Monday, June 23, 2008

Seeds For Oil, A Fable

There are those who don't want to recognize the oil companies freedom to drill for oil. That's a denial of basic property rights, but let's let that pass for a moment and tackle the deniers on their own ground, which they claim is a purely practical point. They claim it will take ten years to see results. Yes, so?

Let's make the point by way of a little tale...

"Put seeds in the ground now? What's the point? They won't get harvested until Fall. In the meantime, you'll starve. Better to invest in some magic beans that will deliver plenty in... well, I'm a little uncertain about the time frame. But they're magic!"

This is the basic attitude of those who assert that "we can't drill our way out" of the problem of high oil prices.

"But if you plant the magic beans, and horde your food now, you'll be safe until the beans sprout. Oh, you don't want to eat less? Well, we must have a tax to punish the farmers who are taking advantage of your misery. Also, it will be good for you, since it will encourage you to eat less, you glutton."

Forget that the law of supply and demand is nearly as inflexible as the law of gravitation. Instead, tax supply! The evil oil companies deserve it. Forget that the ones who would pay the tax control less than 5% of the supply. Forget how unfair it is to punish those supplying a demand and, god forbid!, getting paid well for their efforts.

And, by all means, forget that those willing and able to pay have the right to trade with those supplying them. A right that should go unhindered by those who have never planted a seed or tended a plant. (Not to mention, who spend so much time throwing weed seeds all around at every opportunity, breaking the tools, and mandating horticulture with one foot strapped to the back of a thigh.)

Do the deniers who want to prevent the increase in oil supply really want to solve 'the energy problem'? Observe that those who argue that "we can't drill our way out" are often the most vocal opponents of nuclear power, a tried and true technology, instead preferring some future promise of wind and solar.

Well, it's true, fantasy is so much more pleasant than reality.


Jason_Pappas said...

I sometimes wonder if they are playing dumb. I suspect they really do know what they are doing.

I was surprised to learn the Greens aren’t complaining that we are running out of oil; they're upset that there’s too much of it! ’s a card-carrying member of the Church of Global Warming confessing their opposition to the use of fossil fuels:

“We must give [Bjorn] Lomborg his due, because he is correct; but we should also give him our sympathy, because he's expending a great deal of energy to counter an argument that hardly anyone is making anymore -- not the Sierra Club, not the Alliance to Save Energy ... not even the Club of Rome. We all recognize that there are enormous reserves of crude oil, coal, natural gas, shale oil, and uranium, and that the world will continue to find them for decades or centuries to come. It's not the finite nature of fossil fuels that's harming the global climate; it's their abundance. It's not the scarcity of oil that endangers pristine and public lands; it's the profusion.”

This fellow is upset because of the great supply of cheap oil. They want oil to be expensive. They want the supply constricted and harder to extract. I’ve come across several references that insinuate that the higher gasoline prices are “what the doctor ordered” to reduce consumption. But they can’t show their cards without alienating the voters who aren’t ready for self-imposed poverty.

Have you seen anything like this?

Jeff Perren said...

That quote, unfortunately, does not surprise me in the least. I indicated that attitude when I said:

"Also, it will be good for you, since it will encourage you to eat less, you glutton."

Ala Taggart, many don't want to succeed, they want everyone else brought down to the lowest level. (The creature who runs grist is the very prototype of that sort.) That is, among other things, the egalitarian aspect of their vicious philosophy.

There is much that is decidedly medieval (in the figurative and literal senses) about their views.