Where Was Gobby when the Miners Needed Him?

Jameson's picture
Submitted by Jameson on Thu, 2010-10-14 01:45

'Camp Hope' they called it, but salvation didn't come from some deity in the sky. It was delivered by a modern jet carrying the high-tech Center Rock drill bit and the men who knew how to use it. And yet when Mario Gomez, the eldest of the miners, finally emerged from his rock tomb, the first thing he did was drop to his knees and bow his head in prayer.

In reports ringing around the world today I haven't been able to find a single word of gratitude from any of the 33 miners toward the gods of industry—the men who worked tirelessly to bring them back from hell. Plenty of praise to the invisible and not one 'thank you' to their rescuers who were standing right in front of them...

"I think I had extraordinary luck. I was with God and with the devil. And I reached out for God," said Sepulveda.

"I am happy because he made it, it's a miracle of God," said one of the wives.

While he was down there, Jose Henriquez turned to his Christianity, forming a prayer group that met several times a day, asking for 33 Bibles to be sent down the narrow supply passage.

Before they were rescued, Gomez wrote on a note: "Patience and faith. God is great and the help of my God is going to make it possible to leave this mine alive."

But it's not just the miners who are stuck in this stinking Stone Age superstition. A Codelco rescuer made the sign of the cross before he was lowered to the trapped men. Pope Benedict XVI said that he "continues with hope to entrust to God's goodness" the fate of the men. More cringing, because inhabitants of the First World should know better, are the celebrity twits who've been twittering...

Justin Bieber: "Just found out the miners of Chile are being rescued!!! Happy for the families being brought back together. Miracles do happen."

Missy Elliot: "The Chilean Miners will be a testimony of how Real God is! Such a blessing to see them healthy and n Great Spirits!"

Erin Andrews: "Well said..@kurtwarner: Praising God for rescue efforts in Chile, praying all 33 r safe & health! Miracles still happen all around us!"

LeAnn Rimes: “You have to believe there is a God and we are watched over when you read the story about the miners in Chile Guess if he’s not done with you yet here on earth he works miracles to make sure you come out of any situation alive and maybe changed a little. There are reasons for it all I believe. Congrats tonal the families who are being reunited with their loved one’s.”

As an antidote to all this bible-bashing bullshit I offer Daniel Henninger at the WSJ who called the rescue "an enormous victory for Free Market Capitalism."

"If those miners had been trapped a half-mile down like this 25 years ago anywhere on earth, they would be dead. What happened over the past 25 years that meant the difference between life and death for those men?

Short answer: the Center Rock drill bit.

This is the miracle bit that drilled down to the trapped miners. Center Rock Inc. is a private company in Berlin, Pa. It has 74 employees. The drill's rig came from Schramm Inc. in West Chester, Pa. Seeing the disaster, Center Rock's president, Brandon Fisher, called the Chileans to offer his drill. Chile accepted. The miners are alive.

Longer answer: The Center Rock drill, heretofore not featured on websites like Engadget or Gizmodo, is in fact a piece of tough technology developed by a small company in it for the money, for profit. That's why they innovated down-the-hole hammer drilling. If they make money, they can do more innovation.

This profit = innovation dynamic was everywhere at that Chilean mine. The high-strength cable winding around the big wheel atop that simple rig is from Germany. Japan supplied the super-flexible, fiber-optic communications cable that linked the miners to the world above.

A remarkable Sept. 30 story about all this by the Journal's Matt Moffett was a compendium of astonishing things that showed up in the Atacama Desert from the distant corners of capitalism.

Samsung of South Korea supplied a cellphone that has its own projector. Jeffrey Gabbay, the founder of Cupron Inc. in Richmond, Va., supplied socks made with copper fiber that consumed foot bacteria, and minimized odor and infection.

Chile's health minister, Jaime Manalich, said, "I never realized that kind of thing actually existed."

So, you stupid bloody Chilean ingrates, get up off your fucking knees, straighten your backs and salute the captains of industry who saved your sorry asses.


No, Glenn, not if capitalism's nature is ignored....

Craig Ceely's picture

Glenn, I agree with both of your points (the media coverage for Center Rock and the spiritual quotient point). Agree with them entirely, in fact. But what appears to be missing from the Coddington view is that it's not a question of making immediate (or any) profits from drilling to rescue those Chilean miners. Capitalism made that rescue possible by making Center Rock possible. Center Rock made that rescue possible by making that technology. It doesn't even matter whether they donated it or sold it or rented it: they created it. It didn't exist before they did it.

You can't sell what you don't have and you can't donate what you don't have. The entire Cuban-North Korean-Burmese contribution to this rescue effort was.....what? Center Rock's contribution was soul-saving.

Would it be OK if God was a Capitalist, then?

Jameson's picture

... asks Deborah Coddington in her latest article for the Pundit.

"In New Zealand, Henninger's not without his admirers. Facebook acolytes diss the 'religionists' and ask, rhetorically, why 'the hell' the miners thanked God for their safe rescue when capitalism ensured they were not buried alive...

But one essential tool in reaching the miners was the Center Rock drill bit, which drilled down to the miners. This drill bit was made by a company in Berlin and was donated to the Chileans. Given for free. The profit motive did not come into it. Wouldn't you have thought, if capitalism came into this, if the open economy, free trade, profit motive etc were central players, that Center Rock's president would have sold the drill bit to the Chilean government?"

....................................................................................................................

I'm a huge admirer of Deborah. She's one of the good guys, a supporter of capitalism — and a staunch one at that. But like many other commentators on the particular Facebook thread in question, she's overlooking two possible value exchanges.

Firstly there's the multi-million dollar media coverage Center Rock will be enjoying. (It's estimated that Oakley, who supplied the miners with sunglasses for their ascent into sunlight, garnered more than US$40 million dollars in free press.) Until now who'd heard of this little company with the big technology? Their generosity has literally put them on the geographical map. Any mining operation wondering how they're going to get through that stubborn rock to get to the riches beneath will no doubt be calling them to ask if they can buy their "miraculous" drill bit.

Secondly, there's the rather more "spiritual" quotient, which these spiritualists seem to be missing. It's been suggested that Center Rock's donation was selfless, with one commentator calling it an act of "egoistic altruism". Personally I find that idea insulting. To say Brandon Fisher, Center Rock's President, felt *nothing* in his pivotal role in saving the lives of 33 men seems rather ridiculous. I have no doubt his act of humanity will glow brightly in his chest for the rest of his days... and who could put a price on that?

I heard a mother of one of the miners...

Marcus's picture

...on the radio today say that she thanked "nature" for their survival.

I don't get that.

The other day on the news, one comentator said that it would have been stressful for them having not been in a natural state.

What the hell?

I thought they were miners, not moles.

That's what they do for a living, climb down man-made holes!

These people are just "full of it".

Dead-On

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Bravo, Jameson! Bull's-eye. Cool Reason and science saved their ungrateful, fatuous, depraved asses -- not the invisible, ever-silent, utterly void Sky Deity.

I don't know there is no

Lance's picture

I don't know there is no example given.It just stated that it was in some places paraphrasing directly from him.

Oh ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Oration on the Dignity of Man?

But what's the evidence?

Aha!

Lance's picture

I found the reference to it in a lecture series I have. Without giving an example the lecturer says Shakespeare drew this from Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.

I've always read it as the

Lance's picture

I've always read it as the latter, a sort of lamentation of how far he has swayed from what he has learned or believed about man and his current cynicism.

I'm sure there was an Italian guy that he drew from though, someone de la someone.

Hmmm

Lindsay Perigo's picture

It is sometimes claimed that Shakespeare was borrowing from Montaigne, who was French, but the evidence is flimsy. Of course, I've quoted Hamlet selectively—before and aft he's telling us what a foul and fetid pestilence man is. Eye Or rather, he's bemoaning that he sees man in this bad light even though he knows better.

I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation
preuent your discouery of your secricie to the King and
Queene: moult no feather, I haue of late, but wherefore
I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custome of exercise;
and indeed, it goes so heauenly with my disposition;
that this goodly frame the Earth, seemes to me a sterrill
Promontory; this most excellent Canopy the Ayre,
look you, this braue ore-hanging, this Maiesticall Roofe,
fretted with golden fire: why, it appeares no other thing
to mee, then a foule and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of worke is a man! how Noble in
Reason? how infinite in faculty? in forme and mouing
how expresse and admirable? in Action, how like an Angel?
in apprehension, how like a God? the beauty of the
world, the Parragon of Animals; and yet to me, what is
this Quintessence of Dust? Man delights not me; no,
nor Woman neither; though by your smiling you seeme
to say so

"What a piece of work is a

Lance's picture

"What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals —"

Now, Shakespeare has Hamlet paraphrasing that from some Italian chap, can't remember the name... I'd love to see the source he used. Anyone know what it is?

Outstanding Glenn

Sandi's picture

"You stupid bloody Chilean ingrates, get up off your fucking knees, straighten your backs and salute the captains of industry who saved your sorry asses."

Well said!!

Linz: Yes, yes, yes

Craig Ceely's picture

"in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel,"

And isn't that how the rescues were accomplished?

How apt an expression of it, too.

Hamlet again ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals —

All glory and honor, and courage, and mistresses....

Craig Ceely's picture

Really, Olivia, you had me at "mistresses."

But yeah, as you say: "all credit to science, technology and capitalism."

I mean, let me offer this observation: weeks ago, at work, I asked, "Hey, I heard about this when I was in Germany....aren't those guys dead?"

And of course, the replies were: "Oh sure. Well, I mean, they must be, by now."

Those poor bastards were down there for a long, long time.

Which brings me back to my Apollo 13 analogy: people came in and decided: No. We're bringing them back.

And they did.

This rescue...

Olivia's picture

has indeed been a glorious story. Who in the world could keep a dry eye to see those men brought out of hell back to their families (and mistresses!) Eye

A real credit to science, technology and capitalism!

Seeing the first and last come out, and quite a few between, my thought was: who would now dare say that life, man's life qua man, is not the standard of value?!

A loud Amen to that.

Good to see you post again Craig - where the heck have you been?

A week or two? Is that in dog

Craig Ceely's picture

A week or two? Is that in dog years?

Oh, got a new dog, too. But this story of rescue is glorious.

Indeed!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

But they weren't American priests or rabbis or soothsayers, they were engineers and technicians: men who used their intelligence and skills and determination to cut reality to their own demands and pulled those miners out, slowly, one by one, saving their lives.

KASS!

Good to see you Craig. It's been a week or two since you last posted. Eye

An Apollo 13 Moment

Craig Ceely's picture

Linz, good on yer for your observation re: "Science and technology. " I'd call it an Apollo 13 Moment: engineers and technicians were the hero boys on this one, and god bless them for that. I see conservatives in this country (USA) gushing about how those who did so much to rescue these poor bastards were Americans. Well, yes, they were. True enough.

But they weren't American priests or rabbis or soothsayers, they were engineers and technicians: men who used their intelligence and skills and determination to cut reality to their own demands and pulled those miners out, slowly, one by one, saving their lives.

"Houston...we have a problem..." Well, in this case: not any more.

Science and technology ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Science and technology (reason) saved them; superstition, it would seem, comforted them. Old and entrenched follies die hard.

Had they relied on prayers, of course, they'd still be down there—and dead.

It seems the last one out today, took charge from Day One, keeping them exercised, occupied, well-behaved and sane. The circumstances were unimaginably horrible. If, already steeped in Goblianity, they repaired for solace to the Gobby who allowed it to happen ... well, I think in the circumstances one can look past that. Eye

Seeing the first and last come out, and quite a few between, my thought was: who would now dare say that life, man's life qua man, is not the standard of value?!

Let’s not be too hard on the

Jason Quintana's picture

Let’s not be too hard on the Chileans. They have been a shining star of capitalism, at least as far as South America is concerned. I doubt ingrates in America... or New Zealand would be any better with regard to saluting the gods of capitalism in similar circumstances. But your point is certainly valid.

This is been a good story. Far more enjoyable to watch than any live news story I have ever watched on television.

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