I had the great misfortune to be training in the United States Navy’s Nuclear Power Program when the Soviet’s thought it would be neat to meltdown Chernobyl’s #4 nuclear reactor. The ramifications for me were to add four hours a day special instruction to an already long twelve hour day for two continuous weeks.
The point of the special instruction was mostly political. While we were informed on the sequence of events which defined the Chernobyl disaster, there was really very little in the event we could relate to. From top to bottom there was nothing about that catastrophe which seemed even remotely possible. From our perspective, Chernobyl was a gross and perverted mismanagement of reactor design, maintenance, and operation. The Soviet’s did everything in their power to make sure that thing blew up.
Many of the Soviet operators at management level were not as well trained as our very least experienced and trained workers. They completely ignored strict procedural warnings and they continuously ignored or overrode specific safety guidelines. The reactors had serious design flaws too. For instance, when control rods were at an extended position, reactivity would actually increase when the rods were inserted back into the reactor core for a short period of time before diminishing power generation, a counter-intuitive and ultimately fatal design flaw. Worst of all, however, these reactors had a positive reactivity coefficient.
Reactivity is a measure of a reactor’s willingness or eagerness toward sustaining or promoting the nuclear fission chain reactions which create heat and ultimately provide power. American reactors are designed with a negative reactivity coefficient. In essence, as the reactor heats up, it becomes less likely to sustain the fission chain reactions which create heat, giving the reactor a natural safety barrier which tends to reduce power in the kind of runaway chain reaction exhibited at Chernobyl. Chernobyl, with its positive reactivity coefficient, tended to become more powerful as the chain reaction began to spin out of control promoting instead of diminishing a disastrous situation.
The analogy parallels the current state of our government. When I ventured to create and build the FMK Firearms Company, very early in the design and development of the 9C1 handgun, I began to develop a focused and deliberate theme for the company. Aside from believing that gun ownership among patriotic law abiding citizens is the keystone to guarantee our freedoms and our liberties, and to remind government where its authority comes from; I endeavored to make it a primary goal of the company to share and promote the appreciation I have for the work our American Founders did in securing for United States citizens these freedoms and liberties which are unique to our country.
When you begin to gain a comprehensive understanding of the United States Constitution and read some of the work by Madison and Hamilton in the Federalist Papers you can’t help but come away with the feeling that our government was designed with a negative reactivity coefficient. In other words, government was designed to hold itself back, not promote itself.
While the Executive was given broad authority to protect us, he was not given legislative authority which went to Congress. This legislative authority was enumerated, and only very specific powers were under direction of Congress. The Judiciary rounded out the trio and these three branches of government were independent and designed to check the power of the others.
When Publius published his dissertations in New York City newspapers to encourage the American people to ratify the Constitution, there was much explanation that man shall be pitted against man , ambition against ambition. This tendency of government to control itself, to hold itself back, and to subjugate itself to the citizenry was part of a comprehensive system designed to remind government that it serves the people, not the other way around.
Looking at our government today, it is difficult to find the soul our Founders designed into this government. Congress delegates law making duties to anonymous organizations like the IRS, FDA and the EPA. Organizations like these have their own law enforcement powers, yet there is little or no oversight. These bodies are answerable and accountable to no one. The concept of our representative government was to keep the politicians close and answerable to the people who could remove them through the election process.
Our Judiciary has become a body which makes law instead of following law. Many of the contemporary decisions and arguments handed down by our Supreme Court have been so contorted and convoluted little analysis is required to see these decisions have held no allegiance to the spirit our Founder’s endeavored for the Constitution.
As for the Executive, what can be said when the highest office of the land is used to get into the pants of young dippy chicks?
Our government has become a voracious self-promoting monster. The free-enterprise system which defines U.S. prosperity is profane to many of our Capital Hill politicians. Private sector profits are evil, school choice is sacrilege, freedom of religion means religion isn’t allowed etc.
Our politicians are insatiable parasites using government to promote their career aspirations. Our Constitution was designed to insure freedom from tyranny; it has become a pesky gnat offering only nuisance to the ambitions of our government servants.
So what can be expected of a government with a positive reactivity coefficient? One need only look to Chernobyl, reactor #4.
Copyright 2007 Jim Pontillo