The Real World . . .

. . . is led by people like this volunteer fire chief, who spearheaded an “illegal” collective action to protect their territory from possible ruination from the oil spill. One of many great bits in the article:

When he first began gathering resources, county officials told him he was blowing things out of proportion, that it was just sweet crude. I don’t care if it’s sweet, sour, light, or black,” he says. “I don’t want it in my river.” Others told him the government would handle it. He scoffed. He remembered the Exxon Valdez, hurricane Katrina, hurricane Ivan. If anyone was going to save Magnolia Springs, it wouldn’t be the feds, BP, or environmental activists. It would be the thousand-odd people who live here. After all, the locals knew the water—knew every twist and turn of Magnolia River, Fish River, and Weeks Bay. They would handle things the way they always did—together.

These days, just about everything in the news makes me think (mostly sadly) of Etienne de la Boetie [also see his book, The Politics of Obedience]. This little story shows how real people and real knowledge tend to expose authorities in government and big corporation suits for what they inevitably are—wholly dependent on our fear of them and our faith in them. The story might have been titled “Government Control/Expertise Found to be Figment of Imagination!”
(crossposted at LRC)

Karen Kwiatkowski is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel who is currently active in civilian life as a teacher, lecturer, writer, and radio host.
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