Saturday, September 13, 2014


Since the end of the Middle East wars, Americans have been adrift. The neocons had an easy time convincing us to go to war because Americans have a mission to have a mission. We feel in the core of our being that there is something important in the world that needs doing, and we have elected ourselves to do it.

Our attitude toward religion has something to do with our missionary fervor. Our religious leaders are always pressing us to go out in the world and do good. About one-third of the 400,000 Christian missionaries in the world are American.

It used to be argued that the American frontier shaped our psychology. But the frontier was closed over a century ago. Something else, more fundamental and as yet unknown, impels us always to strive, to invent, to investigate.

The list of possible jobs outside the fossil fuel industry is amazingly long. Many are already available: making houses energy efficient, building solar electrical generators and windmills. Money invested in mass transportation creates several times as many jobs as money invested in traditional energy sources. The US has excelled in innovation, and there is plenty of room for innovation in new materials for batteries and electric vehicles.

Rich countries will need us to build giant power plants. Poor countries will need us to continue developing small, efficient power generators, especially for remote areas not connected to a grid. All the opportunities are there, waiting for investors, but instead of investing in new, exciting technologies, the energy industry is spending money to convince people that change is frightening, expensive, and unnecessary.

The adverse publicity, the joining together of a minority to attack the interests of the majority, the vast amounts of money spent to preserve an economic advantage (rent-seeking). These are common Republican tactics. They are always rent-seeking instead of innovating.

Change will come, but we need it to come faster, especially at a time when the economy is still staggering from the loss of all the money that disappeared into Wall Street. We need a large project, like the New Deal, the Interstate Highway system, and the Apollo Space program all rolled into one. We need someone like JFK, LBJ, or FDR to inspire the American people to once again achieve greatness.

Those who have inspired us: John Kennedy with the New Frontier, Lyndon Johnson with the Great Society, and Franklin Roosevelt with the New Deal. Each of these presidents united the people to work toward a higher purpose.

No surprise that they're all Democrats.

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