Thursday, June 19, 2008

An American conservative set of principles for today's energy crisis

Set down today by Cliff May at National Review Online--an excerpt:

"...with gasoline suddenly priced at over $4 a gallon, the hottest controversy in America is over whom to blame and what should be done. It’s a confused and confusing debate but it can be boiled down to this: On one side are those who believe the answer is for us to slash our demand for energy. On the other side are those who believe the answer is to greatly increase our supply.
It’s the demand-siders who are accusing us of being “addicts,” telling us not just to conserve energy and use it more efficiently — such efforts are commendable — but to resign ourselves to diminished mobility, to decreased consumption, to reforming what they see as our profligate “lifestyle.” The supply-siders vehemently disagree. They say we should be aggressively figuring out how to squeeze more energy from a wider variety of sources — using advanced technology to protect the environment. Put me in the supply-side camp. It seems obvious to me that energy is indistinguishable from wealth, and that the democratization of wealth — more of it for more people — is good, not bad. Indeed, democratizing wealth — private homes, refrigerators, televisions, cell phones, and cars — has been among America’s greatest is the anti-energy politicians and activists who should feel guilty. Their policies will cause pain to the middle classes — and will crush the poor. Consider the African farmer who wants to fuel his tractor or transport some surplus crops to market so he can earn a little cash with which to buy what in the Third World passes for luxuries: a metal roof for his hut, a transistor radio, a wrist watch, or a bicycle. You really think he should be told that he’s better off not getting “addicted” to energy and to please keep his carbon footprint small? Logic and morality — even more than self-interest — should prompt us to pursue energy abundance and diversity, to use fast-advancing technology to derive power not just from petroleum products but also from the wind and sun, clean coal, and nuclear reactors. As soon as possible, our cars, trucks, and buses should break their addiction to gasoline; they should be able to run as well on ethanol, methanol, natural gas, electricity, and who knows what other fuels decades down the road."

Well-put. Here are principles for the current crisis that embrace ideas conservatives can embrace: freedom, prosperity, and opposition to the statists and controllers. Let's keep building on this, conservatives!