From the Cheap Seats: Centurion Al and the EPA Roman Legion

April 26, 2012
Dunechaser / Foter

Those of us who have wondered exactly how the Obama administration sees its role in the grand scheme of things got a compelling insight Wednesday, when we learned that the  Environmental Protection Agency sees itself as as a conquering force, not unlike the Roman legions that ruled the known world two hundred centuries ago.

Yep, that’s our modern EPA, hip to the latest advances in understanding and shaping human motivation with techniques like, well, crucifixion.

We come by this insight courtesy of one Al Armendariz, whose title is administrator of EPA Region VI. We can safely assume from his comments that Al sees his role as something other than “administrator.” Let’s call him Centurion Al, as it’s evident that he’s well into the spirit of the whole Roman numeral thing.

Back in 2010, or as Al might have it, MMX, Al made a video in which he explained that the general philosophy of the EPA is to “crucify” oil and gas companies.

In his appearance. Centurion Al explains to his legion of regulators that general philosophy:

“I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting, but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said.”

“It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean.  They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them.”

“And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”

Somehow, it seems that Centurion Al has missed the growth in understanding of human behavior in the 2,000 years since his favored “management” techniques were considered best practices.

No one can accuse Centurion Al of failing to demonstrate a keen grasp of the obvious when it comes to recognizing that some things are best left unsaid, at least on video.

Beyond that, though, Centurion Al demonstrates that his approach leaves much to be desired in a modern world.

Roman military practice called for dealing with stupidity in summary fashion, with marked preferences for flogging, stoning and beating to death with cudgels the offenders. No one is suggesting that Centurion Al get that treatment, but the EPA would do well to wash its hands of Centurion Al  and his likeminded legions.

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