Slouching Towards Fantasyland

Earlier this month, the people of Sri Lanka showed the world what real insurrection looks like.  The reason: they’re starving.  The cause: disastrous farming policies enforced by that country’s government, ostensibly to counter “climate change.”  President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ban on chemical fertilizer has brought biblical famine to the land, with food prices soaring 80% and more.  Protestors swarmed Colombo, stormed the presidential palace and torched the prime minister’s residence.

If only the madness was confined to Sri Lanka.  Rajapaksa wants to replace far superior synthetic fertilizer with manure and return to “all natural organic” farming.  But he is far from alone.  Throughout western Europe this summer, farmers have furiously protested similar fertilizer policies.  Farmland is being pillaged, entire herds of livestock are being decimated, and not surprisingly, crop yields are being wiped out.  Meanwhile in Canada the Trudeau government has announced that fertilizer use is to be slashed, in a move that is angering provincial leaders.

“Environmental”-minded progressives are eager to bring such enlightened farming to America.  I cannot but be reminded of Ma Chalmers in Atlas Shrugged: she who damned American grain production with her theories about soybeans.  Or worse: the “agrarian utopia” that the Khmer Rouge imposed upon the people of Cambodia in the 70s.  That mad socialist experiment murdered two million people, mostly by starvation, and if anyone complained there was always torture and execution.

Progressivism has a long history of staking its goals on pie-in-the-sky fantasies.  But it is a rare thing to see it demonstrated with such brazen fury and rapidity of deployment.  For now, domestic liberalism has an altogether different primary target: the internal combustion engine and with it, traditional power production.  The Biden administration has signaled many times during its tenure that it plans to drag us kicking and screaming into “green energy” whether we like it or not.  The result has been inflation not seen in two generations, loss of jobs, and the threat of forcing us to buy cars that most of us simply cannot afford or even want to begin with.

This has not been accidental.  It is deliberate societal engineering with all the sublimity of a sledgehammer stroke to the knees and just as debilitating.  The Biden administration has declared war on average Americans and is using radical environmentalism to do it.  Late last month Brian Deese, Biden’s Director of National Economic Council, defended the regime’s disastrous energy policies: the cost of “the future of the liberal world order,” as he put it.  This past week Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg asserted that the goal is for half the cars sold in the U.S. to be electric vehicles by 2030.  Never mind that this target’s feasibility exists solely in the realm of imagination.

From its very first moments in power, the Biden administration has abandoned all semblance of reality in regard to energy production.  Beginning with cancelling the Keystone pipeline and ending the oil leases on federal lands (the latter of which Biden has begun again, only at the behest of desperate Democrats suffering in the polls) and now to declaring war on affordable transportation, this administration has demonstrated persistently that it is as out of touch with real life as it is with the average American citizen.

The grid infrastructure needed to charge electric vehicles simply does not exist and is not even remotely ready.  Neither wind nor solar generation are capable of producing enough power for even a fraction of the electric cars and trucks the Biden camp and its supporters envision replacing gas-fueled vehicles.

All this for the sake of an ecological paradigm that is based on flimsy evidence at best and at worst, on blatantly massaged data.

And then there are other considerations about the fallout from the failed fantasy.  Which would you rather have in an emergency, say, evacuating from a hurricane: a reliable car running on gasoline, or an electric vehicle without a ready charge available?  The potential loss of life from people unable to drive to safer ground would be enormous.  Or consider an electric-powered ambulance, that runs out of juice en route to the hospital with a stroke victim.

These are the realities that leftists are not acknowledging.  They refuse to accept that energy comes from something other than unicorn flatulence.  They are instead proverbially sticking their fingers in their ears while singing “La-La-La-Dee-Dah” when anyone broaches the impracticality of their intent.

Biden and his followers are also betraying a severe lack of faith in applied sciences,  as well as a true vision for the future.  There are any number of technologies which are currently being actively developed, that have the potential to radically affect how we produce energy.  It is within the realm of possibility that in the not-too-distant future miniature thorium-based reactors will be providing power to individual houses… and to electric-powered vehicles along with them.  Other approaches are likewise extracting usable nuclear material from what had previously been regarded as waste product.  Meanwhile research continues into new materials that can make solar-based power far more efficient.  And experimentation continues, as it has since the beginning of time, in improving crop yields with a minimum of environmental impact.

Mind you, none of these are widely available outside the research lab today.  But they are coming.  In the meantime, the reality of the situation is that we are still dependent upon petroleum and its derivatives and will be for some time to come.  We are going to continue to rely on oil for fuel, for the raw materials for plastics, for fertilizer compounds, and a myriad of other products.

Modern leftism promises that all our wildest dreams will come true.  But in a century and more, it has never delivered.  All that it has yielded are the graves of a hundred million people: killed in the “Great Leap Forward,” or the Holodomor, or in many other purges and “official policies” by socialist governments.  And now it again threatens humanity, on a scale never before imagined except in the most fevered dreams of entrenched tyrants.  Whether by design or defect, the horrors of progressivism are staring us in the face.  Sri Lanka was one of the first.  It will not be the last.

The fantasizers need a hard slap to wake them up before their delusions kill us all.

Christopher Knight operates somewhere in the southeastern United States.  He blogs at and can be found on Twitter @theknightshift.

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