Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Reset Buttons - Updated

There are plenty of thoughts on the "Reset Button" out on the Intarwebs. Most recently, Kevin takes a run at it over at his place (emphasis original):

We should have pressed the "reset" button often - had a mini-revolution somewhere in the country about every 20 years or so - just to keep our political masters reminded of who it was who holds (now held) the reins, but after the one big one from 1861 to 1865, our stomach for it was (understandably) gone.

And now it's too late.
It is, of course. We're too comfy, too used to the Way Things Are to even consider any kind of revolt. Our infrastructure is just too damn good to mess with. Any bad things that happen get cleared up quickly enough, and we accept that sometimes, when really bad things happen, it's time to back up and start over.

But what happens when the government can't make things right? What happens when the government gets more than it can handle?

That's when the reset button will get pushed, and about the only time we'd be able to do it with any chance of success. It would be pushed out of necessity, though. Pushed by regular people who needed to simply survive. Think Katrina writ big.

I mean, what would happen if, right now, the earth had a major seismic event? Not only would the New Madrid and San Andreas faults pop, but our coastlines would be at risk as well.

The midwest is already flooded. Wildfires are popping in and out in the west. How much would it take to overwhelm FEMA? Sure, the states would handle things initially, as they should, but what would people do if there was no help on the horizon?

Organize, that's what they'd do. and, once things sorted itself out, those who organized and survived would be leery of someone coming in saying "We're back! Sorry for the delay, we shoulda took that left at Albuquerque." Yeah, sure buddy. Go back where you came from, we don't need you here.

Far fetched? Maybe, but I'm pretty sure it would take nothing short of it to spur people into action.

UPDATE: The MadRocketScientist has something similar up, from back in February. This is uncanny (emphasis mine):
Alternately, we'd need a touch of chaos. An event so drastic and far reaching that it shakes the very foundation of our country. Something that reveals the true limits of our governments ability to respond to a crisis (think Katrina, writ large). Honestly, the only chaos I could envision that would be of sufficient scale to topple the bureaucracy would be a massive natural disaster, terrorist attack, or military invasion. Something that the Federal Government would be helpless to respond to and would tax local government to the breaking point.
Scary! But, I think Katrina did expose some governmental shortcomings on every level, and is an apt description of what we're both talking about.

Go read his post on this, it's a better read. He can write, unlike yours truly.



MadRocketScientist said...

I wrote something similar a few months back

Rustmeister said...

Great minds, bro. =)

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I don't know about even a major natural disaster, because people won't blame the govt. for that. They might blame the govt. for the type of response, but that's a different point.

Also, FWIW, it isn't the government's job to "make things right" -- at least not in the way that most people think of it these days. The government already has more than it can handle, it just won't admit it.

A more likely scenario, IMHO, would be severe economic collapse -- maybe China starts dumping dollars big time, combined with something else; that or escalation into a real police state, which could be triggered by an economic collapse, or major terrorist attacks.

Rustmeister said...

The response was what I was talking about. Only the most BDS infected 'bat or truther would claim the .gov caused a natural disaster.

An economic collapse would affect the whole world, but yes, it might touch something off.

Escalation into a police state? Might be too late by then. Guerilla tactics would be about the extent of any resistance one could mount.

MadRocketScientist said...

An economic collapse would, in and of itself, not trigger the chaos. It would, however, make it so that a smaller disaster would have the needed effect.

People tolerate government excess and corruption because they are safe and cozy with their bread and circuses. Economic collapse would strain that comfort level, but not likely break it. People dying in job lots across a large swath of territory would.

A point of hope. Since Katrina, groups like CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) have found themselves getting more local support and are training more and more people on how to survive a disaster and how to assist their neighbors and local first responders. Many people are waking up to the fact that they will be best served by being able to serve.