March 8, 2013
North Carolina, Opinions

Illusion is not an energy source

Written by Carl Mumpower | Asheville Citizen-Times | March 8, 2013 |

Oscar Wilde was a star of his era. Bold, talented and bright, before his untimely passing at 46 he laid hand to a singular novel, “The Picture of Dorian Grey,” and a game-changing satirical play, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” He also left behind an incidental quote remarkably adaptable to today’s environmental extremists and the leftist movement in general – “Illusion is the first of all pleasures.”

CES, an acronym for Clean Air Standards, is the latest in a series of liberal-progressive illusions that sound good, rally the faithful, and hoodwink conservatives. It’s right up there with selling abortion as a means to uplifting women, pretending bigger governments don’t make people smaller, swapping spiritual authority for earthly authority, legalizing substances that enslave users, and spending beyond our means as a path to prosperity.

North Carolina adopted a CES plan in 2005. That standard proposed the state would produce 12.5 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2015. Those included wind, thermal, sun and other theoretically perpetual sources of power. There are no arguments against their value – many against pretending they’re something they’re not.

A direct expansion of Wilde’s insights supplements illusion with delusion and collusion. It’s delusional to believe renewable energy resources are remotely capable of keeping us warm, working, mobile and nourished under current technology costs and constraints. Productivity activist Henry Ford foresaw our society’s gravitation toward the automobile as favored transport. Unlike environmental activists, he did not demand a premature taxpayer funded Interstate system as a condition for building his Model-T’s.

Collusion comes into play with direct distortions of the numbers associated with renewable energy and temporary suspension of disbelief as a means to embracing the green in-crowd. To match the output of one average nuclear plant would require planting West Virginia in corn or covering Rhode Island with wind turbines – and generating hunger and dead birds in the process.

In an ever-expanding world, prudence cheers an all-of-the-above energy strategy. For the foreseeable future, technology improvements in diesel, coal and nuclear power will dwarf alternative energy impacts.

Hydropower offers a relevant lesson. It was the original and dominant spring for electricity until newer technologies made more sense. Just over the horizon rests the technology to realistically tap the energy alternative that makes most sense for tomorrow’s world – the sun. Until then, we should remember that illusion, delusion and collusion are not viable energy sources.

Carl Mumpower is a practicing psychologist and a former U.S. congressional candidate and Asheville City Council member.

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