If I wanted America to fail

Oil DrillingBy Ryan Houck — If I wanted America to fail …

To follow, not lead; to suffer, not prosper; to despair, not dream — I’d start with energy.

I’d cut off America’s supply of cheap, abundant energy.  Of course, I couldn’t take it by force.  So, I’d make Americans feel guilty for using the energy that heats their homes, fuels their cars, runs their businesses, and powers their economy.

I’d make cheap energy expensive, so that expensive energy would seem cheap.

I would empower unelected bureaucrats to all-but-outlaw America’s most abundant sources of energy.  And after banning its use in America, I’d make it illegal for American companies to ship it overseas.

If I wanted America to fail …

I’d use our schools to teach one generation of Americans that our factories and our cars will cause a new Ice Age, and I’d muster a straight face so I could teach the next generation that they’re causing Global Warming.

And when it’s cold out, I’d call it Climate Change instead.

I’d imply that America’s cities and factories could run on wind power and wishes.  I’d teach children how to ignore the hypocrisy of condemning logging, mining and farming — while having roofs over their heads, heat in their homes and food on their tables.

I would never teach children that the free market is the only force in human history to uplift the poor, establish the middle class and create lasting prosperity. Instead, I’d demonize prosperity itself, so that they will not miss what they will never have.

If I wanted America to fail …

I would create countless new regulations and seldom cancel old ones. They would be so complicated that only bureaucrats, lawyers and lobbyists could understand them.  That way small businesses with big ideas wouldn’t stand a chance — and I would never have to worry about another Thomas Edison, Henry Ford or Steve Jobs.

I would ridicule as “Flat Earthers” those who urge us to lower energy costs by increasing supply.  And when the evangelists of commonsense try to remind people about the law of supply and demand, I’d enlist a sympathetic media to drown them out.

If I wanted America to fail …

I would empower unaccountable bureaucracies seated in a distant capitol to bully Americans out of their dreams and their property rights.  I’d send federal agents to raid guitar factories for using the wrong kind of wood; I’d force homeowners to tear down the homes they built on their own land.

I’d make it almost impossible for farmers to farm, miners to mine, loggers to log, and builders to build.  And because I don’t believe in free markets, I’d invent false ones.  I’d devise fictitious products — like carbon credits — and trade them in imaginary markets.  I’d convince people that this would create jobs and be good for the economy.

If I wanted America to fail …

For every concern, I’d invent a crisis; and for every crisis, I’d invent the cause.

Like shutting down entire industries and killing tens of thousands of jobs in the name of saving spotted owls.  When everyone learned the stunning irony that the owls were victims of their larger cousins — and not people — it would already be decades too late.

If I wanted America to fail …

I’d make it easier to stop commerce than start it — easier to kill jobs than create them — more fashionable to resent success than to seek it.  When industries seek to create jobs, I’d file lawsuits to stop them.  And then I’d make taxpayers pay for my lawyers.

If I wanted America to fail …

I would transform the environmental agenda from a document of conservation to an economic suicide pact.  I would concede entire industries to our economic rivals by imposing regulations that cost trillions.

I would celebrate those who preach environmental austerity in public while indulging a lavish lifestyle in private.  I’d convince Americans that Europe has it right, and America has it wrong.

If I wanted America to fail …

I would prey on the goodness and decency of ordinary Americans.  I would only need to convince them … that all of this is for the greater good.

If I wanted America to fail, I suppose I wouldn’t change a thing.

Ryan Houck is the executive director of FreeMarketAmerica.org, a project of Americans for Limited Government. His column was inspired by Paul Harvey’s “If I were the Devil” published in 1964 and 1996.

  • Howie2099

    Amazing clarity into what’s happening right now!

  • News

    Brilliant!!!

  • Greg137

    America must take the lead! To do that we need to get rid of the EPA, and establish our energy independence! May God Bless Capitalism and America!

  • Jwatersphd

    A tour de force of sarcasm. Yes, let pollution reign and we’ll all be happy and successful. Oh – maybe not “all” – just the fat cats. 

  • Pissykat9004

    Awesome

  • Steve

    You are part of the problem by posing an either/or situation. The rich live in the same environment and, if anything, have more to live for due to their position in life. To think they want to die is downright stupid. To believe that they do not breathe the same air is downright stupid. They have a good thing going and are less likely than an average individual to muck it up with fabricated eco-nonsense. 

  • topeka

     piled higher and deeper,

    when did you grow a brain?

    what force solved the pollution problem?

    Not an authoritarian govt.

    As govt overreach continues – more and more resources are wasted, more forests abused, more mountains destroyed…

    as in Vietnam – siding with genocidal maniacs is genocidal

    so too – siding with environmentalist whacko’s is eco-cidal.

    The entire former soviet block is one big brownfield. the Chinese would be in a similar boat, but they prefer profits.

    And any romp around a 3d world country would find one facing open sewers, arid wastelands, oil fields mismanaged, mines stripped (and ruined) – all run by govt’s – all subsidized by govt’s.

    To have the surplus necessary, and the rule of law necessary, to protect an environment – one needs a free people, a free market, and a limited govt.

  • frank k.

    Take another “hit-on-the-bong” , and let me me buy you your next gallon of “Kool-Aid.”  …. If  YOU  are America’s future , may  GOD  (Gaia ?) help us all …. frank k.  (N.Va.)

  • K1023

    And don’t forget that the Department of Labor is about to ban those under 18 from working on the family farm, working with animals, driving tractors, or even using a power tool such as a power screwdriver, so they will have no work skills and be totally dependent and only big agriculture companies will survive, so we must all buy our food from them only instead of the local farmer. Who do you think wants regulations? The big companies who want to remove smaller competition.

  • robbiekburger

    We all must wake up to the fact that wealth and money are two entirely different entities. All the people who make goods and services create the wealth of a nation. The government only creates money which has no intrinsic value. The sooner we begin to realize and practice a bartering system among ourselves the better off we will be in preserving our value.

  • robbiekburger

    Has anyone else noticed that the more the government tries to fix something, the worse is gets?

  • robbiekburger

    Well said, Steve. Godspeed.

  • AtlasObjectivist

    This is the profound video currently on the web.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Brown/100000966106182 Alan Brown

    This guy, 
    Ryan Houck, can really write! Kudos. Very well said with color, humor, most importantly Fact.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GP37RYDXXVUAI7XMCNRWM2G4W4 Fred

    I agree with everything except the statement that our regulations are so complex that only bureaucrats, lawyers and lobbyists could understand them. Our bureaucrats do not understand them. Our lawmakers made clear they don’t even read them. They just pass the laws and then make them into whatever they wish.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000078252154 Robert L. Huffstutter

    Am I to understand that thousands of new FEDEMPS will be traversing the rural landscape with clipboards seeking to further destroy the grass roots heritage of our oldest American families who still have farms?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000078252154 Robert L. Huffstutter

    Am I to understand that thousands of new FEDEMPS will be traversing the rural landscape with clipboards seeking to further destroy the grass roots heritage of our oldest American families who still have farms?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Geoffrey-Bramhall/100002519257285 Geoffrey Bramhall

    Nice Blog!  Do you think there is any way this could be made into
    a 1 minute ad for this November’s election.  It would certainly
    turn a few heads that have been hiding in the sand for too long.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hugh-T-Layne/1338845086 Hugh T Layne

    SURE  SOUNDS  LIKE  THE  PRESIDENT  I  DID  NOT  VOTE  FOR ,  WILL  NOT  VOTE  FOR  HIM  THIS  ELECTION  YEAR.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hugh-T-Layne/1338845086 Hugh T Layne

    THEY  ARE  FINISHED  I  HOPE  AND  WILL  BE  DISBANDED  THIS  YEAR  THANK  YOU  HUGH

  • Gramster49

    Read Trickle Down Tyranny. Only plan to crush Obama’s dream of the Socialist States of America.

  • Scott

    Ok here we go.

    “I’d make cheap energy expensive, so that expensive energy would seem cheap.”
    What is that referring to?  I realize the author has a problem with restricting the use of fossil fuels in the US and elsewhere, but to suggest that the government or others are disallowing the use of oil reserves to make “expensive energy seem cheap” doesn’t follow to me.  Is that a suggestion that the government is in favor of alternative fuels for selfish reasons?  That they are in the pocket of “big wind,” as it were?  Maybe I’m not understanding, but it seems like rhetoric for rhetoric’s sake.

    I’m sorry if you don’t believe in climate change, but I don’t think anyone who knows what they’re talking about is suggesting there will be a new Ice Age.  I too am opposed to scare tactics like this. The sort of fearmongering that you are promoting in this article is tantamount to these claims you are speaking against.

    The fact of the energy situation is that there are not enough fossil fuels to sustain even our country for a century, let alone developing nations with increased industrial activity.  When you ridicule those who are trying to promote the use of wind and solar power, you are only weakening a sincere effort to alleviate our current energy use situation.  It is not as simple as increasing supply to lower cost.  You would suggest increasing the supply available to the public for a momentary benefit, but the overall supply – the total fossil fuel reserves on Earth – is a real, finite limit, and one that we are not able to increase at this time given our current technology.  Granted, an immediate increase in available oil would result in a price decrease for the public, but I would argue that the eventual costs would not be worth the price.  When the reserves actually begin to run out and supply cannot be increased, the price of oil will really be high, and the consequences will be all the more severe the less prepared we are for this eventuality.

    I can’t really speak to your complaints about the environment and economic regulations – I’m not really informed on those issues.  But please, before you go painting every regulatory measure as a conspiracy to destroy America, consider the larger picture and how complex the situation is that our leaders are trying to deal with.

  • Scott

    Ok here we go.

    “I’d make cheap energy expensive, so that expensive energy would seem cheap.”
    What is that referring to?  I realize the author has a problem with restricting the use of fossil fuels in the US and elsewhere, but to suggest that the government or others are disallowing the use of oil reserves to make “expensive energy seem cheap” doesn’t follow to me.  Is that a suggestion that the government is in favor of alternative fuels for selfish reasons?  That they are in the pocket of “big wind,” as it were?  Maybe I’m not understanding, but it seems like rhetoric for rhetoric’s sake.

    I’m sorry if you don’t believe in climate change, but I don’t think anyone who knows what they’re talking about is suggesting there will be a new Ice Age.  I too am opposed to scare tactics like this. The sort of fearmongering that you are promoting in this article is tantamount to these claims you are speaking against.

    The fact of the energy situation is that there are not enough fossil fuels to sustain even our country for a century, let alone developing nations with increased industrial activity.  When you ridicule those who are trying to promote the use of wind and solar power, you are only weakening a sincere effort to alleviate our current energy use situation.  It is not as simple as increasing supply to lower cost.  You would suggest increasing the supply available to the public for a momentary benefit, but the overall supply – the total fossil fuel reserves on Earth – is a real, finite limit, and one that we are not able to increase at this time given our current technology.  Granted, an immediate increase in available oil would result in a price decrease for the public, but I would argue that the eventual costs would not be worth the price.  When the reserves actually begin to run out and supply cannot be increased, the price of oil will really be high, and the consequences will be all the more severe the less prepared we are for this eventuality.

    I can’t really speak to your complaints about the environment and economic regulations – I’m not really informed on those issues.  But please, before you go painting every regulatory measure as a conspiracy to destroy America, consider the larger picture and how complex the situation is that our leaders are trying to deal with.

  • Jwatersphd

    a voice of sanity. you could, however, be a bit more concise.

  • d s

    Perhaps if you left wingers read the constitution you would find a mandate for building and maintaining a military. The constitution makes no mention of scurrilous social spending to influence the vote. Oh bye the way let’s lay off all defense contractor employees and put them on unemployment so the government can support them.lol

  • donny

    For a piece that is pro free market, I find it maddening that the author doesn’t grasp the energy/oil market at all.  We’re obviously talking oil here which is a GLOBAL commodity.  Regulations should surely be streamlined here in the US, but even if we threw them all out, we don’t have the near the reserves to make a dent in the WORLD oil supply.  We produce less than 5% of the worlds oil…even doubling that, how are we going to dent supply enough to make oil cheap again?  Are we going to force the domestic oil producers to sell to the US for less than the world rate?  That doesn’t sound very free market…
     
    Also strange is that a free market believer can’t grasp the demand side either.  The worlds population is swelling with hundreds of millions of people in Asia seeking the middle class consumer liefstyle that the West popularized.  Soon, China will have more in their “middle class” than we have people total in this country.  They all want oil for the cars they want to buy too.  Anyone think that the demand for oil globally is going down? 
     
    Oil is the master energy resource (energy dense and portable) and we’ve planned poorly for the inevitably of higher prices.  I’m sorry if that’s scary for some, but that doesn’t change the fact that all the cheap sources of oil are slowing down (all the low hanging fruit has been picked).  Newer sources offer much lower flow rates and energy return on energy invested (EROEI).  Anyone selling a way for America to drill it’s way to energy indepence is ignorant of the realities of energy reserves and production capabilities.  This kind of rhetoric is VERY dangerous as it disguises a huge problem and suggests that we can go on consuming without regard.
     
    Without even touching climate change, it’s just scary to think that people will be able to watch this video and come away with the opinion that government is standing in the way of US energy independence.  Oil suppllies are not something that are subject to opinion.  It’s flow rates, accessible reserves and EROEI.  It’s all just data and math, and the math doesn’t add up.

  • d s

    copy paste error…sorry

  • d s

    For a piece that is pro free market, I find it maddening that the author doesn’t grasp the energy/oil market at all.  We’re obviously talking oil here which is a GLOBAL commodity.  Regulations should surely be streamlined here in the US, but even if we threw them all out, we don’t have the near the reserves to make a dent in the WORLD oil supply.  We produce less than 5% of the worlds oil…even doubling that, how are we going to dent supply enough to make oil cheap again?  Are we going to force the domestic oil producers to sell to the US for less than the world rate?  That doesn’t sound very free market…
     
    Also strange is that a free market believer can’t grasp the demand side either.  The worlds population is swelling with hundreds of millions of people in Asia seeking the middle class consumer liefstyle that the West popularized.  Soon, China will have more in their “middle class” than we have people total in this country.  They all want oil for the cars they want to buy too.  Anyone think that the demand for oil globally is going down? 
     
    Oil is the master energy resource (energy dense and portable) and we’ve planned poorly for the inevitably of higher prices.  I’m sorry if that’s scary for some, but that doesn’t change the fact that all the cheap sources of oil are slowing down (all the low hanging fruit has been picked).  Newer sources offer much lower flow rates and energy return on energy invested (EROEI).  Anyone selling a way for America to drill it’s way to energy indepence is ignorant of the realities of energy reserves and production capabilities.  This kind of rhetoric is VERY dangerous as it disguises a huge problem…we’re dependent on cheap oil as a society and the days of cheap oil are over.
     
    Without even touching climate change, it’s just scary to think that people will be able to watch this video and come away with the opinion that government is standing in the way of US energy independence.  Oil suppllies are not something that are subject to opinion.  It’s flow rates, accessible reserves and EROEI.  It’s all just data and math, and the math doesn’t add up.

  • d s

    To which facts are you referring?  I watched the whole thing, but didn’t catch any facts at all.

  • Jwatersphd

    what’s this got to do with the issues?

  • Jwatersphd

    nicely put, thanks. 

  • Guest

    Have you looked at the Institute for Energy Research’s estimates for technically recoverable reserves in the United States to include nonconventional sources?  If not, the number is 1.442 Trillion barrels….or in other words, enough to fuel America at current consumption for around 250 Years.  You should check it out and then reconsider your opinion that our oil is running out.  (http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/energy-overview/petroleum-oil/)

  • teapartyguardian

    Two weeks ago D S proved he is a pauly.

  • Cambridge_Ray

    “May God Bless Capitalism and America!”

    Really? How come you baggers are in the opposite position of ALL US companies (not to mention churches), on immigration???

    http://patriot.net/~ramon/misc/GOP-Stake.gif

  • duelles

    All US companies? What position is that on immigration? Your link did not work, but I’ll give it another shot. BTW immigration of talented, educated in the US scholars, who can benefit our economic growth are welcome. NO politician is really pursuing this angle. We could use some bright new blood to replace the 50million plus abortions since 1973 that has scued our demographics to such a degree that it is hard to have enough population of consumers to drive the economy. No snarky smartass comments to new blood – don’t show yourself to be classless.

  • duelles

    correct! The supply of oil we have will always be sold at worldly market prices defendant on world demand

  • Patriot

    Oil is a renewable resource. Trees are a renewable resource. Numb-nut liberals are, unfortunately a renewable resource. Fortunately for all of us, through the miracle of abortion which they cherish and believe to be a right, they are making themselves extinct! Oops, there goes another abortion. One less liberal!

  • Jeff Giles

    You’re an idiot.

  • Jeff GIles

    Your lack of knowledge about the oil industry, specifically, and the energy industry in general is apparent. You probably have no idea about abiotic oil or the effective margins on hydrofracking for oil and the byproduct creation of excess amounts of natural gas (currently at an energy equivalent of $1.80/gal). If you understood these facts you would discard your tired and lame 5% theory on reserves and recognize that America has enough energy (100s of years) to provide “high density” sources which benefit our established transportation infrastructure while continuing its exploitation of systemic/fixed electrical production utilizing 1) natural coal which is found in large amounts throughout the country and 2) we could also discuss the expansion of Nuclear energy for the production of electricity in our concentrated metropolitan areas… but you liberals don’t want to discuss the facts. you want to talk about solar and wind power….what a technical joke… cute, but still jokes.

    But most importantly, what you liberals have all failed to grasp is the position that you put America in by insisting that we ship bucket loads of our precious cash overseas to oil producing nations, some of whom are sponsors (or at least tacit supporters) of terrorism. Instead, we could be giving American landowners (and in many cases the very government of the United States) the money derived from extracting our own resources….we are also paying foreign laborers to work the oil fields in foreign lands….instead of paying our own people to work here in America.

    And you are forcing us…American Taxpayers…to subsidize your foolish quest for new “reusable” sources of energy because they are completely unsustainable from an economic viewpoint. And finally, you are starving the poorest people in the world to death by your foolish insistence that we take our food stocks and convert them into bio fuels….consuming more energy in the process than they actually create while raising the wholesale price of a truly limited resource….FOOD…to astronomical heights that lock out purchases for relief efforts overseas..

    Your liberal views are DEMONIC.

  • Jeff Giles

    Wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Erik-Osbun/100001215333702 Erik Osbun

    “I’ means Obama, of course.

  • nehopson

    Read my shirt! One way or another, “We the people..” must communicate.http://www.zazzle.com/want_america_to_fail_tshirt-235871766059650771

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chuck-Holmes/100000136441602 Chuck Holmes

    Perhaps the president , next president can or should select random politicians to test them about the contents of new legislation to check their knowledge on the bill. If they cannot pass the test about the bill, it gets put into the round file. They should know what is in the bill before they approve it and send it to the president.

  • NLvEB53adp

    There is enough oil in North Dakota, Montana and our ally Canada to keep North America independent from foreign oil for Centuries. You and your moronic Tree hugging liberals don’t want America to succeed without more loopholes and bureaucracy, in general more government to tell us what kind of light bulbs to use what kind of toilets to use etc. etc. don’t you see that we don’t need the government telling us what kind of foods to eat or feed our children or who or cannot work on a family’s farm? You swallowed the whole thing hook line and sinker! Dummy!!!

  • crazymountain

    Hopefully Obama’s efforts to steal this election fails (does anyone else think it’s strange that voting machines roll from Romney to Obama? Nope, no hackers employed by Obama……) Romney will be able to retrieve OUR energy resources without the ‘Environmentalists’ screwing us for the next 10 years and we can make some progress in this country for a change.

  • crazymountain

    Well, look at the Dakota’s and the private oil finds there, Alaska’s North Shore, off-shore Virginia and California and Gulf of Mexico……..We have much more oil than you think and we are not required to give it to the rest of the world. In fact, the globalization of business in America is absolutely stupid. There was a time in this land when we produced more than the rest of the world combined. We had more factories, produced the world’s steel, durable goods and bailed out the old Soviet Union every five years when their five year plans failed so they could eat. We have turned the richest, most productive country in the world with restaurants and retail outlets. We need to start PRODUCING again and regain our place as the world’s richest, most productive and most powerful country this planet has ever known. Contrary to what the prevailing attitude NOW is, everyone is NOT college material, we need Americans to fill the trades (for you younger folks that would be carpentry, plumbing, electrical etc.) instead of having the elitist attitude that immigrants fill those jobs while we only fill white collar jobs.

  • Rohn

    If I wanted America to Fail, I would vote for obama.

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