Good to know the use of the official far-Right playbook of cherry-picking, key word usage, misdirection, and core ideological utterances are still the primary go-to tactics for denying the inevitability of facts and reality! That little of it is helpful for any issue whose shelf-life extends beyond a few days from now is an altogether different matter, if the future matters, that is.

A key problem for peakist claims — as with dire warnings of the population bomb, nuclear winter and global warming — is that they are based on simplistic extrapolation of temporary trends via formal computer models and input assumptions unsuited to support such predictions, much less the policy prescriptions advocated to fix them. More than that … those analyses assume away the most important countervailing facts: human creativity resulting in continuing technological progress, productivity gains and business innovation; and the normal adjustments made by people in economically free societies to the incentives and constraints they face.

That was part of a remarkable display of right-wing ideology shoehorned into energy supply reality in an op-ed which made its way into the blogosphere several weeks ago.

Not only have the alternative and substitution trends continued, but spectacularly in the half-dozen years after that event [a 2006 conference], slant drilling and fracking and other ways of exploiting tight oil and gas formations exploded. They not only made previously recognized low-grade resources economically recoverable, but also led to huge increases in recognized reserves and resources. Contra the energy-crisis foolishness of yesterday, America is now within seeing distance of becoming a net exporter of at least natural gas!
America leads this revolution because we protect private property rights and assure most economic incentives that are key to the oil/gas revolution and development of other alternatives….
The ultimate lesson in all this is that the limits-to-growthers, enviros and other PC liberal statists are fundamentally wrong at the deepest philosophical, intellectual and analytic levels. Their dogma fails to square with the facts of history, especially the fact that people enjoying liberty and economic freedom buttressed by the rule of law and private property rights do remarkable things that government planning, command and control can’t match.
Resources are finite, but only in a trivial sense. The actual limits of energy and material resources are way beyond the levels needed when they are employed with the full creativity and infinite variation in getting utility from them that people can devise. If any resource is meaningfully limited, it is human creativity, and that only because our statist collectivist strictures suppress it.

WOW! I wasn’t sure if I should salute, genuflect, or simply bow in the general direction of the God of free-markets and no regulations ever. Some gold stars must have been [passed out after that impressive collection of Official Playbook key words found their way into only a few sentences. A contest winner for sure! [The author gets bonus points for his admission that at one time in his life, he was “a statist San Francisco PC lib whose deepest convictions were as an enviro and alternative energy booster — until, ironically, going to graduate school at Stanford (about as PC as any place) in 1987 helped open my eyes and make me a limited-government conservative.”]

How unfortunate. Reality won’t be nearly as impressed with his conversion, nor will those who join him in his acknowledge-only-the-convenient-partial-truths strategies.

How are fossil fuels finite “but only in a trivial sense”? The answer sounds great! It doesn’t appear to mean anything at all here in Reality-Land, but it is an impressive display of Baffle Them With Bullshit: “The actual limits of energy and material resources are way beyond the levels needed when they are employed with the full creativity and infinite variation in getting utility from them that people can devise.Huh?

But for the fact that the trivially-finite nature of finite resources are not at all trivial, this would be a great rebuttal. [Conventional crude oil production peaked about a decade ago; expanding the definitions of oil production to boost the numbers is just an expansion of definitions and not necessarily an energy gain; while fracking shale formations has clearly boosted production, one can’t completely ignore the realities of hydraulic fracturing—high decline rates, much more expensive, fewer “sweet spots,” environmental and community harms not yet fully understood or addressed, less energy efficiencies gained, investment slowdowns, etc., etc.] Damn those facts!

But … hey! “America is now within seeing distance of becoming a net exporter of at least natural gas!WOW again! How exciting for … natural gas exporters (assuming the complex issues much must first be addressed are in fact addressed in the next few years). “Seeing distance of at least” is now the new right-wing standard for solving our energy supply concerns. Aren’t we lucky that it is all so … nuts!

Just in case that’s not enough to convince anyone, we have the obligatory “huge increases in recognized reserves and resources” statement. No explanations or definitions, no mention of what might actually be involved in getting those huge increases from there to here, but those are just facts. Skip over them and focus on “huge increases.” Problem-solving 101: Make a statement, ignore realities, and move on to the next talking points, such as those which this Nevada “higher education regent” [Yikes!] was so kind to offer:

Draconian prescriptions….[I]ncreased taxes, public spending, regulation and control of people’s lives, especially by big governments and international means — meaning reduced liberty and economic freedom. As usual with such folks, the diagnosis is asserted quickly as certain, and the real point is the absolute necessity, stringency and urgency of the remedy.

That’s sure to get the masses all riled up about … what? How does this nonsense help anyone address reality? What is to be gained? Here’s a big hint: not much for us.

But there is hope!

Life need not be the grim retreat to primitivism in a state of nature that their false religion worships. It can be an exciting, endless adventure of creativity, productivity, growth, possibility and human flourishing if we embrace liberty, opportunity and economic freedom.

Wow … just wow!

~ My Photo: Atlantis, Paradise Island, The Bahamas – February 2008


* I invite you to enjoy my two new books [here and here], and to view my other work at richardturcotte.com :

       * Looking Left and Right

A blog examining the liberal vs. conservative conflicts in our society


       * Life Will Answer

Thought-provoking inquiries & observations about how (and why) Life does … and does not, work for everyone. [Inspired by my book of the same name]


       * The Middle Age Follies

A column offering a slightly skewed look at life for those of us on the north side of 50.


Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas,
Envisioning Better Tomorrows

Peak Oil Matters is dedicated to informing others about the significance and impact of Peak Oil—while adding observations about politics, ideology, transportation, and smart growth.