Time to Grow Up

We seem to be suffering another pandemic worse than Covid. Much of the western world suffers from Peter Pan syndrome. Many refuse to grow up and act like adults. Swiming in a riptide or playing with fire are actions we attribute to children not learning to avoid. Acknowledging life’s realities and planning to navigate around known dangers is the mark of maturity. Even when warned, a child may petulantly race into the sea or light matches. The desire for instant gratification overwhelms caution. The adult realizes the high risk.

We have numerous examples of people disregarding proven policies and doing the opposite. A half a century ago, we created vast amounts of dollars at a time when supplies were constrained. This process resulted in double-digit inflation. Only severely tightening the creation of money and letting prices rise to encourage supply finally ended the “Great Inflation.” Of course, we suffered a severe recession with 10+% unemployment. Knowing the pain, why in the world would you do it again?

Energy is central to the 1970s and ’80s and our present inflation. We price oil in dollars, and with each dollar purchasing less, oil producers restricted supply, and the rising inflation went into high gear. As a major importer, the U.S. was at the mercy of the new OPEC cartel. Energy affects everything, so the prices continued up. The prices fell back to earth only when high prices brought forth a gusher of new oil.

The Biden administration threw everything away by attacking our oil and gas industry. Because it favors wind and solar, no pipelines built, leases on government areas stopped, and investment discouraged—millions of barrels of oil no longer produced. Before the pandemic, our fracking revolution made us energy independent. We had become the swing producer, keeping the lid on prices. Now we beg Russia and OPEC to increase supply. The world price of oil is heading towards $100 a barrel, raising the price of everything. Instead of understanding the realities, childlike, we wanted our Green utopia before it was possible.

Other benefits come from lower oil prices. Unfriendly nations like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela get most of their foreign exchange from oil sales. More money in their pockets supports their regimes and mischief. Presently, western Europe is paying for Russia’s Ukraine adventure.

The administration isn’t alone in its fantasies. The Federal Reserve turned up the printing press just as it did in the 1970s to accommodate outsized government spending. The Fed’s job is to keep the dollar stable, but its track record proves it’s incapable of doing its duty.

We’re not flying solo in make-believe. Anyone taking the time to look knows fossil fuels still provide the majority of world power. As I’ve pointed out, Western Europe has gone green to the point of being under Russia’s thumb or freezing. Ukraine is about to pay the price of European Greens’ faith we can thrive on windmills and solar panels. Childlike faith over hard reality. Sometimes the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind doesn’t blow, known to anyone looking at the data.

Germany is like a youngster getting high when a dealer offers cheap drugs. Low-cost natural gas from Russia allowed the Germans to have the super high of supreme virtue on the cheap. No dirty coal, and we can get rid of clean but unpopular nuclear power. They could claim, “We are the Champions of Green.” But you’re hooked, and Russia is now showing who’s Germany’s daddy.

Adults know you have to do your job, or things will get out of hand. In the latter part of the last century, New York City was the foremost example of what happens when you forget maintaining the law is a primary function of the job. The City refused to do the work, and the City descended to near chaos.

When I lived in New York in the sixties, Times Square was a cesspool of peepshows and hookers. Only when Rudy Guilliani became mayor instituted the “Broken Windows Theory” of strict law enforcement did the decaying City turn around and become a shining example of what enforcing the law can accomplish. Rudy and his successor turned Times Square into Disneyland. New York became a safe, fun destination and a great place to live. Many other cities followed its lead.

Like children chaffing under parents’ rules, New York voters threw a tantrum and elected Bill de Blasio mayor, and “Broken Windows ” is history. Today, you pay top dollar to move from New York to Florida. Unfortunately, many cities again mirror New york. Movers go only in one direction.

I could go on and on with similar examples of ignoring what works and what’s dangerous, but I think you get the idea. Instant gratification dominates a child’s actions until they mature. It’s called becoming an adult.

I’ve always felt progressives exhibit childlike naivety. Conservatives are more look before you leap. John Locke’s preference for the British evolution of institutions, over the instant change of the French Revolution, turned out to be correct then and provides excellent guidance today.

Why does so much of the world demand indulgence now without checking the costs? Only Superhero fantasies are box office, and adults dominate the audience. Maybe that tells us something about our relationship with reality.

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