September 2023 Vol. 78 No.9

Editor's Log

Editor's log: Liberty in retreat

(UI) — Twenty years ago, or heck, even five years ago, who would have dreamed that you could be prosecuted, and definitely persecuted, for owning a gas stove? The same goes for using a gas-powered dishwasher, gas to heat your home, or even a gas water heater. It’s actually happening in predictable, anti-natural gas states like California and New York, with other such states considering similar actions. 

Sadly, not only are these radical moves only nominally effective at best, when one factors in the cost of replacing gas appliances with electric, consumer costs skyrocket to make the forced transition, joining the long list of government spending or required “investment” that drives inflation. In California, where all this nonsense is flourishing, the average homeowner will spend between $5,000 and $20,000 to make such a switch. 

Further, to generate the additional electricity necessary, more use of carbon fuel (primarily natural gas) is required to fuel the manufacturing plants producing electric appliances. In a normal world, that would seem like an extreme paradox, but in today’s crazy world of radical environmental influences upon our government, anything that at least symbolically battles the use of natural gas is worth the effort. 

Anti-carbon-based environmental recommendations and regulations just keep surfacing. Now there is talk of forcing people to purchase environmentally-friendly ceiling fans that cost roughly $80 to $100 more and contain coatings/materials that have been demonstrated to be unhealthy for residents. Is that really the direction we want to go? 

Still, the danger of the coated blades from environmentally-friendly ceiling fans is just a drop in the bucket compared to the potential problems from the blades of wind power machines. It has recently come to light that the special coatings, combined with the fiberglass materials used in the manufacturing of massive windmill blades, release toxins into the air. Just how dangerous and to what degree this will start impacting people’s health is still to be determined. 

By now, most of us have experienced, in some form or another, the mad rush to electric cars. “Buy an electric vehicle and save the world,” scream progressives from the treetops. President Biden’s administration has played an extremely active role in supporting this cause. 

The latest celebration coming from the electric car zealots centers around Toyota, Volkswagen and Porsche's announcements of their “breakthrough” in solid-state battery technology. In theory, this will dramatically boost mileage and potentially last longer while weighing less. Over the next three years, those companies plan to introduce limited models on the market. Of course, we rarely hear about the issues with such developments. 

Solid-state batteries will require vast increases in the precious metals such as lithium and nickel, which are already in finite supply. The world’s governments and electric vehicle manufacturers have been amazingly quiet about child and slave labor used to mine these materials from third-world countries. The cost of solid-state batteries right now will probably be more than the car itself, further emphasizing the “car-of-the-rich-and-famous” ethos. The fact remains that as long as there is a dearth of truly fast-charging stations, EVs will be regulated as the second car, good for primarily commuting only. 

And if a battery should fail, don’t even think about recycling – it’s just not possible yet, so who knows where we’ll start stashing old batteries, poisoning our soils and anybody around them. Further, a recent Harvard study points out that while EVs are cleaner to drive, they are much dirtier to build. It takes up to 68,000 miles before an EV surpasses conventional automobiles in carbon savings just for manufacturing. But hey, you may be able to double or triple your mileage, so I guess it’s worth the hoopla. 

The modern environmental movement is so concerned with forcing its ideology upon the world that exploring and legislating such nonsensical paths are forcing us to toss aside common sense. As the old saying goes, “don’t let facts get in the way of your truth.” 

As a culture, we are drawing ever closer to a pivotal point in time, where errant conclusions and directions will take us down a path with severe repercussions for decades – repercussions that could be devastating to both our economy and the health and safety of our citizens. 

It occurs to me that in our rush to renew/replenish the world so we can obtain cultural and political sensitivity, we create solutions before there are answers to the inherent problems of things like EVs, forced transitions to electric appliances, and total abandonment of oil and gas products. 

EVs could, and probably will, be a great thing in the future. But all in due time. Let’s try solving serious, sometimes devastating, or even deadly problems before we cheer our accomplishments. Let’s not create more serious environmental issues than we already have. Our planet and our lives cannot survive on the “rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul” principle.

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