Monday, December 31, 2012

Energy Resources, Change, and Assumptions

Before getting to what I think of "a worldwide redistribution of energy resources," I'd better lay some groundwork.

'Inevitable Progress,' 'We're All Gonna Die,' and Getting a Grip

Two equally silly ideas have been taken quite seriously:
  • Technology and science will solve all our problems
  • Technology and science cause all our problems
I've been over that before. (December 17, 2012)

Technology, History, and Assumptions

Assuming that technology and science could solve every problem we have may not be as as daft as it seems. Not for someone living in England or America during the 19th century, or the first half of the 20th. At the beginning of that period, cholera and other diseases killed many who survived the occasional famine.

Then everything changed:
  • 1801 to 1899
    • Anesthesia
    • Antiseptics
    • The Jacquard Loom
    • The McCormick reaper
    • Steam locomotives
    • The telegraph
    • A variety of electric lighting devices
      (about.com: 1800s)
  • 1900 to 1950
    • Air conditioners
    • Kidney dialysis machines
    • Neon lights
    • Penicillin
    • Talking motion pictures
    • Radio transmitters and receivers
    • Zeppelins
      • Okay: so not all inventions caught on
      (about.com: 1900s)
I think nuclear weapons, smog, and daytime television programming took some of the luster off the 'technology will solve everything' notion: just as Auschwitz and Dachau encouraged a reevaluation of 'inevitable progress;' and that's another topic. (October 30, 2010)

Freedom, Faith, and Me

I'm a Catholic. I take my faith seriously, so I'm obliged to:
  • Support religious freedom
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2104-2109)
    • For everyone
      (Catechism, 2106)
  • Act as if my faith matters
    (Catechism, 1815)
  • Be a good citizen
    (Catechism, 2238-43, 2255)
  • Work for social justice
    (Catechism, 1928-1942)
"Social justice?!" That isn't the moonstruck goofiness that seems to have peaked with political correctness. It's not the 'good old American values' that another set desperately wants either.

I've been over this before:

"Worldwide Redistribution of Energy Resources"

Like "social justice," the term "redistribution" has been associated with a fashionable ideology.

Benedict XVI's "redistribution" isn't that 'steal from the rich and give to the bureaucrats' nonsense, and I've been over this before. (October 22, 2012; July 30, 2012)

On the other hand, what the Pope says is as radical as any campus activist's dream.

We live in a world where some folks, including me, have access to a great deal of energy and other resources. I don't accept the 'Yankee imperialist warmonger oppressor' attitude: but I do recognize that the status quo isn't acceptable.

I think Americans can be a great deal more efficient about how we use energy. I also think that there can be 'enough to go around,' without pulling nations whose citizens have made Information Age technology possible down to pre-Industrial Age living standards.

If we're going to change the way we use energy and other resources - we're going to have to make changes. All of us.

When "redistribution" means being told that you're going to get what the 'fat cats' have, it looks good. When "redistribution" means changing a familiar way of life? That, I think, will not be popular: for both the 'haves,' and the 'have-nots.'

I am cautiously hopeful, particularly since we're developing more efficient technologies: and because I have seen people adjust to new ideas.

Here's what got me started today:
"...What is also needed, though, is a worldwide redistribution of energy resources, so that countries lacking those resources can have access to them. The fate of those countries cannot be left in the hands of whoever is first to claim the spoils, or whoever is able to prevail over the rest. ..."
("Caritas in Veritate," 49)

More posts about "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in Truth)
"Caritas in Veritate"

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