Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Be careful what you wish for 1: energy independence

Let us imagine, just for a moment, that unlikely scenario in which the United States and its Allies, in their energy needs, become completely independent of OPEC. All the grasping oil kings: the Chavezs, the Saudis, the clerics of Iran, and the other troublemakers, who previously were floating calmly about in their elegant, regal yachts on a sea of black gold have had to come to shore since that oil is now worth about… Oh, 18 cents a barrel. We still use it for grease and the occasional kerosene lantern on our green camping trips.

We are now completely powered by sunlight beamed down from gigantic collectors orbiting in space, or by nuclear fusion, or by vast forests of slowly spinning windmills, or by some other magical, green technology. Detroit has been reborn; now we all drive around helter-skelter in cheap, little, wheeled, electrical marvels manufactured by American Motors, an amalgamation reborn from the ashes of GM, Ford and Chrysler. Everyone in the country has a few shares; you're given 100 when you're born.

Is this great or what?

The Arabs, and all the other former malefactors, are poor as church mice and no longer jet around to those conferences at which they used to set the price for our oil. They're back to camels. Unfortunately they had become so dependent on our largess that they failed to learn how to do anything useful. But we send them checks now and then. We can afford it and we're all brothers under the skin, after all.

But ask yourself, what is it precisely that poor people, getting welfare, do best? You're right! Procreate. The demographics of youthful male society had been getting unbalanced with ours before, but now they're producing young guys exponentially, just as fast as we're producing power. And there seems nothing much for all these guys to do. But they sit around in their coffee shops and grumble about those rich Americans who have nothing better to do, "than make money and keep us poor."

"Omar, have you seen that latest playboy. Disgusting!" Omar, not sure whether to admit he had seen it, finally shook his head sadly, then agreed, and noted that The Faith is not spreading as it should.

Now ask yourself, What are Omar and crew doing now? Think about it. Here's a clue: They're not playing cards.