Any experience with transportation security should quickly reveal our societal preference for the perception of security over actual security. Does all that government rigmarole actually prevent air-terror? Traffic engineering research shows that traffic circles are safer than traffic signal guided intersections, but our demand is for the latter because it feels safer. And with every financial bump and bubble there’s a push for greater market regulation.

The hope is that more controls will create more safety. Sometimes they do. Fencing off train tracks with electric rails, for instance. But the benefits of controls, safety or otherwise, are subject to diminishing marginal returns. Excess control introduces moral hazards, and Americans seem to have an unhealthy appetite for moral hazard.

At root I think is a bias toward doing something to solve a problem even when doing nothing is more productive. We have a bias toward control over adapting our behavior. Hence all this talk about mass-scale weather engineering. If we’re not attempting to control a situation we’re not doing our jobs!