Friday, May 23, 2008

It's all ours

Michael Novak, whose usual gig is neocon outreach to the Vatican, takes up the job of justifying the USA's energy intensity --

But if we mean by “energy” only the modern sources of energy – electricity, the Franklin stove, the steam engine, the piston engine propelled by gasoline (and now by electric and/or hydrogen batteries), the processing of crude oil into gasoline, nuclear energy, the jet engine, the development of ethanol and other fuels derived from plants, and other devices – all of these except one were invented by the people of the United States, as their gift to the world. (The exception was the steam engine, invented by our cousins in Britain, and further developed here as well as there.)

In other words, the United States has invented nearly 100% of what the modern world means by “energy.” And it has helped the rest of the world to use 75%.

It's too tiresome to go through his entire list but he's just plain wrong about engines (German), oil refining (eastern Europe), and even the nuclear power one is a stretch since the intellectual work was done in Europe. And remember, Novak is, relatively speaking, one of the intelligent ones.

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