Energy Crisis Raises Questions: Do Conservatives Believe In America?
When Everyone Wants to Be Prudent, Which Policy Is?
Should We "Drain America First"?One of the many slanders exchanged by liberals and conservatives is that conservatives believe in America and liberals don't.
Well, liberals believe that our technological ability is so great that we could soon have alternative energy technology available. If so, why waste money and generate environmental damage on an outdated technology like fossil fuels?
Conservatives have so little faith in American know-how that they don't think we can develop alternative technologies in the near term.
OK, we don't really mean this. This is the overstated way of taking a sliver of truth and using it to slice up the other side.
In fact, on various issues, each side gets accused unfairly. Often, the opposing side will parry the attack by saying that they are just being...prudent.
This enables conservatives to use the same rationale to advocate drilling that liberals use on global warming: the future is unknowable. Conservatives believe the downside is greater if we put all of our eggs in the new technology basket just as liberals believe the downside is greater if we ignore oil and coal's devastating potential for global warming.
However, there is another argument that falls under "prudence" that should enter the oil vs. new technology debate: Should we drain America first?
Is this an argument against ever drilling anywhere again? No. But remember, each barrel of American oil that we use today is one that we won't have available tomorrow. Few believe that the U.S. has close to the deepest untapped reserves. Some research concludes that the U.S. has as little as 3% of world oil reserves. So, if we do tap them and no new technology comes along, then one day, maybe in twenty years, maybe in thirty or forty, but one day, we are going to find ourselves in much deeper trouble than we are today.
So, let's put as much effort as we can into developing alternative energy sources. And let's take careful steps to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But if our well-being depends upon using up American oil reserves, just keep in mind that as our oil runs out, we will be dependent once again. Just more dependent than ever.