Saturday, July 03, 2010
It is so hard to listen to otherwise smart people get in a tither over "America's addiction to oil". It is a foolish and uniformed argument that needs to be squashed.
Years before Global Warming was a glint in Al Gore's eye the estimable Sci Fi superstar Arther C. Clarke was scolding us in his futuristic novel "The Deep Range"...
Chapter 23; The Bureau of Mines was also responsible for the hundreds of oil wells that now dotted the sea beds, pumping up the precious fluid that was the basic material for half the chemical plants on Earth- and which early generations, with criminal shortsightedness, had actually burned for fuel.
If an equivalent alternative for powering our cars, ships, airplanes, trains and trucks was sitting on the shelf and being ignored, then and only then would Mr. Clarke's little tirade not be an insult.
Hearing President Obama and then movie star Robert Redford days later scolding Americans for putting gas in their cars to get around left the impression that the alternative was there for the taking and mysterious forces were keeping it just out of reach. The implication was clear, somehow we - the people - are all complicit!!!
The truth is oil is a miracle, it's God's gift to the modern world without which the modern world would never have come about. If cut off from oil now we would driven back into the feudal age. Billions would suffer, and millions would die. Right now - in this day and age - there is no alternative.
If there's anything I agree with these people about is that as a society we should leave no stone unturned looking for an equivalent alternative to oil as a basic transportation fuel. The trouble is if we let these fools have their way they would hamstring us by enacting draconian rules against using the most effective energy source we have at this point in time. Lowering our standards of living and essentially promoting poverty is the worst possible way to achieve the next level. Yes, the end of the oil age has to come for a whole host of good reasons, but shooting ourselves in the head is far worse than slowly "poisoning" ourselves. Yes, we can be assured that the Earth will heal from the disaster in the Gulf Of Mexico. It is beyond terrible, wholly regrettable and probably even criminal, but it's not the end of the world.
In the wake of the Gulf Of Mexico oil leak there have been countless talking heads spouting off about the evils of oil and oil companies (and even about the pre-Obama government). Little has been explained about what a miracle oil is and how much of our modern world is dependent on it - how much we all are completely dependent on it.
Here I compiled a small list of products that require the use of oil - this, as they say, is just the tip of the iceberg:
Car Battery Cases
CD's & DVD's
Ice Cube Trays
Soft Contact lenses
Sports Car Bodies