Michael Ramirez Cartoon

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."

Cross Posted at Musings of a Mad Conservative.

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Comment by John Wiseman on March 25, 2012 at 10:54am

For Lauryn and any other Liberal Trolls stalking the conservative sites for the purposes of converting the great unwashed masses, here are some actual facts about those supposed, "oil subsidies."


Comment by Brad Myers on March 25, 2012 at 6:56am

I read your article while listening to Miles Davis and John Coltrane, along with some coffee... smile...

Comment by Peter D Sowatskey on March 24, 2012 at 3:16pm

Was finishing a writing class this morning, talking with a fellow named, Tom about people thinking of oil in the same breath as prehistoric rotted forests.  We agreed that was silly.  Think about it a moment.  You'll consider it silly, too.  Then google 'oil as a replacable substance' and you'll find lots of research which tells the actual tale.

If you don't want to go the oil route Mother Earth News will explain how you can run your pickup trucks on wood.

Peter Sowatskey  amazon.com:greenergreen 

Comment by John Wiseman on March 23, 2012 at 8:58pm

Dave, wrong guy, I meant to say Laufenberg.  Not the former Senator, but the former Fed Reserve bank President.

Comment by Gerald V. Todd on March 23, 2012 at 7:24pm

My son walked in as I was listening to Miles. He said, "I didn't know you were a Miles Davis fan!" Of course! All 77 year old's are Miles Davis fans.. as is my musician/mathematician grandson.

Comment by Charles F Nichols on March 23, 2012 at 7:10pm

All this bantering and,does anyone now see that the useful idiot we once called politicians are no longer working for us? No they are working for themselves and greed in America is alive and well. They sold us out or rather sold their jobs to the highest bidder. So now all of our time is spent on really one basic thing. They are working against us. Since we are the employers and they  forgot they work for us. The time has come to not only fire them but send a signal to the future employees of what will happen to them if they stray from their sworn duties. The harsh and brutal removal should do the trick. Imprison all current employees and deliver punishment according to their deeds. Replace everyone and start anew.The system is broke because the people in it are broken. Today the president decided to involve himself in a small town event in order to highlight racial tensions. Should a president do the things this one has? We all know the answer is no. Time for them all to go.

Comment by Cam Vallee on March 23, 2012 at 6:34pm

Great blog John!  Stunning!  

Comment by Pat Chadwell on March 23, 2012 at 6:19pm

The bad part is the government knows how much oil there is because I worked for 2 catterpiller dealers and sold the wild catters parts for the drill rigs and my friend I met in the 70` in New mexico told me where they found oil and run into him again in the 80`s as they were drilling around Nevada and finding oil or gas everyplace they drilled... The enviromentlist know this and so do the oil companys and our government but Arab money counts more than the American people and jobs in America........

Comment by John Wiseman on March 23, 2012 at 5:45pm

David, part of this discussion has to do with basic high school level science as well.  I once got into a shouting match with Frank Lautenberg, the in house economist for Ameriprise about this very topic.  He looked at me, and recited his Dr. Seuss economics lesson about oil basically being the same as the Lorax trees, in that there were only so many of them, and that no one in that idiotic Seuss town new enough to plant more trees.  I had to give him a lesson in organic chemistry, in that oil is in fact an organic compound.  Everything that is living, quite literally produces oil, and a lot of it.  take a match some time and hold it under a potato chip.  The oil that lies under our soil is not a finite substance, it is being replenished even faster than our capacity to use it.  Of course, dolts like Lauryn have little need for things like facts when they argue their positions.  

Comment by John Wiseman on March 23, 2012 at 4:45pm

 Lauryn Halli, I do believe that the time has come for you to take an actual economics course taught by a credible instructor other than Dr. Suess.  Perhaps you've missed the point, or several of them in the article, but I really do not care if the oil comes from here, Canada, Mexico or where ever.  Economic viability has a way of being self determining, and the efforts to change or control those forces by central planners only result in needless prices to be paid the consumer.  Your definition of conservatism can only be described as moronic.  There is nothing to say about your estimates for how much oil that is available here in the U.S. except that it is jaw droppingly wrong, as are your estimates for how low prices would drop.  Touching on that last point for just a brief moment, I've heard that before, as in 2006, and all George W. Bush did was to end the Executive Branch part of the drilling moratorium on Federal Lands, while Congress refused to address theirs, and the prices dropped by half.  If you possessed that thing we sentient beings referred to as an Adult Memory, you would have considered this before typing your idiotic blather on your Corona.  Those oil company subsidies that your side keeps referring to simply do not exist.  As a matter of fact, Oil Companies are the second most heavily taxed group of businesses in our nation.  Tobacco being number one.  Please find one subsidy, present it here to the group, and I will be happy to explain why it is nonsense to call it a subsidy.  By the way, that calculation of most heavily taxed is based not only on dollars paid, but on percentages of revenue as well.  Your reusable sandwich container was also made with oil, but why pick the pepper out of fly s***?  The entire paragraph was written only to show how useful oil is, and how we use it for literally thousands of other things that are not gasoline.  So, instead of calling me stupid, try thinking for just one moment without interjecting a five year old's emotional response into the process.  Please show me one credible study, performed by a credible researcher that links child asthma attacks to coal burning electric power plants, or any credible study which points to the dangers of nuclear based power.

If my delivery does not suit you, too bad.  If the shoe fits, well you should get the point.  I would wish however, that if you wished to argue economics, you would at least bother to gain some sort of basic understanding of the topic.

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