It seems to me that part of the message is getting lost. The Republican part is getting effectively portrayed as believing that drilling and oil exploration is the only action to undertake. This is only possible because in the rush to embrace the correct position of dramatically increased domestic production capacity, we forgot to address a key point.
A very large majority of this country now sees that moving from oil based fuels to alternative energy sources (whatever they may be) is an important long term goal for the US. There is nothing wrong with this; it is desirable in the long term….on the order of decades. There is no magic bullet that will allow us to jump from the current system and infrastructure to some alternative energy Utopia in anything resembling a quick fashion. This is a point that must be made repeatedly. When the politicians talk about alternative energy, anyone listening to just the alternative energy part will believe that it’s a good idea. Alternative energy, where it’s smart and economical, is great for the country. It must be economical. That is the key to true change. During this portrayal of Alternative energy, one thing is never discussed. What happens between now and that point in the future when we enter this supposed Utopia? What to due to bridge this gap is what the current policy fight is all about…and it comes down to Social Engineering vs Lifestyle Protection.
The Democrats are desperately trying to convince the average American that there’s really nothing we can do to affect the price of oil. The argument that is being used is a disingenuous portrayal of the market conditions. The base cause of the movement of the price of oil is the rapid increase in worldwide demand without a corresponding increase in supplies. Part of the price rise is speculation which….which has been seeing the potential for a shortage of oil. This type of market reaction protects the consumer by forcing changes in the industry that either boost supplies to avoid a shortage (as well as lowering demand through higher prices) or force a movement away from the commodity. Without this you risk going merrily on your way, or at least trudging along, until you hit a long term shortage and there’s massive problems. It strikes me as dangerous to demonize something that is ultimately a protecting factor for society in the larger picture, but that’s another story.
None of this explains why a lot of Democrats want to convince the country to do nothing to directly affect the supplies of oil. It all boils down their view of a more ideal society. I was speaking to a liberal Democrat that I know, before he went back to Iraq actually, and he made a telling statement. He actually believes that all the problems we’re facing/will face have already been solved, not encountered but solved, by Europeans. Envy of the European social order is a large part of this worldview, and finally the Democrats perceive a method of pushing American society the way of Europe. By limiting the supply of fuel, and there by pushing up the price, you force Americans out of the sprawling suburbs and rural towns.
If you can no longer afford your lifestyle, then you must of necessity change. Forcing people into cities, into mass transit systems for lack of options, into public schooling for lack of options, etc., are all part of the liberal agenda and are things that further entwine each American into the various levels of government. When forced into these situations, each aspect of our life will rely totally on the government. All services, transportation, and education would be beyond the control of average Americans. Freedom limited not through restriction of will but through restriction of available choices.
The flip side of this debate is ensuring the continuation of lifestyles that Americans choose if given the opportunity. We’re looking at a long term fundamental infrastructure change. The only way to truly ensure the way of life I want and enjoy is to ensure a long term stable supply of domestically produced oil. I like to be able to drive across the city, to go where I want when I want. If I wish to go down to the lake and fish I can…it’s a choice I can make. I would like to see that possibility remain with me in the future. In times past, when considering driving a couple hours away for an activity, the only concerns were time, supplies an food….now the only concern is paying for fuel. Lack of freedom for lack of options is not a future I look forward to.
So in conclusion to this rambling mess, while pushing the correct solution to problems….namely drilling for oil…we’re missing the opportunity to discuss the extent of the reasoning behind both sides of the argument. It’s not that oil is the past and alternatives are the future…and that oil is the only bridge possible between now and then. That basic fact must be embraced.
Please note that when I say alterative I mean everything from nuclear power, the fusion pipe dreams, so remember that…..and I definitely exclude ethanol for the idiocy that it is and always has been.