No Power, No Life

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A few years ago, after enduring a couple of days of a blackout, I replied to a commenter who jokingly suggested I round up some protesters to demand that the power not be restored:

I thought more than once during my ordeal -- which is really nothing compared to the kind of world [environmentalists] will achieve if they succeed -- that anyone who celebrates "Earth Day" deserves to do so this way: caught almost completely off-guard at a time definitely NOT of their own choosing, and for an indeterminate amount of time.
I recently ran into a rather disturbing review of a book about an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack whose lurid portrayal of such a situation reminded me of those days. Here's an excerpt of Ted Koppel's Lights Out:
The power is still out, and things are getting scary.

The house is so cold you can see your own breath. Some of the food in the refrigerator is good, but there's no way to cook it. The water is still running, barely, but it smells bad and tastes worse. The grocery store is open, but it's only taking cash -- which you can't get, because the banks are closed. But it doesn't really matter since the shelves have been picked clean anyway.

You went to work on Monday, but after a couple of hours the boss sent everyone home. Come back when the power comes back on, she said.

That was nine days ago.

The family has been warming up in the car for short stints, and you've been charging your cell phone, but the gas gauge is now sitting on Empty. The gas station closed because there's no power to run the pumps.

The emergency numbers you've called are busy or not answering. Nothing on the radio but static. No wi-fi. Your neighbors are just as clueless as you are.

Somebody better get the power back on soon, or you and your family are going to be up the creek.

But suppose they don't. Then what?
And that's just the tip of the iceberg: Recovering from such a catastrophe would be much harder than most would think.

It is disturbing to consider that we are inching ever closer to a world in which such an attack is increasingly viable. It is more so that a large segment of the population is working, unwittingly or not, to bring us slowly to such an energy-free state. Environmentalists are banking on several things: (1) that enough of us fall for the idea that we can replace cheap, plentiful fossil fuels with what energy advocate Alex Epstein rightly calls "unreliables," (2) that a slow descent into primitive life is somehow possible (let alone more palatable), or (3) that enough people continue to buy the idea that suffering and death are moral and noble. Many people would take this as a sign that we ultimately have nothing to worry about, but they underestimate the power of moral conviction, as mistaken as it may be, to affect human actions and the course of history.

-- CAV


Gus Van Horn said...

[Posted for Steve D, whose comment was misdirected to another post.]

'but they underestimate the power of moral conviction, as mistaken as it may be, to affect human actions and the course of history.'

The fact that people usually act consistent with their moral conviction and ethics, ( principle which must translate to larger groups, to nations, and all the way to civilizations) always seemed to be one of the most evident and least controversial aspects of Objectivism. What surprises me instead is how few people (especially conservatives) get it.

Gus Van Horn said...

Indeed. Many conservatives urge everyone to adopt "family values" (a euphemism for religious altruism), cite facts showing how disastrous policies motivated by altruism are, and then complain that nobody cares about the facts.