Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Blood for Oil

I started reading Bill Buckley at a tender age at the cusp of the Reagan Revolution. (Watched Firing Line too, with a dictionary on my lap). The old man has still got it.

[I don't completely agree with him but he does have a beautiful riposte for the No-Blood-for-Oil drivel.]
What needs to be said about oil is that it IS worth fighting for. We would all agree that air and water are necessities. Without them life instantly ends. Without oil, life does not end, but life radically changes.
If one contemplates oil as simply an agent of energy, the idea becomes instantly clearer. Every advance by mankind against the material duress of life is most easily expressed in terms of energy spared...[m]uch of it is created by oil and gas. What is it that a people are willing to fight for? The security of home and hearth come first, and that is achieved mostly by weaponry; but weapons that seek to have their effects beyond the range of a cartridge of gunpowder do so, on battleships and airplanes, by the propellant force of oil.

If you are willing to die in order to protect your local hospital, then you must be willing to die for oil, because without electricity, your hospital won't take you beyond a surgeon's scalpel, and a surgeon is helpless without illumination, which is provided (in many places) by oil.

To say that we must not fight for oil is utter cant. To fight for oil is to fight in order to maintain such sovereignty as we exercise over the natural world. Socialism plus electricity, Lenin said at the outset of the Soviet revolution, would usher in the ideal state. He was wrong about socialism but not about electricity. Electricity gives us whatever leverage we have over nature.

To flit on airily about an unwillingness to fight for oil suggests an indifference to the alleviation of poverty at the next level after bread and water.
Oddly, those who speak so lightly about oil are often the most reluctant to explore seriously alternatives to it. In the history of discovery, only one such has materialized, which is nuclear power. Although nuclear power proceeds inconspicuously to light most of the lamps in France and promises to do as much in China, a mix of superstition and Luddism stands in the way of developing the nuclear alternative here.

Meanwhile, we must get on with oil, and the reserves of it are diminishing, and such great storehouses of oil as exist are mostly in the Middle East. The idea that our effort in Iraq is motivated by lust for its oil fields is easily dispelled by asking who is today profiting from such oil as is being produced in Iraq? The answer is: the Iraqis.

HT: Instapundit

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