Jay, I wouldn’t call Friedman’s latest piece “good”, in the sense that it’s still incoherently written and full of just weird ideas. Such as his belief that the only way to slow population growth is abstinence, getting right into the Village and the Hill’s ongoing pact to pretend that no one invented reliable contraception. Or the fact that he says this:
My argument is simple: I think climate change is real. You don’t? That’s your business.
Later, he talks up how people who don’t think it’s real will rue it, and they’re wrong, but really, this is just a bad foot to start off on. It puts the existence of global warming into the “belief” category, when it’s much more in the realm of facts. We need to get away from using the term “belief” so that people can get undue respect for their bullshit, not run towards it. But this post is not about the pleasurable sport of picking on Thomas Friedman for being a bad writer. No, within his garbled prose, Friedman has a point. Sort of. He argues that exploding population will drive up oil prices, so we need energy independence. I would point out that even if we achieve non-growth, oil prices are going to go up, because oil reserves are going to go down. That’s the supply/demand thing you hear so much about.
Now, I can already hear a bunch of wingnuts mocking me as a “peak oil” nut. And what that tells you is that the lovers of oil dependency have grown beyond denying global warming, but have moved on to denying that oil is a non-renewable resource. Perhaps they believe that a team of angels and elves live underground and piss out pure oil, so of course we’ll never run out. But I’ve already gone rounds in comments and offline with conservatives that outright deny that there’s any concern about oil reserves lasting, so we’re already onto that stage of desperation. Remember, these are people that would deny the reality of gravity if doing so was politically expedient.
Plus, people plain forget where oil comes from in all the political hay made over this. I was listening to a morning DJ show while driving years ago, and they were talking about oil dependency and the war. And one of the DJs suggested that we go to Mars and look for oil there. I tensed up, because I could hear the sound of a million morons nodding along, but thankfully, the other DJ said, “Um, do you remember where oil comes from?” And then, after a beat, the first one said, “Oh yeah. Dead dinosaurs.”
Sure, it’s an oversimplification of the issue, but it’s important to remember exactly what it means when you call something a non-renewable resource. Unless you have a secret stash of dead dinosaurs coming to save us all.