It is argued that improper conservation hurts people and does not add to energy resources. Waste of energy is not always automatically a bad thing when considered historically.
Contrary to what most people superstitiously believe, the great recorded leap in civilizational power and significant advancement of the Western world, starting in about the late 18th and into the mid-20th century, was marked by a relative wastage of the utilized power sources and not, on the whole, much intensive regard for excessive efforts at conservation.
If today’s statist government policies and regulatory excesses were allowed to exist in the mid-19th century, for instance, America would then have set about conserving whale oil instead of freeing entrepreneurs and inventors, risk takers and innovators, to come up with many new and better sources of energy. And, this ought to be regarded as a rather terrible and shocking fact, disconcertingly so, as to what would have, thus, insanely occurred concerning a clearly dis-economic understanding of basic economic reality.
Furthermore, unintelligently premature efforts at much deliberate conservation, meaning especially in the past two centuries, would have, moreover, substantially crushed the always needed degrees of vital experimentation, entrepreneurship, risk taking, creativity, innovation, and inventive genius for any progressive efforts at expanding national economies. In short, the contrarian viewpoint against idiotic notions of mere sustainability, conservation, and concern for only minimal impacts on the environment would have together greatly crushed needed advances toward attainment of great power sources and their obvious and highly useful, needful, expansion into the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Hundreds of millions of people, consequently, would not have been successfully raised up out of poverty and well beyond subsistence means of sheer survival if not for the dynamic efforts of free-market economics. There was no practical and realistic means known as to a successful economic mechanism of a high order, prior to free-market economics, to help achieve massive reductions in the rate and level of poverty in the world, though many people had the best of intentions in past ages; this important fact needs to be greatly reiterated, time and again, lest too many people too easily forget the required truth of knowing, factually and historically, what had happened in the continued course of the development of human reality, not just economics.
Today, people are faced with completely false choices, e.g., supposedly between ruthless prosperity versus gentle environmentalism. As Libertarians and others have economically demonstrated, however, nuclear power, bioenergy, wind and solar power are, fundamentally speaking, artificial industries heavily dependent upon interrelated government subsidies, tax breaks, and legal protection.
None of those industries, furthermore, could fairly compete in the free market if not for various forms, degrees, types, and kinds of statist interventionism; none, consequently, could then really exist as genuinely free-market energy industries if they were, in fact, to actually compete with those industries dependent upon the market for their viable existences.
For instance, if not for government protection, the nuclear energy industry could never exist because no insurers could possibly cover all related potential damage from any massive nuclear fallout due to a horrendous plant explosion; no free-market insurance company would, for instance, be ever legally permitted to consequently and logically charge the literally astronomical premiums needed for totally complete nuclear disaster coverage; it would simply not be economically realistic nor tenable. Q.E.D.
Libertarians and many other supporters of free-market economics, such as economists connected to the Austrian School of Economics, know this fundamental economic fact of market-driven reality, free-market economics, which is wrongly being thwarted by government interventionism to this very day. And, unfortunately, even most conservatives have willingly joined some environmentalists in support of nuclear power’s urged rapid expansion, contrary to economic logic and cogent reasoning as well.
The ecofreaks, the environmentalists, however, ought not to be given a simply free hand in unopposed argumentation nor should they constantly be given handouts by the government done always at taxpayer expense. Also, they should not be often wrongly confused with those who, in the past, were known as conservationists or naturalists who, in fact, did not take or accept today’s simplistic or luddite views usually attached to environmental questions or proposed solutions.
Conservationists and naturalists, unlike the ecofreaks, have a well balanced and intelligent approach that does not mindlessly worship (perfected) Nature at the expense of the real needs of human beings in this world to live and work.
Of course, the argument is not against intelligent degrees of conservation in terms of, e.g., encouraging efficiency within the production of any energy; but, excessive conservation produces a kind of false economy that can, however, absurdly reduce the production of viable energy sources while improperly encouraging the development of highly expensive and taxpayer-subsidized energy sources that are not, in point of fact, market-viable situations. False conservation efforts are those, e.g., that do not truly yield expected enormous benefits substantial enough to be genuinely worth the perhaps massive efforts at attempting wholesale conservation schemes on their behalf.
Furthermore, not all “wastage” or seeming wasting of energy is necessarily so if there is, for instance, ultimately a method behind the superficial madness, meaning, for instance, developing creative and necessary means of properly and appropriately testing the limits or capacities of new, potential energy sources. On the other hand, of course, it is still vitally true that America has genuinely tremendous reserves of coal that can be, thus, reasonably called upon and added to with increasingly cleaner means of utilizing it that have been and, moreover, will be developed. Although not to be idiotically neglected if needed, nevertheless, there is no absolute need to forever be unfortunately chained to any foreign sources of oil or gas.
Therefore, if there is the true desire to seek the advancement of postindustrial civilization and culture toward the eradication of worldwide poverty, improvement of health, dietary, medical, and sanitation levels on this planet, etc., then the careful watchwords ought not ever to be simplistically given as: sustainability, renewable resources, or conservation; but, rather, for the sake of the people of this world, especially for the poorest of all, the true call needs to be for utilization of existing major energy sources to raise the standard of living for all. Thus, the realistic and successful formula for creatively seeking future energy resources is not necessarily what is always falsely proposed by the ideologically-committed, Leftist environmentalists.
Much of the entrepreneurial drive and ambition of the 18th and 19th century energy pioneers, therefore, need not be wrongly shed and discarded totally in the manifestly ideological rush toward a supposedly “greening” Utopia, a rather sad and reactionary, retrograde, mirage of this largely uninformed age; this is because, among other valid reasons, the worthy fight against worldwide poverty has not been ended; entrepreneurship, the economic engine of success for energy generation, shows the way better than any collectivist, so-called green solutions, as has been, in fact, both historically and, thus, empirically demonstrated superbly.