Power From The People

The ultimate environmentally-correct, but liberty-destroying, car.

From its inception, America has been about liberty in all forms - economic, political, and religious.  The Pilgrims moved their families and lives from civilized, comfortable, but apostate and tyrannical Holland to a barren wilderness in order to worship God in their own way.

Countless impoverished peasants came here to take advantage of economic and political freedoms their home countries didn't allow.  They came in spite of the risks of the journey.  So many wannabe Americans died before they ever got here that people used to say, "The cowards never started and the weak died along the way."

The desire for freedom of movement - the absolute right to make a temporary relocation, permanent transfer, or even just a brief trip to the next town over - wells up from something very deep in the American psyche.  We're a nation of immigrants - even a purebred American Indian has ancestors who wandered across from Siberia.  Every American has, somewhere back in his or her genetic heritage, a bold and brave ancestor who went to the other side of the world seeking opportunity.

Some saw the purpose of the Iraqi war as making the world save for gas-guzzlers - "Whip their ass and take their gas."  A glance at gas prices reveals that, if this was the goal, it wasn't completely successful, although the jury is still out.  But whether it be in a gas-guzzling Suburban or a politically correct Prius, Americans expect and demand the liberty to go where they want, when they want, and in as much style as they can afford.

It Takes You There and Brings You Back

The immensely-satisfying freedom of personal mobility which American have enjoyed since the 1950's is provided by automobiles; this freedom clearly taps into something common to humankind, since everywhere freedom spreads even tender shoots, from Eastern Europe to India and China, personal automobiles soon follow.  Although there are various promising new technologies in laboratories, for today and at least the immediate future gasoline is the only power source which actually works well for personal automobiles.  The internal combustion engine perforce will remain king of the road for at least several decades yet - if it's allowed to.

Environmentalists who seek power and influence regardless of the facts have pointed out that world temperatures are rising, which might or might not be true, and they assert that the cause is carbon dioxide produced by automobiles, electric generation plants, and all the other energy sources which make civilization possible.  However, factual data suggest that blaming human activity for climate change is contrary to historical fact.

World temperatures are remarkably stable over the medium term, having changed up or down by a bit over one degree over the last thousand years or so, but climate change has happened throughout human history and even before.  Global temperatures might be going up, but this is no surprise; world temperatures have been going up and down for thousands of years without human intervention.  The adjacent diagram shows that temperatures have gone up 4 or 5 degrees over the last 20,000 years.

People have suffered from climate change.  The Norse settled Greenland during the Medieval Warm Period; they starved to death when the weather turned too cold for farming during the Little Ice Age.

Temperatures may well be rising despite the lack of conclusive evidence for an increase, but this is a natural process which is quite independent of human activity.  Environmentalists who worship all things natural ought to applaud the fact that the natural cycles are continuing as always no matter what we do.

Messing With Our Mobility

President Obama appears to have bought into the anvil chorus of those who claim that we're doomed unless we stop emitting carbon dioxide.  At first, he encouraged Americans to help the cause by inflating their tires - harder tires flex less and cars burn slightly less fuel - but lately he's starting to talk about forcing Government Motors to stop making cars that drivers want and make teeny weeny high-mileage cars that nobody wants.  He's also talking about raising taxes on all the energy we consume.

Even the most committed environmentalist understands that Americans won't drive itty bitty cars unless gasoline becomes a lot more expensive, so they've signed on to President Obama's crusade to tax away our mobility in a bogus effort to Save the World.  The only reason to tax us so severely is to satisfy the politicians desire for more power; their mandates for cutting energy use by taxing us into immobility certainly won't save the world in the long term because natural fluctuations overwhelm anything mankind can do.  In the short term, extra taxes will make our lives a great deal nastier than need be.

Another Triumph of American Ingenuity

For all the bleating and bloviating, American Ingenuity has come through as we knew it would.  This innovative vehicle not only has harder tires than President Obama requested - the tires are solid rubber - it uses no gas at all!  It's not zero footprint because it emits carbon dioxide as the power plant breathes, of course, but the emissions are greatly reduced.

We hope that President Obama appreciates this aspect of American Ingenuity coming through for him.

Our Founding Fathers noted that all government power derives from the consent of the governed.  Thanks to President Obama, leftist environmentalists, the bureaucrats at the EPA, and a dash of American Ingenuity, the time is fast approaching when the power of mobility will derive from the muscles of the over-governed, as represented by the "FM-4 HumanCar" depicted here.

Perhaps Al Gore might be convinced to give up his idling SUV in favor of a greener solution.  After all, it's been reported that he gained too much weight to run for President in the last election, and although there are other environmentally friendly weight-loss solutions, this innovative vehicle would certainly offer a way not only to deflect the recurring charges of gross hypocrisy, but to help the American auto industry move towards the greener future called for by its new CEO, none other than President Barack Obama himself.

This invention encourages carpooling.  It helps fight the War against Fat.  It even serves to discourage having children, who can't contribute muscle-power but must still be hauled along - and as numerous prominent environmentalists have repeatedly said, the presence of human beings on this planet is the problem.

And, what's more, it allows only local travel - unless you are a serious athlete, how far do you think you can pedal before you're completely worn out?  The localism movement at last victorious, enforced by technology!

Liberty of movement is almost as fundamental a freedom as that of speech.  If you have freedom of speech, you can protest injustice and demand change.  If you don't have freedom of speech, but do have freedom of movement, at the worst you can move elsewhere to a jurisdiction where liberty is honored and your rights are preserved.

That's exactly how most Americans came to be Americans.  It's ironic that those fundamental American freedoms that are desired by the whole world, are just the ones most heavily under attack here at home.

Kermit Frosch is a guest writer for Scragged.com.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Kermit Frosch or other articles on Economics.
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