The passing of William F. Buckley Jr. last week has put Planet Gore a bit behind in its reader mail. Expect more a bit later today — as well as detailed coverage of the Heartland Institute’s International Climate Change Conference.
But here’s one reader item: A reader writes in asking for Planet Gore’s “mission statement”:
What exactly is the purpose of Planet Gore? Because it seems to me that it exists solely to disparage anything that isn’t what you define as “free market” solutions. In other words, it doesn’t come across to me that you are FOR anything. You may be saying, well, we don’t need to be FOR anything because the “free market” will work that part out. But you seem to suffer from a delusion that the “free market” can subvert the second law of thermodynamics, i.e. that just because there is an economic incentive, a supply of something (in this case, energy) will come into existence. Well, I hate to break it to you, but all the demand or supply side incentive in the world isn’t going to magically create another Saudi Arabia, let alone ten of them. The reality is that we are faced with a real risk that energy supplies will not be anywhere near in line with demand in the near future. This is becoming increasingly recognized by even industry players (see, e.g., Chevron’s www.willyoujoinus.com). There simply is no way around the fact that we live in a finite world.
And yet, there you are, disparaging any attempt to get ahead of the problem before we hit a wall. You think the “free market” has all the answers. Well, given the still worsening blowup of the credit bubble, you’ll excuse me if I look upon the wisdom and foresight of the market with some skepticism.
So, I return to my question . . . what are you FOR? How will you reconcile your (and your magazine’s) devotion to the idea of infinite economic growth with the increasingly stark reality that we are resource constrained. Please, tell me if I’ve misunderstood your position.
We’ll put aside the argument whether being a peak-oil believer is being “for” something. And pass over, too, the contention that the free market — rather than political interference in the free market to solve purported problems about “fair” access to credit — is to blame for our current mortgage mess.
Planet Gore is for economic, energy, and environmental policies that are based on verifiable evidence and reasoned argument — and approach these matters with a healthy and well-deserved skepticism for the ability of politicians or U.N. bureaucrats to propose solutions which actually solve the problems (real or imagined) that they so frequently advertise.
Planet Gore is for the free market, certainly – but particularly for the genius of the American entrepreneurial spirit. An unfettered U.S. economy is the best hope for global environmental progress. Characterize it as faith if you choose, but our expectation is that the innovation that the U.S. economy can create – if unhindered by government regulation and political obstacles to nuclear-power generation and oil exploration — can solve those environmental or fuel-scarcity problems that its free exercise might engender.
Or, as the dear departed William F. Buckley put it in Up From Liberalism:
I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power, as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth. That is a program of sorts, is it not? It is certainly program enough to keep conservatives busy, and liberals at bay. And the nation free.