April 26, 2011 -- The link above is to a website that will search for the cheapest gas. If you're curious about the larger problem, read on.
It was fortunate America began to build oil derricks in Pennsylvania about the time Wyatt Earp met Tom Mix. The La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angles were about to become more than a source for kerosene -- in those days, a fuel for lanterns and a common ingredient in cough syrup. This is because Henry Ford was in the process of inventing mass production. Car building in his garage would soon expand into a profession that would change world economics so dramatically that the term "revoluton" would be an insufficient descriptive.
That gooey stuff found from Los Angles to the Atlantic shore was going to be needed in large amounts, very soon -- not only for the cars and tractors, but also as a fundamental ingredient in the roads the cars needed.
A brief history of roads
The term "road" may come from "roadstead," which is an ancient reference tied to sailing ships. It has to do with ports, bays and seas. Man's first land roads were animal paths. The first actual man-made road was probably made for trade -- a passage for teams of animals that hauled trade goods on their backs. Most likely, this road was created because it served the commercial or military needs of two or more city-states which were located in regions which had something to sell to each other, and no waterway to make the connection.
The military aspect had to do with getting a lot of soldiers to a place that was far from a navigable river or bay. Ancient Rome figured out that the best way to control an Empire without being required to keep fifty different armies in foreign countries was an all-weather system of roads. They made theirs out of flat stones embedded in a mix of sand or gravel, and dirt tamped down. The Appian Way is the most famous of these ancient roads. Some of them may still be seen in England.
The invention of steam engines created the "rail road." They were America's first national highways. Most local roads in those wild west days were just plain dirt, and did not connect this town to the next. So, the only long-distance roads were made of rails.
Then, Henry invented the Ford. Mass production made it so cheap to purchase that the people who built them could own one. Somebody running a freight line made of wagons and teams of horses, decided that trade goods could be carried to towns that weren't located on a railroad, and the freighter became a trucker. Since bad weather makes dirt roads impassible in most places for most of the winter, a hard surface like the old Roman roads was needed.
Enter the petroleum-based, or tarmack surface. Poured hot onto a base of gravel, it hardened into a path rain wouldn't melt -- and being quicker to build per mile than the old Roman ways, it was dramatically cheaper per mile.
Once more America, the land of innovation, had both created and solved problems. (In ths case, made it cheaper to move more goods and people a lot faster than a horse could go.)
A revolutionary land
There's a lot more than can be said on these subjects. Good stuff about bridges, the first offramp, the introduction of water runoff and channeling shapes. But, I'll leave the fundamental stuff for another piece. The important thing for you to know is that all of what you've read here so far has to do with "dynamism."
That is the secret to the modern world. All previous civilizations invented things which served the needs of royalty. Egyptian pharoes, ancient kings and emperors and so on. The dynamics (energy/creativity/industriousness) of all the nations on the planet for all the history of mankind until America were about the requirements of the royal top dogs and dogettes. The Founding Fathers, tired of that system, made a nation where the government served the people instead of the other way around. The dynamism released by this new political process pulled the cork out of the bottle and allowed an ocean of ideas to bubble up.
Capitalism (the creation of paying jobs financed by private, not government, capital) revealed itself as a dynamic fundamental economic force.
In a phrase, freedom turned America into an explosion of creativity that produced a world power in a fraction of the time it had previously taken. The price of economic growth was cut to a fraction because the wealth was generated without war.
That was more than an American Revolution. It was a world revolution.
Oil is the blood of freedom
The modern personal vehicle, and the roads it uses, was the key. It allows individuals to go where they please, when they please. Progressives (socialists/communists/fascists) hate the personal vehicle. The reason has nothing to do with their stated objections, like the effects of oil, natural gas or coal-based energy which they tell you are destroying the Earth's atmosphere and land habitats. That line is pure baloney. It is a cover justification that hides their true reason for despising the automobile. (photo: Henry Ford)
The real reason for their hatred is as simple as can be. Unlike the mass transit they favor, the personal vehicle represents independance (freedom) from government control. The car made the suburbs possible. People don't have to live in the city to make a living. They are de-centralized. The private car makes them free to purchase land that isn't priced beyond their means, and to build their own castle thereupon. For thousands of years, only royalty owned land. I don't know which American first said it, but he was a philospher the likes of Plato: "A man's home is his castle."
You must understand that the Age of Kings is not gone from the Earth. It flourishes all around the planet, still. It is called by various names in various places. Progressivism, socialism, communism and fascism. North Korea or Venezuela, Angola or China, it's all just a new name for the same old thing: monarchy.
Monarchy, even with its new names, is a system which is based on the destruction of freedom for the common man. Automobiles, unlike trains and busses, represent this freedom -- that is, a minimum of centralized control of the activities of that common man. And, as I have already stated here, it allows him to create his own personal kingdom.
All wealth, in the end, is property based. The more people who own land, the wider the distribution of wealth. In a kingdom, the citizens are equally impoverished because the king owns all the land, including what is under it.
Obama hates freedom
Call it a kingdom or a socialist/communist/fascist state, those whose egos are fed by power find it impossible to control a society based on the freedom of the individual. If the king (Dear Leader, these days) doesn't own everything, the royalty doesn't rule everybody. It's as simple as that.
They want to control all the guns for the same reason. They want to control all sources of information -- what we call the "media" -- for the same reason. They want to control all the schools for the same reason.
Now you know why they hate cars. Your car makes you a king, too.
President Obama is a Progressive. A collectivist. He wants America to be an "ordered" society. As long as people can go where they wish and live where they wish, America will remain a disordered, dynamic (creative/personally ambitious) place.
Why does gasoline cost so much?
I left highschool before the Sixties began. Gasoline then cost ten cents a gallon. But, the Progressive (socialist/communist/fascist) movement that had been at work here since the beginning ot the 20th Century hadn't accomplished much back in my day, yet. Then, the Sixties happened, followed by President (L.B.) Johnson's Great Society, and the subsequent decades of "social" legislation. Using the cover premises of social justice, fairness and so forth, laws were passed and bureaus created which piece by piece began to break down the freedom-based dynamism of this nation.
I'll skip the part about the techniques they used to turn Henry Ford's invention and the roads it generated into the bailout of General Motors, mass-transit, green property restrictions on land development and all the rest. I'll just say that via taxation and regulation of both personal and business activities, they're damn near there. America is on the verge of becoming what they want -- and that vision is not one of dynamic freedom.
It will be a collectivist nation, run by rulers from the top down. You will live where you're told, work where you're told, eat what you're given and speak only in the approved manner.
One of the blocks to that accomplishment is the private vehicle. It is the very symbol of individual freedom, and must be defeated. One of the tools that can be used to defeat it is the cost of using it.
When you can no longer afford to use one, you are at that moment dependent on government for your transportation. You will have to live in a place which is served by mass transportation. That place will not be your own home.
The Price of Personal Power
Obama says he wants to keep an eye on fuel speculators. All the airlines in America use avation gasoline of one kind or another. Prop or jet, they all use that fuel. That is why the largest of those carriers are "speculators." Commodity traders. They buy "futures" on fuel, trying to protect themselves from rising petroleum prices.
If you owned a thousand trucks that carry products to local stores, you'd do the same thing. The majority of what you the citizen purchase comes to that grocery, furniture, restaurant, building supply, shoe and drugstore in one of those private business vehicles.
If you owned a large rail line powered by diesel-electric engines, or a fleet of container ships with similar motive power, you'd be in the futures market for the same reason.
The Progressives like Obama know that. In public they call the futures investors robber barons. In private they say, "If we can block freedom of individual transportation plus the large private carriers from the highways to the skies, we have our hands around the national private neck. We can slowly strangle them all, and bring down private commerce and every suburban commuter in this land."
So, now you know
Their tools are many, and include things from closing down private exploration and development of energy sources to simply printing so many dollars at the mint that each one is worth less than before, which means it will take more of them to buy the same gallon of fuel.
And, the Endangered Species Act can be used as a hammer to shut down American oil development. Read this: A Lizard from West Texas (related text link at the bottom)
Decently priced fuel is the energy blood of a private economy. By not telling you that America has greater untapped reserves of such fuel than Saudi Arabia, their description of "dependence on foreign oil" when combined with "Oh, my god, the dirty industry is destroying the planet" -- has you by the throat. (photo: Early Great Plains derrick)
I repeat, America has more natural gas, coal and oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. Some estimates have it as: more such untapped energy sources than the rest of the world, combined. Properly exploited, these resources would supply all of this nation's energy needs for at least 100 years. (Do an internet search on "Colorado oil shale" to learn something very interesting about this subject.)
They tell you in your local newspaper and television news that we must turn to "clean" energy sources. They don't tell you that these sources cost from ten to fifty times more than carbon type fuels. They don't tell you that wind and solar don't produce a watt of power when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining. What they do tell you is that it would take years to tap these reserves I have just described, then they turn around and tax you for billions to research and develop their green sources -- which will take as many if not more years to bring efficiently online.
They don't tell you that commodity prices are, in large part, based on the human emotion called fear. If tomorrow morning, Obama turned into Reagan and announced that America's energy sources would be opened for development immediately, the news would dramatically drop fuel prices in a matter of weeks.
My only question, here, is whether or not you will remain sitting there with a stupid look on your face (placed there by the liberal media and the liberal schools). I am curious if you will ever come awake, or if like a frog being slowly boiled, you will just watch the bubbles rising around you until your fuel, and so your freedom, is gone.
Are you the sheep they've conditioned you to be, or is there a spark of intelligence still left in your brain? Will you, or will you not, cast off the Progressive fairy tale and cut the bonds of creeping socialism?
That is the question.
Here's irony for you. If you don't awaken, since America is the home of freedom on the planet, then the Earth will become a collection of nanny-state socialist/communist/fascist monarchies.
So, everybody's future -- whether dynamic or gray -- depends on you.
Related West Texas lizard URL:
Should this lizard go active on the endangered list, it literally could shut down oil and gas operations in portions of southeast New Mexico and in West Texas, including the Texas' top two oil producing counties -- Andrews and Gaines -- for a minimum of two years and as many as five years.
Original text © 2011 Oregon Magazine