I happen to think that we're just mucking it up really badly. Nobody's minding the store. Laissez-faire may be allright in some limited sense but it really is a prescription for failure when applied outside its bounds of validity. But that is what has been the underlying basis for life's evolution and civilization's development. "Allow-to-do", I think, does capture the essense of life's development in our eco-sphere. No externally imposed constraints,i.e. societal rules and laws, just a constant vying for available resources and may the best individual, group, tribe, species win. This has been our legacy and it has worked up to now. It is a viable process - as long as it operates on a limited scale. The trouble is that the field is no longer a level one. That serendipidous evolutionary coming together of just the right elements: big brain, bi-pedalism, opposing thumb, - you name it, has upset nature's apple cart. The rest of them just didn't have a chance.
I'm not an evoluntionary biologist or anthropologist so I don't, perhaps stand on very firm ground here. Nevertheless I don't think I'm wrong when I say that virtually all animal species are either in serious decline or are in peril of that condition or are on the verge of extinction. That is to say other than man. At least other than man in the short term in the sense that 'no man is an island' and where would we be without an intertwined ecosystem. In other words we're successful only in the short term.
Because we are so successful in this game of life and not subject to nature's normal checks and balances, human population growth has been exponential. It's not just that we're so successful in the "begatting" business we're also so successful in the "screwing up the world" business. There's a positive feedback process at work here. Population increase leads to an increase in the number of creative individuals which leads to a further increase in population and more people to cause large scale change. Exponential growth is the hallmark of positive feedback.
Now the capacity to change our environment can cut both ways, it can enhance and it can cause mischief.
Bottom trawling damage
Our current climate of paranoia since 9/11/01. Being vigilant is one thing; being paranoid, another. IMHO the pendulum has swung waaay too far and the disruption to our society far outweighs the reality. Are we being taken, or what. All the bad guys have to do is scare the pants off and then we proceed to do the rest ourselves. It's an automatic win for them. What would Ben Franklin think of this knee jerk reaction. "Those who would give up ESSENTIAL LIBERTY to purchase a little TEMPORARY SAFETY, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety".
An example was a Washington Post news story of 1/2/09, entitled "Nine Muslims removed from plane". The essence of it is that one of the passengers, traveling in a family group including three young children, was overheard to wonder about the safest place to sit on an airplane. "My brother and his wife were discussing some aspect of airport security .. The only thing my brother said was, 'Wow, the jets are right next to my window.' I think they were remarking about safety". Throw into this soup of paranoia, extreme lack of common sense and you have a recipe for significant delay, disruption, embarrassment, added expense, and airline arrogance. Do we really need this? The airlne, AirTran, refused to rebook them even after the FBI cleared them for travel.
Another example is an Associated Press story, 6/3/09, entitled "Ohio man wins relief in plane bathroom crisis." The double entendre 'relief' being that he won't face charges for assaulting a flight attendant in an incident on 3/28/09. This is ludicrous, he was the victim, not the attendant or the airline. Seems the businessman had something to eat before emplaning that gave him immediate need for restroom relief about 30 minutes into the flight. The single coach aisle was blocked by a beverage cart and he requested the use of the business class restroom. TSA policy requires passengers on international flights to use the facility in their own seating section and he was denied. When the cart was not moved after a few minutes, he ran for the business class lavatory. He said the flight attendant put up her arm to block him, and he grabbed it to keep his balance. The pilot was called out to the cabin and allowed him to use the restroom. He was arrested after the plane landed in Atlanta on a charge of interference with a flight crew and was held for two days in jail before a federal magistrate could hear his case.
What can you say. The level of incompetence and lack of common sense is unbelievable. Did the flight attendant really want him to uncontrollably defecate in the aisle? Are people really that intimidated by TSA paranoia that they act like total fools? Couldn't common sense prevail and understand the misguided attempt of the TSA rule and that it didn't really apply here? Wouldn't a simple alternate solution be to have him stand momentarily within a seat area and move the cart a space so that he could get access to the allowed facility? And then after the pilot intervened why should it have escalated to the degree that he was arrested.
Somebody should be held accountable for this fiasco.
The Turbulent Mirror
The Ancestor's Tale
The Devil's Chaplain
The End of Faith
Fooled by Randomness
The Elegant Universe
Shalimar the Clown
Pale Blue Dot
Flight of Passage
Alone in the Wilderness
A Man Without a Country
The Kite Runner
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved
Feeding People is Easy