Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Practical Republicanism; or, Pre-emptive catastrophe

Reality-oriented bloggers have for a long time now noticed that we have turned the government over to people who do not really believe in government at all, except in the sense that burglars believe in unlocked doors.

Maybe we're stuck with this situation, for the time being anyway, and have to make the best of it, but why not do it with a little creativity? Once we think outside the box of civilization, many scenarios are possible, only one of which is given below, just for illustrative purposes. We don't have to wait for another New Orleans.

Now if Republicans do not believe in government, what do they believe in? Well, for one thing, they believe in privatization, and their view is that we all benefit from it, with the nudge/wink understanding that the actual beneficiaries, even if designated as "we" for rhetorical purposes, turn out to be very special subsets of the public, like Halliburton executives for whom the ratfuck profiteering of the boardroom and the provender of the pork barrel placed before their snouts by the taxpayer provides a useful focus for their natural talents and inclinations, and thus saves them from a life of stealing from church collection plates and mugging the elderly.

So, let's look at a practical application of Republican doctrine and faith, as follows: We could all prosper by the selling off of our national parks for open pit mining.

No, you say. You object.

But wait, not so fast. Don't be so negative.

Think of the benefits. Republican stewardship of these resources could use every part of the former parks, much like the Inuit used every part of a harpooned walrus. At the end of it we could reclaim the mined-out craters as much-needed nuclear waste disposal facilities, or, if proximity to population centers allows, regional sanitary landfills. And if open pit mining turns out to be, somehow, impractical--say if the copper ore in Yosemite and Yellowstone turns our to be too low-grade, or if people-who-hate-freedom should object to radioactive drinking water--we could instead lease these properties to timber interests for clear-cutting, followed by large-scale construction of vacation living-quarters for persons whose movements may one day need to be restricted by double rows of chain-link fences topped with concertina wire (already in the works, as part of the homeland security bill, btw.) And finally we could hold a clearance sale of hard-to-sell holdings of former parkland at ten cents on the dollar to developers of 5-acre ranchettes, fulfilling a demand for rural housing for Gulag-Yellowstone admin personnel.

Likewise with the national forests. The Republican odd-lot stealth sales of national forest land have until now been depressed by the ever-present danger of uncontrolled fire. This obstacle is overcome if these lands are stripped and left treeless after the last logging truck has pulled out in a cloud of sawdust and pulverized caliche, leaving behind a rubble or rocks and stumps and splinters all easily leveled off to a fireproof tarmac by bulldozers and readied for future retail or light-industrial development.

Final disposition of public grazing lands now managed by the BLM and leased to ranchers at 85 percent below market might be a problem, given the excellent deal the ranchers presently enjoy feeding at the public trough. But if the ranchers are made an offer they can't refuse; say, purchase at a modest fraction of assessed value plus a guarantee of not waking up with the severed head of one of their remuda string in bed with them, naturally, as good Republicans, they will go for it. Karl Rove is good at this kind of persuasion, having learned as much from watching the Godfather over and over as from his study of Triumph of the Will.

As for Indian-owned lands, co-opted tribal interests who have already gained some needed savvy in their previous experience with Jack Abramoff could doubtless be enticed to collaborate in the sale of the roadside portions of Indian reservations for casino development, leaving the backcountry leftovers to be sold off to K Street friends who could ultimately rent these tracts out to the Air Force as gunnery ranges.

And another problem of big government is solved. This is just one example. We don't have to wait for natural disasters.

You think I am kidding. The Republicans know I'm not.

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