Monday, September 15, 2008

Rantings and Oil

Drill Baby Drill, the Republican mantra is based on a false promise that to drill on the Alaskan slope or in the Gulf closely adjacent to states that are concerned about environmental impacts will bring some immediate relief to four dollar plus per gallon gas prices. Rabid environmentalists, on the other hand (are they all Democrats? I don't know the answer to that question) object on the basis of despoiling the environment, rendering polar bears extinct or increasing the likelihood of oil spills washing up on the shores of Florida beaches ruining the tourism industry. We are told by various estimates that the impact of drilling immediately will take fifteen to twenty years to have its consequences felt. Various estimates as to the usefulness of using our domestic sources run from eventually supplying three percent of the country's needs to twenty percent.

I would like to take a step back and state the obvious with respect to the long term use of oil. Even if we project our estimates out to the year 2050 that date is still short sighted. My point is that it is abundantly obvious that at some point in time, not far away in terms of the history of the world, the oil supply will end. It might be 2060, 2075 or 2110. It doesn't matter but that at some point in time, during the lives of our grandchildren or great, great grandchildren (how long it takes really doesn't matter), life on this planet will be no longer be able to function in a oil-based manner. The current thinking on the part of all politicians in this regard is akin to how we have come to this difficult point in time of our current disastrous economic situation. Citizens and government like have managed fiscal affairs for a long time on a pay as you go basis and if you run short, borrow. Deficit financing has become the norm for governments at all levels; local, state and federal, i..e., the exact thinking equivalent that is being currently applied to oil. since the Savings and Loans Associations scandal of the 1980s where one of our current presidential candidates (ahem, he shall remain nameless) was issued a reprimand by his fellow members in Congress, through the tech bubble, the housing bubble and the irrresponsible lending practices of our financial empire we have experienced a profound short sightedness in all issues vitally important to the strength and continued vitality of our form of government.

A highly respected friend of mine has responded to several of my blogs in an agreeable manner pointing out that he is a conservative. (I have a tendency to agree with 'liberals' on any number of issues which has caused one other reader of my blogs to request that I remove his name from my mailing list because I was sounding like Keith Olbermann, a characterization for which I take great umbrage, but that is another story). My conservative friend has on several occasions agreed with me much to my delight. My point in bringing this up is that I find myself very curious about the meaning of conservatism and what is meant what someone says that she/he is a conservative. Does not the root word mean 'to conserve?' If the intent of a conservative is to conserve the form of government our forefathers intended in the late seventeen hundreds, why don't we go back to slavery and take away the right of women to participate in our governmental processes? Neo conservatives, as I understand it, would like us to go as far back as 1938 before the time that our Supreme Court started interpreting the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution in such a manner that allowed Congress to pass laws affecting matters of economic interest. The proponents of such thought, led by Clarence Thomas and Antonio Scalia of the Supreme Court believe it is appropriate for judges to only divine the intent of the framers in deciding issues. Any judge who does not do so it deemed an activist judge, unless, of course, a decision is rendered in an activist manner in favor of the Republican faithful.

But, I digress. The issue is how long do we wait before someone truly recognizes that no matter how long it takes for oil to run out that we need to prepare for that eventuality? I would argue that the time is now, not later, and that a major government effort must be undertaken if our country is going to survive. Yes, I said survive. This is not a Steven King doomsday scenario, although if we run out of oil without having made adequate alternative preparations, it will certainly resemble one. Is this liberal thinking or conservative? I don't know and I don't think it makes a difference. I do know that in the year 2040 it appears likely that people will not be able to move around our great country in the manner we do today unless we develop some long term sustainable energy plan that allows us to do so.

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