In this day and age of reckless and willfully obtuse anti-government bloviation, it’s important to be clear about how and why government functions as it does, why it’s rarely “perfect,” but why it is, nevertheless, worth defending and maintaining.

Case in point: Kevin Miller’s April 25 story on L.D. 1379, which would allow the Department of Marine Resources to more actively police (via GPS) disputed fishing boundaries.

I’m no lobsterman. I have no dog in this fight. But here we clearly have an industry that cannot or will not police itself in civil fashion. All parties agree that escalation, even violence, will ensue if nothing is done. Like so many prickly deals in a country of 330 million people, responsibility for any potential solution falls to government.

This scenario is typical. Government action is, by nature, reactive. It works slowly. It can be unwieldy. But when there’s a problem – when human nature and/or the “unerring” profit motive fail to address (or utterly pervert) that problem – government is the authority of last resort.

That’s the story with L.D. 1379, and it’s the story behind 90 percent of the regulatory measures on the books today. Right-wingers are convinced that bureaucrats sit in rooms all day wondering how they can extend their unelected influence over this business sector or that public domain. That’s just not how it works. Observe the gestation of L.D. 1379. That’s how it works.

Will L.D. 1379 solve the problem outright? Maybe not. Ultimately, it may take additional tweaks to get the job done – a job no one else would even countenance. Then, four years thereafter, some libertarian yahoo (who may or may not be our governor) will decry L.D. 1379 and its derivative measures as another example of anti-business government overreach.

Hal Phillips

New Gloucester