What do government bureaucrats do when the problem they were supposed to solve is solved? Never underestimate the ingenuity of bureaucrats to find something else in which to meddle. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:
When your business is solving problems, it’s necessary to find new ones – even if they aren’t really problems.
Else you might find yourself out of business.
You won’t find the above credo carved into the granite above the entrances to government regulatory temples such as the Environmental Protection Agency, but that there is truth in it is undeniable.
The EPA was Shazam!’d into existence – by executive order of Richard Milhous Nixon – in early 1970, a time when smoggy skies were indeed a problem. EPA’s brief – among others – was to clear them. When this was done – which was about 20 years later, so about 30 years ago from our current vantage point – EPA did not declare the problem solved. It redefined the problem – a very clever way of finding a new one that wasn’t, really – but could be framed as one using etymological-psychological tactics worthy of the Great Master Edward Bernays himself.
Bernays’ genius was to deliberately use shifting and shifty definitions to manipulate thought and thereby, action. Propaganda, essentially. Bernays is credited with being one of the first to engineer consent – as the practitioners of the art themselves sometimes candidly put it.
EPA didn’t need to resort to such tactics at first as there really was a problem. Everyone could see – and smell – it. But can anyone see – or smell – the problem now? They can’t – because there isn’t.
Yet many people are certain there is an even more serious problem besetting us. Hasn’t the EPA said so?