State Farm Takes on the Original Sin
by Jan Baughman

People thrive on disasters, at least those involving a lot of Americans (or a few important ones). Plane crashes are particularly fascinating and stimulate our wildest imagination. Some might say (and did): "You get what you pay for". After all, who in their right mind would fly an airline called "ValuJet". Some things you just don't skimp on. Though they certainly didn't deserve to be eaten by swamp things. Or does it really matter what happens to us after we succumb to the hellfire? I think not; I just want to go swiftly into that good night. Don't dredge me up on the nightly news for a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo op.

There is no such thing as an "accident" anymore. The first order of business is to assign fault; only then can we put the incident in perspective and figure out how to react. Blame a mechanic, or an FAA official, or a greedy CEO. Even "natural" disasters have their culprit: God. And God has not been kind to the insurance companies in the past few years. History's worst disasters have occurred in the last decade (or so we think) and it is vital to determine if this is the beginning of a trend or merely a blip.

Desperate to find an answer, the insurance companies are spending millions of dollars to research the effect of global warming on the environment so that they can predict how much they stand to lose on floods, hurricanes and the like. Then, the culpability issue must be taken a step further: Is global warming an Act of God? Or an Act of Man? (notice I leave women out of this!) If it's an Act of God, the industry is off the hook. Might as well cancel your insurance policy right now and invest the money wisely.

If global warming is deemed an Act of Man, Man will pass the buck and argue that God planted the idea in the first place. We are all born sinners and were destined to ruin the environment from the moment we discovered the existence of fire and coal and bulldozers. Why, man didn't even invent the bulldozer. It was merely a concept always out there somewhere in God's Universe, waiting to be uncovered. It could have been any one of us who did it...

And in response, State Farm will proclaim that sin (the propensity to destroy) is a pre-existing condition. And we all know that insurance companies don't like pre-existing conditions. Thank God Clinton is addressing this issue now, before it gets too complicated.

Published June 03, 1996
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