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home : opinion : columnists November 24, 2015

2/1/2013 1:38:00 PM
Who are the real progressives?

Bill Forhan

When I announced my plan to dedicate the opinion section one week to progressives and the next week to conservatives, one of my critics immediately asked and "who is going to decide what is "progressive" vs. "conservative." It's a fair question and after watching the movie "Lincoln" last Friday, I couldn't help but ask myself who is the conservative and who is the liberal here? The movie makes a pretty compelling case for the "Radical Republicans" as being the social progressives while the Democrats played the part of the obstructionist conservatives. It is as important to keep that in mind as we review the positions of the political pundits from last week's "progressive" opinion page.

First, two individuals try to make the case for not developing our own oil resources because it wastes precious gallons of scarce fresh water, utilizes unregulated and potentially harmful chemicals and of course they play on the energy equivalent of the "race card" - it contributes to climate change.

Their very premise is faulty.

First, we have no shortage of water. The planet is nearly covered with water. We have plenty of water. What we lack is the desire and faith that we can turn abundant seawater into much needed fresh water. What we have is a shortage of imagination. What we have is fear of innovation. What we have is a disdain for human achievement and disbelief that we can develop our energy reserves in safe and environmentally friendly ways.

Second, our energy naysayers claim that fracking utilizes "dozens of undisclosed and potentially harmful chemicals." Clearly, in their own words they do not know what is being used but they conclude the process is dangerous because it involves that other liberal epithet - chemicals. In the environmentalist world chemicals are bad. But chemistry and chemicals have done marvelous things to extend and improve the quality of our lives. Chemicals help us insure safe drinking water, provide life saving drugs, reduce hunger by increasing crop yields and have saved lives through elimination of disease carrying mosquitoes.

Finally, they resort to that argument to end all arguments - climate change. After all, its settled science as nearly all scientists agree now that global climate change is real and it is clearly the result of man's overuse of those dirty fossil fuels.

Actually, it is not settled at all. Real science is not something you vote on. Real science is proven through good effective research that can demonstrate real cause and effect. But the proponents of this theory have already morphed the "science" from global warming to global "climate change." It seems their predictions of ever increasing worldwide temperatures just hasn't been holding up.

Call me a climate change denier if you like, but until someone can explain how we had ice ages and warming periods before the industrial revolution, before cars, before the boundless imagination of humans began working to use the resources all around us to improve human existence, I will continue to reject such nonsense.

The climate change crowd says we must leave our children and grandchildren a planet that is in better shape than the one we inherited. But apparently they have no concern about burdening them with a debt they cannot pay.

I would agree that our current energy policy is horribly misguided. We have wasted far too much time and enormous amounts of our national wealth depending on hostile foreigners to provide our much needed energy needs. And they have thanked us for enriching their countries by arming our enemies and attacking our way of life.

Instead of sending our young people to shed their precious blood around the globe, we can and must become energy independent. We could also drive down the price of oil around the world by exporting some of our abundant energy resources. This would allow us to pay down our national debt while putting our people to work with good paying jobs.

Environmentalists consider themselves progressive with their "new" policies to protect the environment. The reality is their suggestions are economically regressive - killing jobs and destroying livelihoods.

It is past time that we empowered the true progressives of American ingenuity - our energy companies.

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