- Minimizing cost by sacrificing the health of cleanup crews, refusing to allow them to use respirator masks to protect against toxic fumes.