Thirty years ago, the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station had a partial meltdown. The Left in American had a total breakdown. We know today that nuclear power is very safe, very clean, and can provide a true "alternative energy" to fossil fuels, but the whipped up hysteria surrounding Three Mile Island has prevented America from using ending much of our dependence on foreign oil.
No one was killed because of Three Mile Island. No one was even harmed. France has been building nuclear power plants for almost fifty years. France now generates almost all its electrical power from these plants and it exports more electricity than any other nation on Earth. There was no reason why America could not have done much of what France did -- nothing, except, for the sick pseudo-science of the Left.
Ten days before Three Mile Island, in an odd quirk of history, Hollywood inflicted upon the American public The China Syndrome, a film which presented the imagined horrors of a nuclear meltdown. It was hokum then and it is hokum now. As Dixie Lee Ray, a scientist and former governor of Washington said: "A nuclear power plant is infinitely safer than eating, because 300 people choke to death on food every year." Americans should have listened to this brilliant, wonderful woman. She was a Democrat, a scientist, and the Chairperson of the Atomic Energy Commission. Instead, they listened to Hanoi Jane, the spoiled child of a Hollywood superstar.
The consequences of politically correct pseudo-science always are absolutely ghastly. Rachel Carson in Silent Spring persuaded Americans that DTT would wipe out birds and decimate nature. She was absolutely wrong, but her pseudo-science was accepted by the Left as holy writ. DDT was banned and tens of millions of poor people suffered and died because of her propaganda. Sterilization of inferior races was once politically correct science, and that led directly to one of the greatest evils in human history. Politically correct but scientifically silly theories of manmade global warming are threatening to impoverish us with draconian restrictions.
Consider the surreal absurdity of our present policies. Barack Obama is spending unimaginable sums of future tax dollars to end our present economic crisis. At the same time, he proposes nothing to end the economic calamity of politically correct environmentalism. Nuclear energy is the safest and surest means to reduce our dependence on foreign energy and on domestic fossil fuels. Unlike fossil fuels, nuclear energy produces no pollution. Nuclear power plants have a tiny carbon footprint. Even if the folly of fighting global warming made sense, the case for nuclear power would be stronger, not weaker.
Instead of embracing the proven and the sensible, the politically correct science of the Left demands we do what is wasteful and inefficient. Americans have been searching for serious alternative energy sources since the Oil Embargo of 1973. Clever men have examined the economics and practicality of harnessing oceanic waves, tapping geothermal power, and generating electricity with solar energy panels. Sometimes solutions are found in odd places. Sweden, during World War Two, used wood to generate power for automobiles. It was the best solution at the time for a nation rich in timber but denied petroleum.
But there is a fundamental difference between the power of invention and the dull hand of politically correct science. What the Left has done to nuclear power is like what the Stalin did with Lysenko's Genetic Theory or the White Sea Canal. Ideology dictated what would bring wealth, comfort, and promise. "Science" was invoked, but as a tool of politics and not the product of reason and experiment. Calamity followed, but the people who suffered were not the people who made the stupid mistakes. Leftist ideology has no mechanism for rewarding people who are proven right and punishing those who are proven wrong.
If Barack Obama wants to show that he can think outside the tiny box of American Leftism, then he can embrace nuclear power as a serious, clean, safe alternative energy and he can state his intention to streamline the statutory and regulatory obstacles to building nuclear power plants. He can take a small part of stimulus package and create tax incentives to build nuclear power, as a way of offsetting the illogical phobia that the Left generated against nuclear power.
This would be change. This would bring hope. The only courage required would be a small heresy against the Church of Leftism. It would be one small step for Obama, but one giant leap for America. Tragically, even that tiny deviation form ultra-orthodox Leftism is probably much more than this very ordinary man would ever dare. Change, to him, means doing more of what has already failed. Hope, to him, means tilting at windmills, even after every grown up in America has given up on wind power.