Any Port in a Storm

Deranged ersatz theologean Michael Novak has a truly inspired argument about why the US shouldn't take the lead in tackling global warming even though we're the ones using the lion's share of the energy:

A reader wrote to Jonah the other day that Americans constitute 5 % of the world's population but use 25% of the world's energy. Another way to look at it is to ask, What is energy? It used to be the backs of humans and animals. Then it was water wheels and wind mills. Surely, America today does not use a large proportion of the world's horse power, oxen power, and other old-fashioned sources of energy. Today, when we say "energy," we usually mean gasoline for the combustion engine, nuclear power, electricity, the use of natural gas, modern sources like that. The United States pioneered in virtually every source of what in the modern world counts as energy. You might say we invented nearly 100 % of it, and have already shared about 75% of it with others. Not as good as we might yet do (as China and India become the world's largest users of modern energy), but pretty darn good, don't you think?

Seriously. People publish articles this guy writes. The 25 percent calculation is off-base because it doesn't count oxen?

It's interesting how money impacts political ideas. One doubts that any of these various rightwingers were actually humming along and then got bribed by energy companies to come up with the outlandish conservative arguments you here on this score. Rather, the money's just sort of out there ready to flow to individuals who make outlandish arguments and to publications and institutions that associate themselves with such people and such arguments. Under the circumstances, the human mind proves remarkably supple and creative. Next thing you know, the Bangladeshis are all in our debt for generously allowing them to burn gasoline so who cares if they wind up drowning when the glaciers melt.