What Happened To Our National “Can Do” Ethic?

It appears that our community attitudes have created an anti-business image that turns away new enterprise from considering locating to southern Arizona.  Just reading local newspapers reveals a tip of an iceberg of public ruckus that blocks new developments with allegations of dangers to environment, endangered species and water. Business owners will elaborate in great detail how companies for new mines, real estate development and much needed infrastructure are being persecuted with the intent to stop the activity. The collateral damage of delaying new enterprise with countless investigations leaves the existing local business community to be starved to death.

Who are the advocates causing severe constipation of new enterprise and have bound them up so they are unable to move ahead?  These advocates resort to litigation to force government agencies to identify and enforce provisions to control “alleged” hazards to the air, land, water and vision. To listen or read the rantings of these public interest advocates, it is a very few who are visible. What they say is often opinion unsupported by fact. It is an insignificant number of spokespersons who represent several not-for-profit special interest groups. They are skilled in getting the interest of the media and public meetings to poison the public with a fear of catastrophic consequences that new enterprise will cause.

The advocates are alarmists who seem to be posing as intellectual elitists who infer that they know more than anyone else. In reality, for the most part, they inhabit air conditioned buildings and are ill-informed about the real world of work. They are unaware and do not want to learn about 21st Century technology that can be incorporated in design to ensure for an environmentally –friendly enterprise.

In sharp contrast, there are the Can Do people who design, build and operate new enterprises. Our Can Do’s are roughnecks who drill for oil and install pipelines to safely transport oil; iron workers who assemble the steel skeletons of sky scrapers; miners who dig deep in the earth for coal and minerals; loggers who harvest timber; fishermen who troll in rough seas in bad weather, and construction stiffs.  These people give everyone the comforts we all enjoy.  Most of all, it is Can Do engineers and managers who put it all together.  These people are a different makeup with a lot of rough edges and they speak the truth in rough terms.  They are intent on getting the job done right in the first place, on time and under budget.

At public meetings and in press releases, the elitists avoid the basic issues of overcoming possible dangers to air, water, environment and endangered species. They infer the Can Do’s are crude, rude, insensitive and are greedy for profit.  They engage in litigation paid for by the taxpayer, which is a stand-off and prevents reason to prevail.

New enterprise is in chaos because the public information is extremely biased and one-sided, as it has been corrupted with misinformation generated by the anti-growth elitists. Several years ago, the courts of justice were confronted by opinions without fact. The Daubert Ruling overcame this source of misinformation by requiring opinions not be allowed as evidence without supporting facts. Our media needs to adopt this ruling.

The Can Do ethic is alive and healthy. They are contributing much to our communities. All that is needed for the Can Do’s is to develop an effective means of communication to the public. They must be able to explain the “why” of their engineering solutions to ensure for a friendly methodology that protects both people and nature. This is accomplished by showing results of design that has been tested and proved reliable not to cause harm.

A growing segment of the public are sick and tired of the rantings of these ill-informed elitists and a media that prints misinformation. These people need to rally together and publically challenge each and every false opinion, half-truth and myth, and demand the media provide equal time and space.  Community business leaders have the ability to organize gatherings for the dissatisfied public to proclaim how their personal property ownership is being compromised by an anti-business socialism.

The rough talk of the Can Do people is a blessing. It clearly defines the issues that harm the community so they cannot be rationalized and overlooked. The elitist’s politically correct language tramples everyone’s rights by imposing socialism on both business and property rights. It is time for the silent majority to speak out on behalf of the Can Do ethic, as it will bring many benefits to southern Arizona.

About David V. MacCollum 63 Articles
David V. MacCollum is a past president of the American Society of Safety Engineers and was a member of the first U.S. Secretary of Labor's Construction Safety Advisory Committee [1969-1972]. He is the author of: Construction Safety Planning (Jun 16, 1995) Crane Hazards and Their Prevention (Jan 1, 1991) Construction Safety Engineering Principles (McGraw-Hill Construction Series): Designing and Managing Safer Job Sites Jan 8, 2007) Building Design and Construction Hazards (May 15, 2005)