From a Randian:
Dear Mr. Goldberg,
As one of the most articulate spokesman for conservatives, it is most depressing to see you abandon the notions of capitalism and free markets, and instead advocate more government regulation and controls. Ayn Rand was right when she said 50 years ago that conservatives would destroy capitalism, not defend it. Indeed, it has come to pass that conservatives now buy into the statist notions of a controlled, planned economy, and a government of virtually unlimited size and power. Conservatives are not the advocates of freedom they claim to be.
Me: I’ll come back to oil another time. But I would say now that people who talk about the purity of capitalism in the context of oil should at least consider the hundreds of billions we spend to protect the flow of oil. If those externalities were added to the equation, oil would be a lot more expensive than we think.
Update From a reader:
Re: the response from a “Randian”… In addition to your
comments, one must note that there is NO free market when
it comes to oil. Production is controlled by a cartel
(OPEC) which is about as anti-capitalist as they come. So,
while you were perhaps giving credence to some “less than
free market” concepts, the “market” for oil is virtually
non-existent. I’m as libertarian as the next guy when it
comes to the markets, but for your reader to say
“conservatives” are to blame for the problem is
ridiculous… he/she should be setting his/her sights on
the real problem – OPEC.