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" ... when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism ... "
-- The Declaration of Independence
Not all revolutions are political.
When Orville and Wilbur Wright took to the air at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903, that was "a shot heard round the world" as surely -- and as loudly and clearly -- as any of the shots the farmers fired on April 19, 1775, at Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts.
In either case, the world would never be the same again.
The same is true of October 1, 1908, when the first Model T Ford rolled out of the factory. Henry Ford didn't actually invent the automobile, nor did he invent the assembly line, but he put them together in a way that set Americans on wheels, altering their lives forever.
Ford probably wasn't the sweetest guy who ever lived, but he gave the world -- especially the United States -- a degree of mobility and independence human beings had never before enjoyed. They have enjoyed it ever since, to the infuriation of all those shriveled souls who hate and fear independence. Despite the best (or worst) efforts of socialists who want to see them all crammed into mass transport, or environmentalists who want them on bicycles, they will continue to enjoy it.
The last time we filled up our Durango, gasoline cost over three dollars a gallon. This morning on TV, the hairsprayheads were saying it will rise to four dollars by the middle of the coming summer. The only good side to any of this is that, with the current rate of inflation -- government printing funny money to pay for things it should never have gotten involved with -- it's more like two dollars, pre-9/11.
About a dollar more than it should be.
There are numerous ironies and contradictions connected with this latest variation on highway robbery, but let's start with the first and simplest: petroleum is the second most abundant liquid on this planet.
What's more, we're not only far from running out of petroleum, there's enough of the gooey black stuff to last us -- in luxury -- until we move on to some other, better technology. (Somebody once observed that the Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones.) And there's more being made, all the time, deep inside the Earth's crust.
That's because -- despite what most folks believe -- petroleum is not a product of biological processes, the decay of prehistoric plant and animal life, but is continuously formed, under subterranean heat and pressure, from methane and other chemicals. A few scientists in the West have known this -- or suspected it -- since the 1940s. The theory is better known in the East where, following the non-biological (or abiotic) theory of petroleum formation, Russia has gone from being one of the world's largest importers of oil to one of the top three exporters.
The proof of the abiotic concept (originally put forward by astronomers Fred Hoyle and Thomas Gold) is that 70 percent of the asteroids (those known as carbonaceous chondrites), orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter in the Asteroid Belt, are infused with the petroleum-like substance "kerogen" (the same stuff that turns ordinary shale into oil shale) which could not have been formed by biological processes: there were never any dinosaurs or prehistoric plants out there.
The most amazing fact is that many of the world's older oil fields believed to have been pumped dry long ago, seem to be filling up again from lower, more ancient geological strata. To learn more, read Gold's The Deep, Hot Biosphere available at www.Amazon.com or check out the essays of George Crispin on the subject at www.LewRockwell.com.
Another helpful writer on this topic is George Giles:
Of course water is the most abundant liquid on Earth, but that didn't stop the absolute rulers of various ancient civilizations -- for example, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Mesopotamia, Mexico, Peru, and some say China -- from cornering the water supply and using it to control the lives of individuals: do exactly what we tell you or watch your crops, your livestock, or your children die, or eventually die of thirst, yourself.
Such a society is called a "hydraulic despotism", although it's clear now that the vital substance doesn't have to be water. Control the money and credit supply, for instance, and you'll have tame scientists jumping all over themselves to confirm whatever crackpot theory -- global warming, ozone depletion, acid rain -- you want them to.
Think back to when environmentalists whimpered about pollution and their desire for "clean air" above all other things. What they were really intent upon was bringing industry to a halt and abolishing the private automobile. When science and technology responded by reducing factory emissions drastically, and scrubbing car exhaust until it consisted of little but water vapor and carbon dioxide, that's when we started hearing about "greenhouse gases" and "global warming". The truth is, no amount of reform was going to satisfy feudalists whose objective was to drag us back to the Dark Ages and the rule of armored bullies.
Mostly what those in power really want is scary scenarios that they can frighten taxpayers and voters with. The Red Scare came and went, the Huns were defeated in two World Wars, the Cold War grew old and threadbare, the War on Drugs is a transparent farce, and Global Warming is starting to fizzle. If you take nothing else from this essay, always remember that the last thing politicians and bureaucrats are interested in is solutions -- whether it's the way that guns in private hands dramatically reduce violent crime, or the fact that there's more oil deep in the Earth's crust than we'll ever be able to use.
There are also a great many other readily-available sources of energy, as well -- presently suppressed by government and corporations alike -- from solar, tide, and wind power, to alternative fuels (like alcohol, hydrogen, and recycled cooking oils), fuel cells, good old- fashioned nuclear fission, catalytic or "cold" fusion, and thermal depolymerization.
To politicians, solved problems represent a dire threat -- of unemployment and poverty. That's why no problem ever tackled by the government has ever been solved. What they want is lots of problems they can promise to solve, so that we'll keep electing them -- or letting them keep their jobs in a bureaucracy metastasizing like cancer.
Now, power-hungry politicians, bureaucrats, and corporate moguls who dream of ruling over us like the pharaohs, emperors, and kings of old, are striving to establish a hydraulic despotism of their very own, based on a commodity no less vital to modern civilization -- and to a free society -- than water: gasoline. Gun people -- hunters, sport shooters, self-defenders, and those whose principal motivation for owning weapons is simply to preserve that free society -- have a huge stake in this secret war being waged against us. If we let the badguys win, it will be said of whatever our would-be rulers want to suppress -- and it's a safe bet that guns and shooting, along with the private automobile (and the privacy and independence it represents) are Number One and Number Two on their hit list -- that it "wastes energy".
They had been planning to use "global warming" the same way, as an excuse to shut off those activities they dislike or feel threatened by. According to the neopagan sect that forms the ideological core of the modern ecology movement, Gaia is a spirit or deity, the living embodiment of which is the planet Earth. Failure to live by the tenets of this belief system (such as driving an SUV) becomes heresy or blasphemy, justifying the actions of the most violent elements of the movement.
For more on this, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia, with special reference to the "Gaia Hypothesis" and the writings of James Lovelock.
Unfortunately for them, the doctrine of "global warming" was never as widely accepted as they claimed -- a majority of their academic and scientific "support" came from those who had been intimidated by the grant and tenure systems, with the help of the hairsprayheads in the round-heeled mass media who will buy into anything that increases the power of the government over the individual -- and now the Earth, dear, sweet, lovely Mother Gaia herself, has cruelly betrayed them, by starting to cool off again, as part of a long, natural, mostly-solar cycle.
It must be humiliating.
But I have digressed.
As the saying goes, we gun folks "have a dog in this hunt". We are no less dependent on "Texas tea" than anyone else. The recoil pad on your rifle or shotgun, the finish on your stock, the stock itself, if it's some kind of polymer, the frame of your high-tech semiautomatic pistol, those colorful inserts in your sights, your plastic shotshells and shot cups, your ear protectors and safety glasses, most of your outdoor clothing and shoes, your ride to the range and many components of the automobile you're riding in would simply disappear without petroleum.
And mostly, it's the enemies of freedom who control the stuff. That's the point, after all. There's no shortage of energy in the world. Those in power simply want you dependent on the sources of energy they control, so they can use that dependence to control you. It's like the American Revolution (or the War Between the States) all over again, where the main issue was a desire of the establishment to get ahold of and maintain a monopoly on their subjects' economic activities.
Nobody in authority is above suspicion. Nearly everyone remembers the warning of Lord Acton: "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." Hardly anyone knows he added, "Most great men are bad men."
Complaining that we're all dependent on gasoline and we should learn to live without it makes as much sense as saying the same thing about oxygen. Our civilization runs on gasoline, and it has freed us from hundreds of centuries of dependence on animal muscle and slave labor. There are numerous solutions that can get us around the corrupt obstructionism of politicians, bureaucrats, and corporate overlords, or set them against each other in a way that will benefit ordinary individuals.
I've written about some of them, myself:
For those determined to seek alternatives, or to "get off the grid", rather than trying to fix it, the following resources are available:
Solar Today magazine http://www.solartoday.org/
Home Power magazine http://www.homepower.com/home/
Earthtoys The Renewable Energy eMagazine http://earthtoys.com/
Cold Fusion Times http://world.std.com/~mica/cft.html
Free Energy News http://freeenergynews.com/Directory/ColdFusion/
Popular Science article on a tidal power station http://www.popsci.com/category/tags/tide-power
Whatever course you decide upon, they all require that you educate yourself and learn to fight back, one way or another. Unless you want to see your children, your grandchildren, and your great grandchildren reduced, in the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson, "under absolute despotism" to the most ancient form of utter and abject slavery in history.
That's what those ridiculous, obscene prices at the pump are actually all about, and unless I'm very wrong, they're only the beginning.
That is, if we allow it.
A fifty-year veteran of the libertarian movement, L. Neil Smith is the Author of 33 books including The Probability Broach, Ceres, Sweeter Than Wine, And Down With Power: libertarian Policy In A Time Of Crisis. He is also the Publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise, now in its 17th year online.
Visit the Neil Smith archive on JPFO.
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