Saturday, January 12, 2008

Oil vs. Food, or Why Socialism Isn't Gonna Save Us

Farmer Richard Randall doesn't believe in the notion of "peak oil," the argument that civilization will soon experience an acute -- and irreversible -- petroleum scarcity that will fundamentally alter our way of life. A 61-year-old wheat and sorghum grower from Scott City, Kan., Randall says he's seen high oil prices before, and that today's expensive petroleum is just part of a natural market cycle that will eventually adjust itself, leading to lowered fuel costs.
"I think there's plenty of oil there," Randall said recently. "I feel that if we allow the marketplace to work without interruption in the supply, we will find a level. It's not going to be as low as it was, but it will come down. We do need to produce oil where we can."
In response to alarms about the fragility of the food system, some farmers are taking initiatives to wean themselves from petroleum and find more sustainable ways of growing food. One of the most popular approaches is biofuels. For farmers, it's a solution to high oil prices that makes intuitive sense, as it raises the possibility of growers cultivating their own fuel, just as most farmers did a century ago when they harvested oats to feed their horse teams...

Some people, however, caution that biodiesel is unlikely to evolve into a permanent fix. Though biofuels may be useful in reducing petroleum dependence in the near future, it's doubtful that fuels made from plants could completely unhitch us from oil. Why? For the simple reason that making biofuels requires lots of land, and at some point -- were biofuels to become widely popular -- the nation would face a choice between growing food and growing fuel....

Read the article

The referenced article is very well thought out, and I highly recommend it. It addresses the problem in realistic terms, and discusses solutions from the standpoint of individualism, i.e. growing ones own food and fuel, and community meaning local; as opposed to the BS we are all continually bombarded with, where "community" is a euphemism for global.

Here's another take on Peak Oil. (link)
John Silveira, the author of that article, has addressed in another article (also recommended) the point I am trying to make here: that we need to look beyond the status quo view that we are constantly bombarded with, because the ultimate source of the most prevalent information we are all receiving has an ulterior motive: socialism. You can generally tell if a story about a problem people face is genuinely trying to address that problem, or if it is just more propaganda with the intent of using the problem as another excuse to steal more freedom: look at the bottom line. If the answer being advanced is more socialism, it is propaganda. Period.

Now, I'm not trying to prove with that argument that socialism is not the answer. To do that would be to use the same dishonest tactics the spin doctors use. Don't get me wrong; I am thoroughly convinced that socialism is NOT the answer. It's just that the forgoing is not proof, indeed does not even address the question of whether or not socialism is the answer; it merely brings to light what is the real underlying point of most of the stories we hear about peak oil, global warming, "gun violence" (how an inanimate object can be violent is beyond me), etc. on TV, radio, in newspapers and magazines.
I'm doing my best to counter that by propagating every story I can find that addresses the problems without leading to that conclusion, but rather shows ways an individual can deal with it in his own life.
As far as proving that socialism isn't the answer, I can't do that. Its adherents are too invested in their belief. It is their religion. If I can just help a few people avoid being led blindly into it because they don't see any alternative, I'll be happy.

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