Energy: The Unconscionable Liberal Gamble
July 22, 2008
Just as it is true that "Man shall not
live by bread alone,” it is equally true humanity cannot live upon words
alone. Yet dangerous words that represent nothing more than figments of the
liberal imagination (think of "free love”) are the stock-in-trade of
supposed liberal intellects.
That fact was surprisingly reinforced in a recent column by Thomas L.
Friedman of the NY Times, a man who usually knows better than to
associate himself with stupidity but wrote admiringly of Al Gore as
"Mr. Gore proposed dramatically improving our national electricity grid
and energy efficiency, while investing massively in clean solar, wind,
geothermal and carbon-sequestered coal technologies that we know can
work but just need to scale. To make the shift, he called for taxing
carbon and offsetting that by reducing payroll taxes: Let’s ‘tax what we
burn, not what we earn,’ he said.”
How could Friedman align himself with the anti-drill, anti-nuclear
thinking that embraces a big government answer to a problem that,
unsolved, will destroy the nation’s economic and social stability?
Perhaps because Mr. Gore makes fixing the energy mess sound so
greenishly simple. But aren’t liberal intellects the ones always dinning
our ears with pleas to avoid the error of seeking all black or all white
answers to problems that are intricately gray?
Well, rush for the black and white is exactly what Friedman did because
Al Gore’s words represent an unconscionably irresponsible gamble with
nothing less than the nation’s survival, an assertion we can put to the
test by determining if those words are supported by that thing called
Dramatically improving our national electricity grid and energy
That’s an admirable goal; but regarding it, Gore typically forgot a very
The job ought to lie in the private sector, not the public, especially
not that piggishly earmarking, bureaucratically bumbling institution
called the federal government.
Now, to the really unconscionable stuff.
Investing massively in clean solar, wind, geothermal and
carbon-sequestered coal technologies.
Nice words. But honest people ask questions such as these:
Is "investing massively” a euphemism for "massively profligate spending”
by the wasteful, insatiable porker mentioned previously?
Is Al Gore actually asking us to believe that instead of providing tax
incentives and other inducements for the inventors, researchers, and
entrepreneurs working to make the cost of electricity produced by solar
cells competitive, we are better served by turning the job over to the
Department of Energy?
Is Gore aware of the number of wind farms already built and of plans to
build many more by proven, experienced, energy entrepreneurs such as T.
Speaking of wind power, environmentalists Gore and Friedman ought to
recycle some of the words they blow at Bush and use them to enlighten
the public about liberal "Greens” (including Nantucket area residents
Kennedy and Cronkite) who have blocked and enormously increased the cost
of a proposed sea-based wind farm that would provide all of Cape Cod’s
Sure, but it’s energy peanuts. Mr. Gore isn’t proposing tens of
thousands of geothermal wells, is he? Talk about the potential for
harming the environment. Moreover, we hope he wouldn’t drill those wells
in or anywhere near places such as Yellowstone because there are
millions who haven’t yet been born who’d like to get their chance to see
Old Faithful faithfully blow its top, unlike Al, willingly suffering the
indignity of flying on a commercial airliner to get to Wyoming.
Carbon-sequestered coal technologies that we know can work but just
need to scale.
"Just need to scale,” how simple. Apparently, Messrs. Gore and
Friedman are blinded by the fact that a billion trillion things are
possible — for example, scientists might solve the entire kit and
caboodle of the energy problem by cheaply and safely initiating and
controlling nuclear fusion tomorrow or discovering how to produce a
cheap, inexhaustible supply of anti-matter next week.
But here is what the website spacedaily.com has to say about carbon
dioxide capture and sequestration as it pertains to burning coal:
"[Those technologies] will enter the market beyond 2020.”
How far beyond 2020? We don’t know. But Mr. Gore behaves as if we do,
even as he proposes burdening the nation with higher energy costs in the
"here” and the "near” while it waits to get to his faith-based,
If Al Gore were intellectually honest, he’d speak in detail about the
enormity and complexity of the challenges America faces with respect to
replacing the sources of energy it currently uses, for example, the 150
billion gallons of gasoline required every year to power vehicles and
the combined one billion tons of coal and seven trillion cubic feet of
natural gas needed to generate electricity.
He’d speak about the realities of the International Monetary Fund’s
forecast of "just” 9 percent growth for the Chinese economy in ’08 and
8% for India’s, one of which is that if the explosive growth causes the
price of gasoline to rise at "just” 8% a year for the next five years,
the cost of a gallon of gas will rise from $3.50 (let’s be modest in our
starting point) to $5.14.
He’d speak about whether or not he believes after-tax wages in the U.S.
will rise at a minimum of 8% a year for the next five years.
He’d speak with special emphasis about the many consequences — economic,
social, national security — that result from sending an Everest of oil
dollars overseas every year, a mountainous burden upon this nation Mr.
Pickens calls the "greatest transfer of wealth in world history.”
Of course, that kind of message doesn’t send an arena full of hand
clapping, foot stomping partisans madly screaming support for "change we
can believe in.”
However, empty words do. Problem is, humanity cannot live upon words
Neither can humanity live upon foolishly audacious hope; for as Ben
Franklin advised us, "He that lives upon hope will die fasting.” And
when that "he” becomes an entire nation, the fasting and the dying
become an astonishingly terrible and ugly thing as millions rue the day
they gambled with their survival.