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It Takes a Lot of Energy, But Somebody’s Got to Do It

“The use of plant oil as fuel may seem insignificant today. But such products can in time become just as important as kerosene and these coal-tar-products of today.” -Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine, which originally ran on peanut oil.

It is easy today to join ranks with the critics who are passionately condemning the use of fossil fuels. After all, everyone wants to be on what they consider, “the right side of history.” But it takes courage to be an optimist and look for reasonable, cost effective alternatives.

And today that is also not going to make you popular with a lot of people if you are out campaigning. Remember what Barack Obama proclaimed: “A nation that can’t control its energy sources can’t control its future.”

shutterstock_119741458We are constantly being warned today that our energy-consuming global civilization is careening the entire human race to the very brink of destruction. We are in a universally bureaucratic panic mode trying desperately to save each other from ourselves. Almost every government on the globe today has entered the energy business.

And, somehow it seems as though we are worse off than before. Yes, “It is the innocent who suffer most from government’s intrusions.”  (Harry Browne)

Civilizations somehow evolved and developed their essential technology without government intervention. In 700,000 B.C., “Homo Erectus” (standing man) conveniently discovered fire. By 5000 B.C. man had developed farming tools, clay pottery, wheels, and sophisticated weapons.

In 3500 B.C. we experienced the Bronze Age and then the Iron Age in 1500 B.C. The Greeks by 1000 B.C. refined the teaching of mathematics, engineering and science. All this was done without one government grant, loan or congressional mandate. This was a product of human integrity to meet a necessity.

“Government does not solve problems. It subsidizes them.” -Ronald Reagan

The Renaissance brought us immeasurable achievements that had a profound influence on the advancement of civilization. Science, philosophy, mathematics, political theory, the arts, and numerous mechanical and technical innovations where refined, advanced and invented. “ Not much was really invented during the Renaissance, if you don’t count modern civilization:” (P.J. O’Rourke) And just think, the federal government never wrote one single check for all of this great work!

It was during the 17th century that Abraham Darby invented the use of coke to smelt iron, making it more economical and efficient. Thomas Newcomen invented the first steam engine. James Watt revolutionized the use of steam as a viable power source for industry. In 1792 William Murdock became the first person to light his home with coal gas, and Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin.

And all of this was done on the free market with private capitol. “A free economy gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want.” (Milton Friedman)

In the 1800’s Michael Faraday discovered electro magnetic current and Samuel Morse entrusted us with the telegraph and Morse code. Guiglielmo Marconi patented his first radio while Edwin Drake was off drilling the first oil wells in Pennsylvania.And who can ever forget Karl Friedrich Benz and his “horseless carriage” powered with an internal combustion engine.

And every time we pick up our cell phones to order a pizza we thank Alexander Graham Bell. And let us not forget Thomas Edison brought us the phonograph, and the incandescent light bulb—you know the ones Congress outlawed with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Help!

“We must change the energy marketplace so we can save our country and our planet.” -Nancy Pelosi

By now, civilization was transforming from hand production methods to machines. The Industrial Revolution had arrived! These new manufacturing processes were a direct result of the inventions from great entrepreneurial free market capitalists.

shutterstock_133998776The effective use of steam and the transition from wood and other bio-fuels to coal was considered the turning point in our economic history. And every human activity entails the conversion of energy. Therefore the continued availability of energy resources to promote the evolution and economic development of a nation depends on an uninterrupted supply of our God Given natural resources.

Yes indeed, “The Industrial Revolution was another of those extraordinary jumps forward in the story of civilization.” (Stephen Gardiner)

Since early B.C. we have seen continual progress in the development of technology that has changed the course of history and improved our lives. It was not planned or programmed by any government.

These were innovative inventions developed on the free market using private investment capital. But, after the Industrial Revolution we have seen a gradual decline in neoteric life changing discoveries.

Some say we have run out of things to conjure up since William Shockley invented the transistor and Robert Noyce patented the first computer chip. All that was left was for Al Gore to invent the Internet, Bill Gates Microsoft and Steve Jobs Apple. If artificial intelligence does indeed improve “natural stupidity” we should be on the “zenith” of new discoveries daily.

So what has happened to discourage our gene pool of inventors, pioneers and creators from their serendipities?  If you recall, President Reagan once said: “As Government Expands, Liberty Contracts.” And if you count the new government agencies that have been developed since the Industrial Revolution you can clearly see the correlation between a decline in innovative production as their creatively and ingenuity has been restricted by government intervention and increased regulation.

Many of the agencies that were developed with good intention to assist us in the oversight of sanitation, health, education, and energy have entered into forbidden territory. And that mistake has cost us dearly.

“That government is best which governs least.”                -Thomas Paine

A few years ago President Obama proclaimed: “Fifty-one years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that ‘the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress.'” Yet this administration has not partnered with everyone. We are now subsidizing green ventured experimentalists and punishing our current energy producers in the name of energy independence.

shutterstock_116135356The latest restrictions on our coal-run power plants by the EPA are solely for the purpose of “beating them into submission.” And the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), which is a partnership of the industries that produce electricity from coal whose ultimate goal is to produce clean, safe, environmentally friendly affordable electricity, is treated like a stepchild.

Yes, “Wind is renewable. Turbines are not.” (Ozzie Zehner)  And “When the fuel is dried up in a vehicle, it stops driving automatically.” (Michael Johnson) We need to level the playing field to survive.

Changes in the fundamental sources of energy, and how we use them, have always been a dimension of the evolution of society. But when we start picking losers and winners we discourage energy research and entrepreneurship by free market capitalists. And we are proven past world leaders in technological development.  “

The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind.” (Thomas Paine)  And “Energy is the universal language of Nature; Nature is the universal source of information.” (Joey Lawsin) We don’t regulate the sun and it can kill you!

Our future energy needs are only going to be met with a harmonic union of all available resourses. And it must be done in the free market. “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” (Alexis de Tocqueville)

We have an opportunity, not a crisis.

William Haupt III

William Haupt III is a retired professional journalist, citizen legislator in California for 40 plus years, and author. He got his start working to approve prop 13.

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Categories: Energy, Environment, Opinion, Policy, Regulation
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