Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Media Advocates Still Looking for Panacea

When writing about the earthquake in Japan, I wrote: "There really are no guarantees in life, but the news media actually believes there should be, and that is the premise from which they report every major aberration of nature. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and tornadoes will inflict damage and pain on the areas they strike, and freak snow storms will bring even the best prepared  municipality  to a standstill for at least a short period of time.  It is pure BS to suggest otherwise." 

Little did I realize that after I posted that blog, it would only take a couple of day for one of the nation's leading liberal columnists, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, to prove my point. He starts out one of his recent columns by saying that "Nuclear power was beginning to look like a panacea.....Now, it looks more like a bargain with the devil."  Later on in the column, Robinson admits that "there is no such thing as a fail-safe system," and he concludes his column by writing, "Unlikely failures can combine to bring any nuclear-fission reactor to the brink of disaster.  It can happen here."

Eugene Robinson is an intelligent, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, but for the life of me, I can't understand how any intelligent person can reach his mid-50s, where Robinson is, and still thinks that there is such a thing as a panacea.  Robinson is not the only one.  There are plenty of advocates in the media who think that life should come with guarantees of happiness and safety.  Haven't they noticed that over the course of their lifetimes there have been natural gas and oil explosions that have killed many and injured even more.

Admittedly, nuclear power is a bit different in its potential for destruction and loss of human life.  However, every new discovery in my lifetime has usually had a possible negative side effects that had to be weighed against the benefits.  From what I've seen, the benefits of nuclear power still easily outweigh the risks, which I acknowledge can be substantial.

I admit that people of my generation have witnessed extraordinary advances in technology, making some things possible that we never thought could happen when we were younger.  Despite all the great discoveries that have taken place over the past 60 year, I still don’t believe that any human entity – governmental, corporate, private, or religious – has the capability of compensating for every aberration of nature and human behavior and every mechanical failure.  Maybe, someday we will have that capability.  It’s not likely to happen in my lifetime, but given what we have seen take place in recent decades, I’m willing to acknowledge that it is possible. Unfortunately, at this time, I think it is still idiotic to even operate under a premise that any human entity can even come close to guaranteeing that nothing will ever go wrong in life.

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