With energy prices reaching all time highs there is a vigorous effort to find new power sources. We look to develop solar, wind, thermal, and biofuels to wean us from the energy we now use. Many dream of finding the perfect form of energy that would provide our needs with minimum impact on the environment. Energy, that over time increases in efficiency.
However this hunt is unnecessary; our quarry is hidden in plain sight. Our nation already uses the energy we seek. The energy is fossil fuels and nuclear power. They are used to make electricity and power the internal combustion engine. These fuels have enabled us to live with greater comfort and prosperity than any previous generation. I am thankful for these fuels and believe we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in their discovery and development.
This search for new energy reminds me of the dissatisfied teen, who leaves home to find greener pastures. It is only later with responsibility, maturity, and perhaps a little suffering, he learns to appreciate what was left behind. Unfortunately all of us will pay the price for this youthful blindness. It will come in the form of increased fuel prices, loss of freedom, and more controls on our everyday life.
The Basuto proverb from Robert Ruark's novel "Something of Value" should be remembered by those who want change for the sake of change, "If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them."
At this time we do not have something of value to replace the fuels we predominately use. If it makes some people feel better, they can flirt with the solar, wind, biofuel, thermal, and whatever else, but they shouldn't stop the rest of us from finding and using what we already know functions quite well. Our country is addicted to oil; likewise we are addicted to food and air. Our country, which Victor David Hanson says "remains the most free and affluent in the history of civilization," requires fossil fuels and nuclear power like our bodies require the food we eat and the air we breathe.