My Body My Choice, Drill Baby Drill, Hmm… Not So Much

Sunday, June 13, AD 2010

There are two political mantras which have come to symbolize big problems in our mainstream party choices- “My body, my choice!” and “Drill baby! Drill!”. The liberal and conservative camps get so excited when their political heroes shout out these short catch-phrases. For me, they represent some really huge moral deficiencies.
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30 Responses to My Body My Choice, Drill Baby Drill, Hmm… Not So Much

  • The problem is the mixed economy you were mentioned. The government nominally regulates the oil companies, not to mention forcing them to drill off-shore (much riskier than on-shore) and then they are forced to operate in deep water environments compounding the risk. Then the contribution heavy legislators try to protect the oil companies by capping their liability. If they were fully liable for damages does anyone think they would not have taken many more precautions, like the acoustic shut-off valves required in Europe?

  • Perhaps if corporations were made fully liable as well the personal riches of their Executives- then if they would say well, no we aren’t going to be able to go offshore and take the risk- come up with another plan for domestic energy or allow us to drill on public lands with the same liability, with the public getting generous royalties, and maybe since all the right parties are made accountable, and The People are given financial reward- either by each citizen getting a check or by having the money earmarked for some for very obvious public work that has popular support- something like this could work better since corps would have more ammo for making the case that they can do the drilling on dry land if given the chance, and do it much more safely than at Sea- but are also willing to hang their profits and Executive net worth out as collateral to keep everyone honest- could work as the government would still have a hand in seeing to it all such agreements were met, and that plans and sites are inspected by competent, neutral parties to make sure nothing sinister is in the works by real baddies who are at the level of James Bond villians!

  • If they were fully liable for damages does anyone think they would not have taken many more precautions, like the acoustic shut-off valves required in Europe?

    Me. They are fully liable for clean up costs. Only their civil liability is capped and even that can be lifted upon a showing of gross negligence. You think billions isn’t enough of an incentive to install shut-off valves? What we should have learned from the banking crisis and Enron and Worldcom before that is that large corporations left to their own devices, will take excessive risks. Poor corporate governance (including poor executive compensation structures) is partially to blame but there are also unavoidable agency costs.

    I never had a problem with “drill, baby, drill” but I never understood the cost until this tragedy. Sometimes the risks are just too great in relation to the potential benefits. If deep-water drilling can’t be 100% safe, it should be banned entirely and I’m very skeptical it can be made 100% safe.

  • What would be the effect on the economy of $10 a gallon gasolin/heating oil?

    As if THE OIL SPILL (an accident that big gov and big oil can’t fix, big gov inspected and didn’t shut down the rig or ensure safety violations were corrected!) is the moral equivalent of 47,000,000 murders of unborn babies that big (the one you voted for) government sanctions, protects, and funds.

    People employ moral and intellectual contortions to salve their consciences for voting for Obama and abortion.

  • BIG government refused (Jones Act a relic of Depression econ protectionism) to allow many foreign specialized ships to help mitigate the enviro damage.

    The environazis are giving Obama a free pass on this one, too. Also are Obama-worshiping imbeciles . . .

  • T. Shaw wrote:

    What would be the effect on the economy of $10 a gallon gasolin/heating oil?

    As if THE OIL SPILL (an accident that big gov and big oil can’t fix, big gov inspected and didn’t shut down the rig or ensure safety violations were corrected!) is the moral equivalent of 47,000,000 murders of unborn babies that big (the one you voted for) government sanctions, protects, and funds.

    People employ moral and intellectual contortions to salve their consciences for voting for Obama and abortion.

    I do not think this very well written article was attempting to draw a moral equivalency between the spill mismanagement and the abortion holocaust. I did not get that sense at all. The author was attempting to bring the light of faith to bear on two current problems in our society – and they are both current problems – and the deficiencies in how partisan political factions have addressed them. Christians owe it to society to offer something more than mere party spirit – which St. Paul calls a work of the flesh (Gal 5:20). We owe it to society to provide a critique based on the Word of God.

    The author’s point stands, and stands correctly: it is wicked to brutalize the living space entrusted to us by God for the profit of a very few; it is also wicked to murder children. One does not detract from the other. A Christian is not bound to rush off and vote Republican because they pay lip service to the pro-life cause (they have now fronted pro-choice presidential candidates and the chairman of the party is on the record as being pro-choice). We cannot in conscience vote for an abortionist, either.

    We must start looking for and thinking of third options.

    T. Shaw, your response kind of demonstrates the need for the underlying principle that the author is applying. I have gone to the March for Life 23 or 24 of the 33 years I’ve been alive. I’ve spent hundreds of hours praying outside of abortion clinics. And I can honestly say that some pro-lifers go ballistic about the topic. If one says abortion is a big problem, another flips out and says it is the problem, and that moreover the first person – praying at the same clinic – is “soft” on abortion because they didn’t use the same word choice or because they think terrorism is also a problem. This attitude is uncharitable and often counterproductive.

  • hey have now fronted pro-choice presidential candidates

    Rudy Giuliani went nowhere in 2008, and no pro-choice GOP candidate has really made much of a dent in the presidential primaries.

    and the chairman of the party is on the record as being pro-choice

    Michael Steele has said many stupid things in the year and a half that he has been chairman, but he has not ever said that he was pro-choice.

  • Mr. Zummo,

    You are incorrect, sir. Michael Steele said in an interview with Lisa DePaulo of GQ on 11 March 2009:

    Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
    Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.

    You do?
    Yeah. Absolutely.

    Are you saying you don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade?
    I think Roe v. Wade—as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter.

    Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?
    The states should make that choice. That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.

    Do pro-choicers have a place in the Republican Party?
    Absolutely!

    (http://tiny.cc/1hg4q)

    Note the interviewer’s shock at his answer. His subsequent clarification flatly contradicts what he said in the interview. Flatly.

    Laura Bush made some choice pro-choice comments early in her husband’s tenure, including that she thought Roe v. Wade should stand. She has recently reiterated these sentiments.

    These aren’t insignificant slips. This is the chair of the RNC/GOP and the wife of a president-elect (at the time of her first instance). How strongly do you think Bush could feel about it to marry a woman who might very well abort her own child? How strongly do you think the GOP in general can feel to allow Steele to stay in his position after a tip of the cards like that?

    Moreover, these aren’t isolated. RINO is getting to be a bit trivial when it comes to abortion, given the number of votes cast in Congress in favor of abortion with (R) after their name.

  • Michael Steele answered that question as horribly as he could, I won’t deny, and he’s been cringe inducing at times as chair as the head of the RNC. But he is not pro-choice.

    Laura Bush made some choice pro-choice comments

    I didn’t realize that Laura Bush ever ran for President or was a GOP candidate.

    ow strongly do you think Bush could feel about it to marry a woman who might very well abort her own child?

    This is honestly one of the silliest comments I have ever read, and the leap of logic here hurts my brain.

    RINO is getting to be a bit trivial when it comes to abortion, given the number of votes cast in Congress in favor of abortion with (R) after their name.

    Which votes in Congress “in favor of abortion” have occurred recently where there were large numbers of Republicans voting for said measure. Specifics please.

  • If deep-water drilling can’t be 100% safe, it should be banned entirely and I’m very skeptical it can be made 100% safe.

    That’s a pretty high hurdle, and I’m not sure the cost-benefit calculus justifies it. Yes, this is a major environmental accident, and there is a need to reconsider the engineering involved in deep sea drilling, but there are vast deepwater oil reserves that will probably need to be tapped even if we make a best-case switch to alternative energy.

  • If driving/flying/the Church/schools/electricity/fire can’t be 100% safe, it should be banned entirely and I’m very skeptical it can be made 100% safe. Really?

  • Michael Steele is pro-choice. He said it. He wont’t say it any more, but he is. Wisc. Congressman Paul Ryan said on MSNBC a few days after the Michael Steel affair:

    “There are pro-choice Republicans in Congress. There are pro-choice Republicans that is I represent in Wisconsin. We are a big tent party. I’m pro-life. Michael Steele is pro-choice. And you know what? We both fit within the tent of the Republican Party.”

    Hmmm…

    I do believe that George W. Bush is pro-life. As for Laura Bush, she was the president’s other half. Would you marry a pro-choice woman, Mr. Zummo? I do not think it a trivial point at all that a “pro-life” president did.

    Republicans in Congress are voting pro-life now because they are voting anti-Obama. They were singing a different tune when Dede Scazzofava was running for Congress, weren’t they?

  • Steele’s comments during the interview may have been sincere or may have caught him off guard. Here is his clarification after the interview. Take it as you will:

    “I am pro-life, always have been, always will be.
    I tried to present why I am pro life while recognizing that my mother had a “choice” before deciding to put me up for adoption. I thank her every day for supporting life. The strength of the pro life movement lies in choosing life and sharing the wisdom of that choice with those who face difficult circumstances. They did that for my mother and I am here today because they did. In my view Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided and should be repealed. I realize that there are good people in our party who disagree with me on this issue.
    But the Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life. I support our platform and its call for a Human Life Amendment. It is important that we stand up for the defenseless and that we continue to work to change the hearts and minds of our fellow countrymen so that we can welcome all children and protect them under the law.”

  • Would you marry a pro-choice woman, Mr. Zummo?

    I almost did.

    Republicans in Congress are voting pro-life now because they are voting anti-Obama. They were singing a different tune when Dede Scazzofava was running for Congress, weren’t they?

    This comment makes no sense to me whatsoever. What does Dede Scazzafova’s aborted (sorry for the pun) candidacy have to do with pro-life Republicans and how they vote? There are non sequiters, and then there are comments like this.

    And again, I ask you to identify the votes in “favor of abortion” that large numbers of Congressional Republicans have made. Perhaps you’re thinking of the health care bill, in which a whopping zero Republicans voted in favor of? Specifics would help.

  • Today is Flag Day and the 235th anniversary of the United States Army.

    Pray for our gallant troops!

    Pray for Victory and Peace!

    God bless America!

  • Charlie Crist, prior to running for governor of Flordia described himself as pro-choice. Now an independent, he just vetoed an ultrasound/informed-consent law (http://tiny.cc/vw6yr).

    Arlen Specter sat as Republican senator for Pennsylvania for twenty seven years with an increasing approval rating from NARAL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlen_Specter). He has switched political affiliation, but not his voting pattern.

    Reps. Lance and Frelinghuysen of NJ are both Republicans who consistently vote pro-choice.

    Tom Ridge, former governor of PA, was on the record at the time as being pro-choice.

    Rob Ehrlich, former governor of my own fair state of Maryland, a Republican, voted consistently pro-choice except in the most extreme cases. He is joined by Wayne Gilchrest (R, MD-1) in this basic stance. Connie Morella, a Catholic and Republican, served Maryland for 16 years as a congresswoman, never failing to get NARAL’s ringing endorsement.

    George Pataki, New York’s governor for eleven years, was pro-choice the whole time, and proud of it. Susan Molinari served New York’s 13th in like fashion through most of the 1990s. Sherwood Boehlert served three different districts from 1983 to 2007-ish, pro-choice the whole time. Benjamin Gilman who served three districts from ’73 to ’03 was on NARAL’s good list – he scored 100% with them. A Republican.

    Do I really need to continue? Really?

    Paul, we’re getting pretty far afield from my point and from the author’s. I am not trying to gun down the GOP. I am not going to sell my soul to them, either, just because “the Dems are worse.”

  • “Do I really need to continue? Really?”

    You mean, since you didn’t really answer the question asked?

    “I ask you to identify the votes in “favor of abortion” that large numbers of Congressional Republicans have made.”

    I’d say yeah, you probably need to continue.

    No one denies that there are pro-choice Republicans (but, interestingly, you seen to only be able to name a couple of EX-Republicans, some FORMER Governors, and a handful of FORMER congresspersons).

  • Ryan:

    Everybody knows about these particular men. I never said that the GOP was perfect – far from it. Clearly there are numerous pro-choice Republicans; however, they are the minority. You still haven’t responded to my question about specific votes where large numbers of Republicans have voted “pro abortion.” You can’t find it because no such vote exists.

    Even the list you gave is pretty weak. Crist has been exiled in favor of a strongly pro-life candidate, Specter is gone and would have lost to Toomey had he not switched parties, Pataki is gone and is considered a joke by most Republicans, and Ridge is also no longer active in politics. And then of course we see what happened to people like Giuliani and then Scazzafava.

    Yes, there are pro-choice politicians within the GOP. You have not made your case that they represent a significant enough interest within the party to continue this holier than thou third party shtick.

  • And I write what I wrote above as someone who comes fairly close to despising the Republican Party. The GOP has its own culture-of-death issues that make membership in that party untenable.

    But, honestly, it’s not even a close contest for who bends over backward the most in service of Moloch.

  • T. Shaw – My juxtaposition of these two mantras is not meant to convey that I believe that the mass killing of the unborn over long decades is on par with the current ecological disaster brewing in the Gulf- sorry if you misread my intent there- re-read my article to re-assess if you will.

    I am someone who tries to follow the lead of the popes and the Holy See- and they do spill – no pun intended- a lot of ink on issues other than abortion- and there is no way one could miss that the Catholic Hierarchy stands strongly for the unwanted, unborn child. I am also similarly predisposed to care about every life threatened by avoidable actions leading to human and environmental damages. The Gulf Leak is a big concern- bigger still for those of us living in the region- you have to be able to walk and chew gum sometimes- it’s called multi-tasking- we do it all the time as parents- say one child is sick or all of your children are sick- you prioritize yes, but you don’t neglect any of your children and use the priority system as your cop-out excuse. We Catholics have a lot of battles to wage, but only One War- the War for souls starting with our own- I am following my conscience and continuing to properly form my conscience my doing in-dept readings of Scripture, and the Catholic official documents- like the pope’s encyclicals and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church- from these sources I am picking up the idea that there is a strong interrelationship between all of the Church’s social teaching themes- it does the cause of pro-life no good, to act like all other social concerns are lame or not to be considered at all.

    If lives and God’s creation are at risk- I bet God is concerned, and He is my guide- not partisan political pundits. Catholics should always be at the forefront of any and all good fights for the causes of justice for all and protection for the weak, vulnerable, and for the sustainability of life here on earth for our children’s children and beyond. That’s living a both/and Catholic theology out in the real world where we are tested and ultimately judged by the standards of “The Judgment of the Nations” and “the Beatitudes” along with the Ten Commandments.

  • j. christian, my position on this has change. Had the leak been plugged early, I would have no problem with deep-water drilling but this has proven far costlier than I’ve ever imagined. Costly enough to consider an outright ban.

  • Oh Please!
    “It seemed to me that in the “Sunshine State” this would be the perfect place to begin bold and broad experiments in net-metering solar energy- turning every home and business with a roof into an energy producing unit- start with one county and see how it goes. The very idea of just mindlessly supporting more drilling in the Ocean to get at more oil without exhausting other less polluting options- seemed like the type of thinking that leads to the groupthink of machismo- macho men who like drilling holes and blowing up stuff, drilling random women ( if they could), and parading their toughness in public to perhaps offset their own deeper masculine insecurities.”

    So, green weenie senstitivities drive a stake in the heart of on-shore, and shallow water drilling. So companies are (maliciously I would say) left with the most dangerous, most potentially disastrous (in terms of liability), and most dangerous (to the environemnt and other living things) option of drilling deep offshore.

    If you saw this happening in a horror movie, you would be shouting at the screen “NO! Don’t go through that door!”

    Then somehow, we seem to get to the author’s point; the people doing this drilling are testosterone-crazed mysogynists who offend the more refined among us.
    Please excuse my disgust as I call you what you deserve to be called- a petty little wimp!

    And while you are huffing and puffing, please explain how all the solar collectors and wind farms in the world obviate the need for even one reliable fossil or fissile-fueled plant. If you have fixed the ultra-high capacity electrical charge storage problem, then you ought to be too busy becoming a trillionaire to spend time on this blog.

  • RR,

    I suppose our expected value calculations are just different. Although this spill is very bad, I look at Ixtoc I and conclude that it is not a world-ending disaster. There are clear engineering lessons to be learned from this — BOP rams actuated manually or by secondary means, anyone? — and I expect the likelihood of another such accident to be remote.

    On the other hand, most of the large reserves left to be put into production are of the deepwater variety, such as the recent discoveries off Brazil. Like it or not, oil is the whole energy game right now. Unless it becomes economically viable to produce oil from kerogen shale, I don’t see where else it’s coming from. What other choice do you think we have?

  • I don’t know how much oil we get from deep-water drilling off American shores but I’m sure it’s a much less than we get from other sources so I doubt a ban would add more than a few cents at the pump. A small price to pay in my guesstimation, especially considering that we have relatively cheap gas to begin with.

  • And it’s not like the oil is going anywhere. If future technology makes it easier to get at deep sea oil or we get desperate, it will always be there.

  • I took “ban” to mean indefinite and global; what you and BA are saying sounds more like a national moratorium, which is a sensible conclusion given the current state of the technology and regulatory regime.

  • Though part of the problem seems to be that BP may not have followed standard industry practices. Time will hopefully sort out the truth:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704324304575306800201158346.html?mod=MKTW

  • The problem I have with Kevin in El Paso- besides the fact that he calls me “a petty little wimp” is that my criticism with the “Drill Baby” crowd had more to do with the blind enthusiasm for drilling off-shore- it was not typical to hear the fine-tuned critique that the deep off-shore drilling was a risky business- that is hardly the message being sold out there in the mainstream. Back before this BP disaster, the primary noise I was hearing was that any and all drilling anywhere/anytime should be going forth- that is the attitude I compare to machismo- now it is fine to go back and try to correct the record- but the mainstream candidates certainly did not do a good job of using the bully pulpit to lead the populace into more uplifting debate on the facts and choices we must deal with.

    Myself? I publicly support Green options like Nuclear energy with some very specific qualifications like standardized plant designs making it easier for authorities to keep inspections current and simplified- also I put forth the idea of having more passively-safe small plant designs such as the type I promoted when I spent a year in the Czech Republic in the year after their Velvet Revolution- I met personally with President Havel and handed him such materials and also had a formal meeting with their Industrial Minister- Havel did have positive things to say about such nuclear possibilities but I don’t think the country could afford to implement the newer technologies unfortunately. I also supported the French-mode of recycling the nuclear waste instead of having to deal with all the storage issues- but again we are not having very edifying discussions on nuclear energy, oil drilling options, or solar energy/net-metering at the national popular levels- which leaves the discussion in the hands of opportunistic political hacks playing to the liberal/conservative groupthink and the mass media dumbing down effect. Too bad.

    I’m one who is always open to constructive dialogue and sound facts and rational planning- don’t know if that puts me in the “petty little wimp” camp- but I know that blessed are the meek and blessed are the peacemakers and suffering insults well can actually assist my journey to sainthood- so thanks for your remarks:)

  • I’m sorry, but it’s just hard for me to take the article seriously. It calls Sarah Palin a “she-male,” it says off shore drilling is some form of machoism, it gives no summary of the events leading up to the spill- in which government’s culpability is severe- it somehow associates “drilling random women” with looking for and aquiring oil (and come on; who is traditionally more promiscuous, environmentalists or conservatives), and it assumes that the government can somehow breathe life into solar technology, and through an act of legislation, cause a break through in technology by willing it (pumping money into a project doesn’t count as much more).
    The autor doesn’t address any of those concerns, and is just plain intellectually dishonest in his conjured associations between promiscuity and offshore oil drilling.
    As I finish the post, I question my sanity that I commented on this article. I won’t be commenting again, so take my objections for what they are.

  • Ike- I would agree that religious conservatives would tend to be less promiscuous than liberal religionists- at least in theory given their more traditional take on moral values- but with secular conservatives I wouldn’t necessarily take that bet that they are more chaste than secular environmentalists- I’ve encountered many different sorts of political conservatives – some religious some not- it makes a big difference- many secular conservatives would seem to me to be very inclined toward machismo in many ways- sexual attitudes, attraction to violence and so forth- Rush “Elizabeth Taylor” Limbaugh and the neo-conservative Straussians, along with some of the male libertarian Randian-types also seem to be cut from the macho groupthink that would be seen lustily cheering on the sound of Buzz saws cutting down old growth forests or shouting mindlessly- Drill baby, Drill! I’m not a fan of ideologies or ideologues so I’m not interested in carrying the water for liberals/conservative, Dems of Repubs-