It is possible to know everything about a person by knowing the answer to just one question; What do you think of the French Revolution? Elites throughout the world universally hail the French Revolution as the time when humanity - at long last - threw off the shackles of the past and advanced into the future, guided by nothing other than human reason. Of course this view of the French Revolution - which conveniently ignores the successful revolution in the United States which already took place - is a farcical chimera.
The French Revolution wasn't a triumph of the intellect or reason. It was a triumph of terror, and, as such, was a harbinger of the modern political movements that followed in the French Revolution's wake. Like all the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, the French revolutionaries assigned no value to the lives of people not willing to completely subject themselves to the universal ideals at the vanguard of the revolutionary movement. Maximilien Robespierre said it best in his 'Republic of Virtue' speech, "Terror is nothing other than prompt, severe, inflexible justice."
Even after tens of thousands had already died at the hands of the revolutionaries and their instrument of execution, the guillotine, their bloodlust and zeal both remained unslaked. The murderous madness reached its peak in July 1794. It was then that a handful of nuns and lay women were executed for refusing to submit to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. As the women were led to the guillotine to be executed one by one, they all continued to sing religious hymns and to pray. (1) It was an amazing demonstration of faith and strength, the impact of which would soon be felt across revolutionary France. Many people began to realize no amount of blood would ever satisfy the zeal of Robespierre and the other members of the 'Committee of Public Safety' (2). Approximately a 'decade,' ten days, (3) later, Robespierre and his henchmen were arrested and executed soon after.
In the ensuing chaos, the proverbial man on a white horse, Napoleon in this case, entered the picture. With the people clamoring for some sense of order, Napoleon was soon able to consolidate his power. Soon, all of Europe was plunged into almost fifteen years of continuous combat. Little wonder then that Edmund Burke, looking at all the revolutionary chaos in France concluded, "It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds can never be free. Their passions forge their fetters." After five French Republics - and counting - Burke's judgment on the French Revolution has been proven correct again and again.
Unfortunately, the French Revolution is not in the past. As mentioned above, the French Revolution still serves as the lodestone for elites everywhere today. It was this revolutionary mindset that allowed European elites to take the original and humble European Community for Steel and Coal (ECSC) from the 1950s and turn it into the unrecognizable leviathan known as the EU today. In today's US, we see this same revolutionary mindset in the discussions around climate change and the 'Green New Deal,' (GND).
During the French revolution, Notre Dame de Paris was converted from a cathedral into a 'Temple of Reason.' It was ransacked, looted and plundered, and eventually turned into a warehouse. (The geniuses at work during the French Revolution mistook the statues of the 28 biblical kings in the cathedral for French kings and beheaded the statues.) In their zeal to see the US obtain 100% of its energy from renewable sources, today's revolutionaries take a page from their French counterparts. However, instead of turning their attention to churches and anything relating to something other than a mere temporal existence, today's revolutionaries focus their attention on power plants. Rather than seeing them for what they are - the physical foundation of modern society and one of the principal bulwarks against society completely descending into chaos - power plants are a scourge that must be eliminated for the betterment of all.
So do the actions of today's 'revolutionaries' stack up against their ideals any better than the actions of Robespierre and the Committee on Public Safety? No.
The chart below shows the total renewable energy generation on a state by state basis. States are ranked on their per capita production of renewable energy, wind and solar. (4) What the data shows is that it is almost exclusively 'Red" states that are doing the most to promote renewable energy. Of the top ten states based on per capita production of renewable energy, all but two are among the 'reddest' Red states. (Kansas voted for Alf Landon against FDR in 1936!)
Even more telling, the home states of the GND's principal sponsors, Massachusetts (Markey) and New York (Ocasio-Cortez) have only made dismal progress against transitioning to renewable energy. Markey and Ocasio-Cortez want to remake the United States in an image they have judged best. Yet their states have made almost no progress against the goals these two have taken it upon themselves to impose on the entire country! In keeping with today's Easter spirit and as St. Luke put it, 'physician, heal thyself!'
Before closing this week's blog post, I want to highlight some additional inferences from this data;
- Texas produces more renewable energy than California, New York and Massachusetts put together
- California, with ten times the population of Oklahoma, only generates twice as much renewable energy as Oklahoma
- Massachusetts, with a population over twice as large as Kansas, generates only 20% of the renewable energy Kansas does
- When judged against the average per capita per hour consumption of electricity in the US, 1500-watt-hours per person per hour, California only produces 11% of its energy with renewables. (5)
Of course, the reason many of the 'Red' states do so well in terms of renewable energy generation is renewable energy generation makes a lot of sense in these states! In all these states, land is not terribly expensive - and renewable energy generation takes up huge amounts of land. In addition, all these states have very steady winds that routinely blow at speeds well-suited to wind turbines. It makes sense then that so many of these states make so much energy from renewable resources. However, the zealots behind the GND would ignore any sort of measured, common-sense approach to energy generation. Instead of developing renewable resources where it made the most sense, or even accepting the large amounts of CO2 reductions that could be achieved with coal and modern 'super-critical' power plants, the Robespierre's of today will truck no dissent on their vision for today' 'republic of virtue.'
Whatever dangers society might face from a few more parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, these dangers pale in comparison to those associated with giving zealots like Ed Markey and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez the power to remake society, or even the power generation industry, in the image they are uniquely able to judge best. The experience of the French Revolution proves this conclusively.
Sugar Land, TX 77478
April 21, 2019, Easter and Passover
PS - As always if you like what you read, please consider registering with the site. It just takes an e-mail address, and I don't share this e-mail address with anyone. The more people who register with the site, the better case I can make to a publisher to press on with publishing my book! Registering with the site will give you access to the entire Confederacy of Dunces list as well as the Financial Crisis timeline. Both of these are a treasure trove of information on the crisis and the long-running problems that led to it.
(1) Marie Antoinette faced the various indignities she was subjected to with the same grace and courage as the 'Martyrs of Compiegne.' Her husband, King Louis XVI, was executed in January 1793, and Marie Antoinette wasn't executed until October of that year. As some evidence of her great strength and grace, as she was approaching the guillotine she accidentally stepped on the foot of her executioner. Her last words were then, 'Pardon me sir. I did not do it on purpose.' As far as the 'universal' nature of French Revolutionary ideals are concerned, one of the main reasons Marie Antoinette was executed was her Austrian heritage. Finally, it was Marie's husband, Louis XVI, and not the French revolutionaries who supported the American revolution. Modern France and francophiles everywhere routinely and intentionally confuse this history, and attempt to advance the notion that the French revolution provided great succor to the American revolution which preceded it!
(2) A name straight out of Orwell's 1984 or the Soviet Union.
(3) To show how farcical the French Revolution was, and what an inflated sense of self the people who led it had, an understanding of all the various aspect of life that the French Revolution attempted to remake is a good place to start. Included among these aspects was the humble calendar. Weeks would now have ten days, a 'decade,' instead of seven. This had the convenient benefit of eliminating Sunday, the traditional day of rest and religious celebration. Months had three 'decades' and there were twelve months in the year. The five remaining days were then merely added to the end of the year to keep the calendar somewhat close to the actual solar year. Year 1 in the French Revolutionary calendar began with the dissolution of the monarch in 1792. What a bunch of buffoons.
(4) Data can again be found from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
(5) Total US per capita per hour consumption of electrical power is taken from total US energy consumption, 4,207,353 x 103 MW-hours, and dividing this figure by the US population (~320-million) and the number of hours in a year (8,760). See last week's post for the total US energy consumption figure. California routinely trumpets its progress on renewable energy, but the manner in which California judges its progress is meaningless. California judges its progress against the power that is produced in California, not the power California uses. (California imports huge volumes of electricity from dams in Oregon and Washington, and nuclear plants in Arizona, Palo Verde in particular). Moreover, California has been deindustrialized. Energy intensive products like aluminum or steel - which are used throughout California - have to be made elsewhere.