I am so sick of hearing people refer to America’s “oil addiction.” An “addiction” refers to the abuse of a harmful and dangerous substance. There’s nothing harmful and dangerous about oil. It’s quite literally the lifeblood of civilization. Most of us would die without the fuel and energy required by oil. The rest of us would (at best) be living in unimaginable economic squalor.
To say that we should move beyond oil is simply to imply the obvious: That human innovation should continue. Yet the people who oppose ‘Big Oil’ the loudest (i.e. the politicians) are the ones most in favor of restraining capitalism and innovation in science. If government got out of the way, and if reason and science were elevated to the status they deserve in human affairs, then we could once again be certain that human innovation will rise to the occasion, moving us ever further along.
But let’s not forget: Oil is nothing more than sticky muck found in the ground without the rational mindset underlying all human innovation. I’m really grateful for the presence of oil in the world, insofar as human ingenuity made it useful. It has served all of us pretty well. Human use of oil is not some abusive “addiction.’ It’s the whole reason our lives are as worthwhile as they are.