We have all heard, since the early 1970’s, that familiar liberal attempt to make us all feel guilty for driving our cars, heating our homes, turning on lights to read, watching television, or participating in any activity which uses energy or energy byproducts in our daily lives. The U.S. only produces x percentage of the world’s oil, but manages to consume y percentage. We are led to believe, either through the usage of crying caricatures of Native Americans, inaccurate disproportionate maps, or unnwatchable Hollywood bilge such as, “Avatar,” or, “Dune,” that somehow this resource is a zero sum endeavor, and that we hear in the United States are in fact stealing the precious life blood of some distant unknown land. Many of my smarter compatriots on the right have taken up the sport of pointing out the total baloney in the arguments being put forward, and I admit that it has been great fun to read this commentary. I wish to take a different approach.
So what? Let’s assume for just one moment that everything Barack Obama has said on the subject of oil production and oil prices are true. I realize that this acceptance of fantasy is harder for people with any sings of intelligence, but just pretend you’re reading a Tolkien or Lewis novel or something like that. Fairies and Orcs are real, so why wouldn’t it be possible for President Obama to be telling the truth? So what? Even if we produced not one single drop of oil domestically, why does that lend any credence to the argument that we should somehow be prohibited from its usage? The purchase of oil is not a wealth transfer, it is a wealth exchange. For those who do not fully understand the distinction, let me explain it to you.
We buy oil in this country and we use it, rather than let it sit on a shelf somewhere. Farmers use it in their machinery to make food grow on their farms, which is then used to not only feed us here in America, but pretty much the rest of the world as well. Glad uses oil to make sandwich bags so that people all across America can pack lunches if they so choose rather than blowing their entire disposable income on restaurants during their work week. They also make garbage bags so that environmentalists will be happy when we no longer take our refuse and throw it where ever we see fit. Doctors, operating on patients will use energy for lighting so that they can see where to cut, plastics exist all over that operating room, and the sterilization process uses extreme heat, and then air conditioning to keep the operating room at a constant non bacteria breeding ground temperature. As this could go on for days, I believe every one should get the point by now, so what?
Now let’s take a look at the argument that it will take x number of years for new production and sources to come on line anyhow. So what? Nobody in the known universe is suggesting or even attempting to suggest that our need for affordable energy is a short term proposition. We have all heard the arguments that our manufacturing base has been fleeing the country. Let me let you in on a well kept secret. The manufacturing of the entire globe will follow where the cheap affordable energy, and to a lesser extent, the cheap affordable labor are. As long as we have oil here in America, and we are willing to allow the free markets to provide that oil to those who want it, we will continue to have a manufacturing base. Our base started to flee, not coincidentally, the very same day that our elected leaders thought it would be a good idea to meddle in those markets. 5,10,15,20,and 30 years from now, we will look back on today and say, “gee, I wish we had had the foresight to drill for more oil x number of years ago.” So even if Barack Obama’s asinine predictions, based on nothing real by the way, about how long it would take to get oil from a new source to market, so what?
While we’re at it, let’s talk about the concept of, we already are drilling, and are drilling more than we ever have. So what? Our population is growing by about 150,000 people per month. It stands to reason that more of us will use more resources to create more stuff. Assuming that this is true, (remember that we are still operating in the Obama bizarro universe here,) this is still a poor reason not to allow anyone who finds it economically advantageous to drill, to drill. The beauty of the free market system is that when production is actually too high, the price signals of economic loss will tell those drilling when to stop. People who lose money on an endeavor, will soon stop. People who make money on an endeavor will continue, and find ways to do more of it. The profits that big oil, or little oil for that matter, are able to turn, represent nothing more than the measure by which they were able to benefit their fellow man. When you buy a gallon of gasoline at what ever price per gallon that you pay, it is because at that moment in time, you would rather have the gasoline than the money. Conversely, when gas prices climb too high, people make the conscience decision to drive less. the fact that oil companies are able to produce such large profits, is a good thing. This means that society as a whole, has determined that their product is very important and useful to the rest of us. So, for those who inexplicably feel as though the President’s assessment as to our current oil production is accurate, so what?
Alternative forms of energy, known as, “green energy,” are the future of the world and America is another of his favorite talking points. Never mind that belief in this necessitates a complete misunderstanding of economics and reality, let’s assume, since we have already agreed to do so, that it is all true. So what? when I decide to travel the 3 hours to Pittsburgh to watch my favorite Hockey Team play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year, I will purchase sufficient energy to put me in a 3000 pound piece of American machinery and travel the 180 miles at an average speed of 65 miles per hour. I will then, after watching what hopefully will be a great game, travel the same distance home again. My cares for this energy are that it will be a) reliable, b) convenient, and c) affordable. I want to actually have a reasonable assurance that I will make it there and back, that I will be able to utilize the energy when it is convenient for me to do so without hours of preparation ahead of time, and that it will cost me personally a price that I feel is worth it to pay for such an endeavor. Do I ultimately care what the source of that energy is? Most Americans do not, and for those who do, they are free to put that into their equations. Alternative sources, without the government’s meddling into the market place, would cost much more. Since this is a free country, those people who care are free to pay that price. When those alternative sources become more efficient to utilize than current sources, I will be the first to use them. Even before the Obama Administration began its war on energy, BP was the leading researcher into wind and solar power. They are in the business of providing us with our energy needs, and from their perspective, they are selling us the ability to travel 180 miles in 3 hours for about $20. Ultimately, their decision as to what the end product will be depends upon their ability to bring it to market in sufficient quantities as to satisfy those three conditions that I mentioned earlier. Even if we witnessed today, the full splendor of the green fairy, and we were fully capable of satisfying our energy needs through the wind and the sun, the free market system would still be best suited to tell us when oil production was not longer needed, and when it would be a good time to stop producing it. So, even if the President’s assumptions about how soon we would be able to replace fossil fuels as our primary source of energy, so what?
Now, since I am a jazz fan, and since the Miles Davis tune bears the same name as my posting, please enjoy Miles Davis and John Coltrane performing, “So What.”