Warning: The present author is as fanatically ecological as they come, and thinks that burning oil is super dumb. This being said, contrarily to appearances, there is no contradiction with the following. Some decry “Know Nothing Politics”, we go further, and decry “Know Not Enough Thinking”.


In a long editorial in the New York Times, Paul Krugman vents his increasingly impotent rage (“Know Nothing Politics”, August 7, 2008): “Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid… And I certainly don’t mean to question the often frightening smarts of Republican political operatives. What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.””…

Somewhat illogically on the emotional level, Krugman brandishes von Schiller’s famous quote: “Against Stupidity Even the Gods Themselves Contend in Vain”.

The cause of Professor Krugman’s ire? Drilling. Let’s not guess that he never flies planes and don’t drive a car: that would be too stupid. Another thing that irritates Prof. Krugman: by evoking the “often frightening smarts” of republicans, he acknowledges that republicans play stupid on TV, whereas democrats play stupid for real.

It was even more frighteningly stupid to make drilling an issue. Not drilling was clearly a battle that could not be won. But never mind; as long as one democrat will be standing proud, guzzling oil, he will fight that pointless battle.

I disagreed on some points of Prof. Krugman’s editorial, and tried to express my technical point of views in three carefully reasoned and researched posts on his blog, and they were all rejected as dreadful heresies (who is stupid now?).

So never mind elaborated technical reasons. The simple question is this: if “Against Stupidity Even the Gods Themselves Contend in Vain”, then how come the democrats put themselves in a situation where stupidity could be used against them? Did they want to lose? That’s the question Professor Krugman’s logic irresistibly leads to.

Indeed the stupid ones are the ones who let drilling become an issue, when, in the present state of technology, everybody uses drilling. Democrats use drilling. Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi uses drilling in the fancy downhill ski resort she owns in California (most democratic operators are immensely wealthy, they play poor on TV).

Civilization would collapse completely without drilling. It’s immoral to incite only the Arabs to drill, while the USA patrols offshore with aircraft carriers, to make sure they keep on drilling enthusiastically. The democratic program in a nutshell: offshore patrolling with aircraft carriers in Arabia, thus no offshore drilling at home.

France produces less than a third of the emission of CO2 per person that the USA does (while achieving higher standards of living). France has long achieved Gore’s 2008 dream (producing in 2018 around 95% of US electricity from non carbon sources). Still, France is drilling as much as she can, and some of it next to Paris. In that extremely ecological country, drilling is not an issue (not even the worst, foaming at the mouth French ecologists seem to mind: they use oil too). Even the fanatically ecological Swiss are hoping there is lot of gas below their micro sea, Lac Leman, and are drilling it!

In Switzerland, houses are watched by helicopter to see if they leak heat more than is legal, and running an engine while a car is immobile is unlawful. But drilling offshore in the Leman, that pristine jewel, is correct. Nobody is protesting. Protesting hydrocarbon extraction would strike any European as supremely hypocritical. Natural gas is pretty ecological. It is as close to hydrogen as possible (see elaborated note on this elementary chemistry).

But then Speaker Nancy Pelosi, apparently an expert of not talking about what’s important by talking about what’s unimportant, was asked why she did not submit drilling to a vote in Congress, and she answered grandly: “I am trying to save the planet, I am trying to save the planet.” While looking like a deer in headlights, perhaps because she was struck by the enormity of her hypocrisy, explaining her saucer like eyes. Or maybe she was desperately busy with her next task, making up a story about why her ski resort is saving the planet too.

Saving the planet by not drilling off Nancy’s Northern Californian shore is a red herring. What the US needs is higher energy taxes, that will force efficiency and provide capital for investments. Speaking about the horror of offshore forever avoids the even greater horror of adressing the crisis with serious measures, such as taxes.

After the recent oil spike, France came up with a flurry of new taxes on energy, and gas guzzlers, that were passed into law quasi instantaneously, while increasing subsidies for the poor to compensate.  

Meanwhile Senator Barack Obama has made the concession of becoming intelligent about drilling (he is ready to allow drilling if the republicans themselves become intelligent, a condition the republicans may find intelligent not to satisfy, because they do not want to contend in vain).

DRILLING OFFSHORE MAY BECOME PLANET SAVING BY GETTING RID OF METHANE HYDRATES (Japan and China are already investing in that direction). And that we may have to do if the heating keeps on going.

Here is the long story short: paleontologists were mystified by episodes of extremely brutal overheating of the planet. Typically it was real hot, and then it became amazingly hot (some massive extinctions events seem to have followed). All sorts of fancy explanations were attempted. It seems these bouts of overheating were caused by methane eruptions. Methane has 60 times the greenhouse power of CO2 within 20 years, 21 times within a century.

It is true, and unsurprising, that against stupidity the democrats contend in vain. But these stupid issues they chose themselves. Other stupid issues include: not offering to Clinton the Vice Presidential candidate position (that should have been done long ago), and taxing the upper middle class to death while engineering a tax refuge for the hyper rich (the zero capital gain tax on Venture Capital Funds proposed by Obama at this point).

These issues will cost the Presidential election to the democrats. The drilling stupidity the democrats organized for themselves to lose is just a little warm up. The tax stupidity will be the killing blow. Republicans are just waiting until it’s too late, to spring the trap.

Why such stupidities are central to democratic strategy is explained by the apparent presence of double agents in the democratic party. Obama’s tax adviser from the University of Chicago economic department (a notorious center of right wing survival of the fittest, trickle down economics) delivers ambiguous discourses about “the future”, and doing away with “the past”. Apparently he means out with old tax loopholes for the hyper rich, in with the new. Warren Buffet, who made billions from maximizing his profits in US health “care”, is a trusted, and flaunted, adviser on the same tax subject, etc… I will momentarily refrain from mentioning previous great “socialist” leaders who had great US billionaires as trusted help (OK, if you insist: Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler…). Not that I compare anybody alive with those, I am just pointing out that the same mechanism is at work. We have been down that road before, the world knows what it means. The US population may even vaguely recognize the pattern, smell the fish. 

Of course the USA needs higher taxes, but on energy and consumption, and on the hyper rich. To compensate, give the poor  handsome subsidies (as France does). Capital flight (long occuring) could stop right away, because the European Union views the USA as the largest tax haven in the world, by far (which it is). The day the USA gives the word, all capital will come home to roost (because the Euros have already exerted considerable pressure that way; in general, when the US and the EU agree, nobody can stop them).

A related issue is that the USA does not save enough as a country, so it is an issue of national security to augment US savings and investments, instead of depending upon non democratic countries to provide capital for the USA (Arabic countries, China, etc., have been keeping the USA afloat financially).

As it is, proposing taxes on income and capital gains higher than in any socialist European country is an issue tailored to lose the presidency for the democrats. It’s plain too big to be just a stupidity.

The difference between progressives and conservatives is that the former are supposed to use intelligence the past did not have, making it less worth conserving. Some Republicans have used senseless arguments pro drilling, and many are old arguments from the past whose time has passed. So doing, the Republicans were doing their job, conserving what’s obsolete. Whereas, when democrats use erroneous arguments, they are serving neither intelligence, nor progress. True progressives, such as the present author, have then to point out those mistakes, and the earlier, the better… One would not want to finish like the erroneous French revolutionaries, post 1790, or the erroneous Soviet revolutionaries, post 1917. But it is how they started: by being obviously erroneous, and redefining for their own little comfort what “obvious” and “error” meant (in other words, being intellectually dishonest, as are those who refuse to publish posts that have more, and deeper facts).


Patrice Ayme.
More details on these subjects are found in https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/, especially “How Obama Could Lose” (June 29, 2008), and “Lousy Morality Leads to Lousy Economics” (July 2008).

P/S: (1) Someone on Krugman blog called “BaldApe”, claimed that he “was happy not to be my chemistry professor”. Krugman posted him, but did not post my retort (Post wars!). Here it is. Mr. BaldApe did not understand that NATURAL GAS, METHANE, CH4, IS AS CLOSE TO HYDROGEN as we can get to right now (while minimizing greenhouse gases in industrial production; mass production of hydrogen at this point is very dirty). I mention this because it’s crucial to the energy debate (and central to Pickens’ proposals). The E.U. has opted for lots of natural gas (from North Africa and Russia).

One should not confuse MASS OF MOLECULES CREATED, and NUMBER OF MOLECULES CREATED. A molecule of methane (CH4) is made of ONE Carbon atom (C) and FOUR Hydrogen atoms (H). Burning it consists into having its constituents atoms establishing stronger chemical bonds with oxygen atoms. Now Carbon is tetravalent, and oxygen bivalent. So the Carbon atom, C, establishes two bivalent bonds with two oxygen atoms to fill up its chemical availability. The result is ONE molecule made of one Carbon, and two Oxygens: O=C=O, otherwise symbolized as CO2. Hydrogen is monovalent, so, to fill up the chemical availability of oxygen, two hydrogen atoms need to be used. Hence the four hydrogen atoms in the CH4 attach to two oxygen atoms, so we end up with H-O-H twice, in other symbols, two molecules of H2O.

The same mass can contain vastly different numbers of molecules. For example one molecule of water (H-O-H) has the same mass as nine molecules of Hydrogen (H-H). What counts for the greenhouse is how many molecules of the type that can absorb infrared radiation are around. The greater the infrared capture power of the gas, the more the greenhouse effect of that gas. It’s twenty-one CO2 for CH4, and rise to above 200 times for NO2 (in a 100 year span).

Long hydrocarbon chains, as in oil, contain a lot of atoms of Carbon, so, when they burn, create much more CO2 relative to H2O in comparison to methane.

For Quantum mechanical reasons, O2 and N2 are not greenhouse gases, but H2O is. 60% of the greenhouse is due to water vapor, 26% to CO2, and 8% to a mix of CH4, O3, and NO2.

(2). A Chinese philosophical reset. 2,500 years ago, disciple Kung asked: “Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?” Master Kung (Kung Fuzi, “Confucius”) replied: “What about ‘Shu’ [reciprocity]: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?” [Analects XV.24].

Confucius would not have approved of Nancy’s loudly selfish tribe. If drilling is not good for the USA, it should not be good for Arabs either. Or is Arabia supposed to do the dirty work while North America wastes and pontificates?


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One Response to “DRILLING WARS.”

  1. Omar Says:

    Nancy Pelousy will become Nancy Peloser ! Omar


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