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Our Troubled Country: Energy and the Silent Lie

"The United States cannot afford to wait for the next energy crisis to marshal its intellectual and industrial resources. Our growing dependence on increasingly scarce Middle Eastern oil is a fool's game—there is no way for the rest of the world to win. Our losses may come suddenly through war, steadily through price increases, agonizingly through developing-nation poverty, relentlessly through climate change—or through all of the above."

James Woolsey, US Director of Central Intelligence 1993 - 1995


        What more will it take Americans to comprehend what it means to add massive population load onto the United States in three decades?  How can we rationally and emotionally accept that number of people added in a blink of time? 

          What is the easiest and most common posture for dealing with our hyper-population growth?  Short answer: ignore, deny, discount, pretend, reject or refute! 

          Another answer pops up!  Lie like a thief.  Lie like a politician.  If you tell the lie long enough and often enough—people accept it as the truth.  The invention of and oxymoron:  sustainable growth!

          Back in 1860, one of my favorite authors, Mark Twain said, “Almost all lies are acts, and speech has no part in them. I am speaking of the lie of silent assertion; we can tell it without saying a word.  For example:  It would not be possible for a humane and intelligent person to invent a rational excuse for slavery; yet you will remember that in the early days of emancipation agitation in the North, the agitators got but small help or countenance from anyone.  Argue, plead and pray as they might, they could not break the universal stillness that reigned, from the pulpit and press all the way down to the bottom of society--the clammy stillness created and maintained by the lie of silent assertion; the silent assertion that there wasn’t anything going on in which humane and intelligent people were interested.

          “The universal conspiracy of the silent assertion lie is hard at work always and everywhere, and always in the interest of a stupidity or sham, never in the interest of a thing fine or respectable. It is the most timid and shabbiest of all lies…the silent assertion that nothing is going on which fair and intelligent men and women are aware of and are engaged by their duty to try to stop.”[13]

          In 2008, a journalist in Colorado sent information packets and graphs to Publisher John Temple of the Rocky Mountain News; Dean Singleton of the Denver Post and 100 other top national newspaper publishers.  He sent out similar packets showing our future dilemmas to top ABC, NBC and CBS executives in the Denver area.  He informed them how their kids would be victims of 100 million added people.  He explained the water crisis.  He invited them to interview 10 top national experts to educate the public.  He included self-addressed stamped envelopes for them to respond and provided ideas on how to gain national coverage on this population crisis.  He also contacted all the producers and directors at 60 Minutes, Prime Time, NPR and Date Line.  He sent letters to Brian Williams, Katie Couric and Charles Gibson.


How did they respond?  Take a guess!  “Silent assertion” to the maximum!


Why?  The more papers and advertisements those folks sell, the bigger their Lear Jets and nicer their luxury cars.  Don’t bother them with consequences!

          If it wasn’t for the Internet, this country would be sold down the river faster than it is now.  U.S. borders would be dissolved and American sovereignty as a nation would be a thing of the past.

          The vast majority of Americans don’t have a clue as to their future.  Furthermore, they trust in those same leaders who use ‘silent assertion’ to keep them in the dark.

          This book informs and educates while offering solutions through actions.  You cannot expect Congress to confront this daily accelerating national catastrophe.  They represent ‘silent assertion’ at its finest.


So what is the lie we’re talking about? 


Stephen Benka, author of “The Energy Challenge” outlined the magnitude of our energy crisis by citing projects from the U.S. Department of Energy from 1999 to 2020, “The world’s total annual energy consumption will rise 59 percent and the annual carbon dioxide emissions will rise 60 percent while the world population increases from 6.5 billion to 7.5 billion.”

          Interestingly, few of the top scientists call for population stabilization.  Other experts call for—here’s that phrase again—unending ‘sustainable growth’.

          Let’s wake up and smell the coff…er, I mean, consumption addiction!

          The late Julian Simon, compelling Economics Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park wrote, “Technology exists now to produce in virtually inexhaustible quantities just about all the products made by nature.  We have in our hands now the technology to feed, clothe and supply energy to an ever growing population for the next seven billion years.”

          To that I say Time Editor Richard Stengel and Professor Julian Simon’s spirit should climb into a rowboat together to paddle toward LaLa Land. They might bring “Alvin and the Chipmunks” to sing along the way.  On their journey, stop by China, India, Mexico and Bangladesh for a dose of reality.

          What’s that reality?  Last winter, Denver, Colorado suffered rolling blackouts because it could not import enough natural gas to heat suburban homes.  Concerning natural gas, an expert on gas production in the Clinton administration, Dr. Ernest J. Moniz wrote, “U.S. consumption represents half of that for the industrialized world…with China, Central and South America expecting to triple their usage over the next 20 years.”

          Where does that leave you and me, average citizens of the United States as our leaders shove this population juggernaut down our throats?

          As Colorado University Professor Dr. Albert Bartlett said, “Population growth is given as a cause of the problems identified, but eliminating the cause is not mentioned as a solution.  We are prescribing aspirin for cancer.”

Bartlett wrote a penetrating column for the local Boulder Daily Camera, Colorado on February 3, 2008, page 7B:

         “It’s time to try again to correct the educationally credentialed but innumerate experts (innumeracy is the mathematical equivalent of illiteracy) who say that growth is inevitable.

“They fail to recognize that after maturity, continued growth is either obesity or cancer.

“We must remember that “Smart Growth” and “Dumb Growth” destroy the environment in good taste.  Growth is not the answer; it’s the problem.

“The innumerate theme of the growth promoters is, ‘The Front Range of Colorado is going to grow whether we like it or not.’  If this is true, it is because so many leaders are active and successful in promoting growth.

“The Legislature and all manner of public and private regional and local civic groups promote economic development which is the politically correct name for growth.

“Predictably, this will produce more well-to-do people, more  homeless people, more employed people, more unemployed people, higher salaries, more people living below the poverty level, more traffic congestion, higher parking fees, more school crowding, more crime, more unhappy neighborhoods, more expensive government, more taxes, higher taxes, more fiscal problems for state and local governments, more air and water pollution, higher utility costs, less reliable utility service, less democracy, higher food costs and more destruction to the environment.”

“You know Andy,” Barney added, “he said a mouthful of common sense.”

“You ain’t wrong Barn,” Andy said. “We got to do something before it gets worse.”

“How ‘bout we lock up a few politicians to start things off right?” Barney said.

          “Can’t disagree, Barn,” Andy said.


Defining future realities of hyper-population growth

          Please consider three definite outcomes by famous economist Kenneth Boulding,[14] who proves a tad sharper than Julian Simon.  Boulding offers these three theorems that face our children:

          “The Dismal Theorem:  If the only ultimate check on the growth of populations is misery, then the population will grow until it is miserable enough to stop growth.

          “The Utterly Dismal Theorem: Any technical improvement can only relieve misery for a while, for so long as misery is the only check on population, the improvement will enable more people to live in misery than before. The final result of improvements, therefore, is to increase the equilibrium population, which is to increase the sum total of human misery.

          “The Moderately Cheerful Form of the Dismal Theorem:  If something else, other than misery and starvation, can be found which will keep a prosperous population in check, the population does not have to grow until it is miserable or starves; it can enjoy stable prosperity.”


          How far will we sell our national soul for more energy?  When will we direct our solutions to population stabilization rather endless growth along with searching for dwindling energy supplies? 

          Environmental Working Group said, “Want to trade the Grand Canyon for nuclear energy?  Your elected representatives didn't, so in June the House Natural Resources Committee passed an emergency resolution to stop the sudden surge of mining claims staked around this treasured resource.  But an Environmental Working Group investigation found that in August the former Bush administration ignored Congress and allowed a Phoenix-based mining company called Neutron Energy to stake 20 claims to mine uranium around the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River.  Activists have tried to reform our ancient 1872 mining law for decades, and EWG is juicing up the debate with our interactive, updated maps.  Stay tuned for more news from the 111th Congress.”

          Energy and environmental answers from our leaders must no longer be considered apart from a simultaneous decrease of  population growth. The very presence of rising numbers forces the search for often terrain destroying solutions. 

          We don’t need to create one more Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco, Dallas or Houston with big city traffic.  We do not need more air pollution nightmares along with millions of miles of highway systems whose diet consists of 20 million barrels of oil daily. 

          Finally, America reached ‘Peak Oil’ in 1970.  Most predictions show the world oil supplies peaking in 2010.  From that point, no matter how many oil wells we sink, the world’s supply declines.  We live in the ‘Peak Oil Descent’ that means every oil-dependent civilization on this planet must contract.

          James Howard Kunstler said, “At peak oil, there will still be plenty of oil left in the ground—in fact, half of all the oil that ever existed—but it will be the half that is deeper down, harder and costlier to extract, sitting under harsh and remote parts of the world, owned in some cases by people with a grudge against the United States, and this remaining oil will be contested by everyone. At peak and just beyond, there is potential for system failures of all kinds—social, economic and political. Peak is quite literally a tipping point. Beyond peak, things unravel and the center does not hold.  Beyond peak, all bets are off about civilization’s future.”

          We need a “consciousness shift” and actions to prepare our civilization for a very different future.  You may start at www.transitionus.org.

          Whatever you do, avoid becoming a part of the “shabbiest of all lies…silent assertion.”

 Tale action: www.numbersusa.com ; www.thesocialcontract.com ; www.fairus.org ; www.frostywooldridge.com        













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