The Japanese Tragedy and the State of Nature
Many are blaming the misconduct of the Japanese government for their ineffective rescue and disorderly relief activities in this tragedy, and even for their hiding the truth of the radiation leakage to the general public. I do not assume much responsibility of the government here, although which is not a scapegoat for sure, but that of the greed of people as a whole. Let’s first take a look at what has happened to this country.
The nuclear power stations were designed by GE company in 1960s, and it is estimated to expire by the end of this March. Since Tokyo Electric Power Company, which is fully responsible for these power stations, has not devised or even considered any alternative power stations. Obviously, without this tragedy, the stations will still be used, at least for civil purposes. Therefore, it is pretty safe to infer that even more devastating disasters will occur before long without this relatively controllable warning. The incentives for that can be derived for the cost and other related considerations, but indeed, the greed of people. One can again condemn the government for its weak supervisory clout over some power companies or the like, but without these financial groups, how could these politicians be widely reported, strongly endorsed and finally elected? One thereby can hardly blame for the two reciprocal parts geared in the same machine for the common outcomes, which is the unduly pursuit of profits in this context. Simply put, if the power company has enhanced the diesel base of each major power station for additional 2 meters, it technically suffices to ward off tsunami attacks; if it employs artificial robots in the salvage, the tragedy will not be so-called a tragedy.
As Rebecca Solnit claimed in her essay, “The Uses of Disaster”, that disasters would, to some extent, force people back to the state of nature, which, from her perspective, was actually a state of human corroboration. In this state, she rejoiced on human kindness to each other that would contribute to the consummation of civil society. Her view of the state of nature was in some degree a refined Lockean version, in which Locke considered the state of nature was a state of equality and freedom and people were not prone to harm each other under the laws of nature. Unfortunately, she failed to or would unwillingly assume the bad aspects of the state of nature, which was not necessary to be the Hobbes’ version but pretty close to. In Hobbes’ state of nature, people were at war with each other. Admittedly, within a well-structured and full-fledged society, the greed probably would not pull humans into a potential large-scale war, but the derived indifference towards others, specifically the weak of the same race observed in this tragedy is not a good sign for the well-being of all peoples. A true sovereign with wide root support, instead of an embodiment of different interest groups, is a potential candidate for resolving similar problems.