Category Archives: globalism

We Know Better, Part 3: A Sustainable Energy Future

Humankind is wildly and wonderfully inventive. From harnessing fire to cook our proteins to replacing foraging with farming, we historically keep developing ways to enhance our lives. From indoor plumbing to access to transportation, from electricity to the internet, we continually elevate our access to goods and services. In the last seven decades, abject poverty in our world has declined from 40% to 15% of the global population.

In the area of energy, the last three centuries have been amazing. From steam to coal to oil and gas, from geothermal and natural gas to nuclear and solar power, we keep inventing new ways to give more people access to affordable energy.

Development has its price, and we have had to work hard to clean up the ecosystems we damage with our progress. We all know about environmental disasters, from Three Mile Island to Love Canal, Chernobyl to Great Lakes pollution. For many sensitive to environmental concerns, these and other moments are a call for drastic action and the immediate end to fossil fuels. Add to this the apocalyptic language of climate change advocates and the stage is set for increased coercive national and international power to regulate energy and compel change.

What this history is lacking is the positive contributions of free markets and scientific progress to a cleaner future without massive transfers of wealth impoverishing the working and middle classes. All the policies of the UN, Davos, and a variety of non-binding agreements call for massive bureaucracies and wealth transfers that have no guarantee of any improvements in global temperatures. The price tag and Leviathan controls keep increasing. Several UN officials have admitted that even if all nations signed on to the Paris Accords and take drastic action, that the impact would be negligible. All officials affirm the real goal – wealth concentration and transfer that impoverished the middle class in the West as well as developing economies globally.

The current Administration has deliberately moved the USA from energy independence to skyrocketing prices and programs costing trillions in inefficient green technologies. What is never highlighted in most media are the tremendous quantum leaps in lowering emissions, increasing efficiency, and the research into true alternatives to fossil fuels. European nations have refired coal plants to power electric cars. Nuclear energy sustains much of Western Europe. The rare minerals and slave labor employed for batteries is not part of the narrative. We CAN recycle plastics better, make current fuels cleaner, AND develop new technologies.

The same people telling us to drive expensive electric vehicles buy their organic produce in local markets, with their arugula transported from family farms in diesel trucks. Line-caught salmon and tuna come to our shores in boats using regular fuel. Celebrities take private jets to lecture the masses about conforming to global governance. We can do better.

The way forward is not the “Good old days” of gas guzzlers and no environmental standards. We have come too far for that. We must refine current energy sources while we develop cost-effective new ones. Free markets must lead the way, not inefficient federal agencies. We need new oil and gas leases properly administrated. We need to commend Israel’s ability to supply energy to Europe without hindrance and favoritism to an aggressive Russian empire. Reasonable incentives for cleanliness and efficiency are helpful, but current draconian laws in California and elsewhere will only continue shrinking the working and middle classes.

This both/and prudential approach is what most people favor, except for the political and technological elites that believe they are the smart ones and should tell “the people” what they really need. We must shrink federal and global bureaucracies, and have more local and regional governance. We can improve our ecosystems while expanding economic opportunity, if we have courage and wisdom empowering creativity and innovation through free markets.

Real Questions, Thoughtful Answers, Part 3: Our Immigration Mess: A Hospitable and Secure Way Forward

I was in an airport restaurant recently and my server told me her family’s story of emigrating to the USA from Albania. After a decade of paperwork and hearings, and lots of hard work, most of the family members are now legal residents, and some are citizens. She asked me, “Why does the government tolerate the mess at the border with Mexico or let any Afghan into the country? We worked so hard to come legally, and they are giving more benefits to the people coming in illegally. Why?”

Here was a single mom, working 60 hours a week and grateful for her hard-earned citizenship upset about the chaos with “asylum seekers” and the “undocumented.” She also commented that she and her family had never taken a dime in welfare. How do we answer her honest query?

We start solving the current mess four ways: 1) learning from our history; 2) cultivating hope that solutions are possible; 3) finding courage to enforce current laws and reform broken systems; and 4) expose the nefarious motives of those who prefer anarchy over substantive solutions.

First, reckoning with our history helps us avoid arrogance as we see a rather challenging set of narratives. All nations and empires are founded with primary “tribes” and then learn to integrate others. In this essay, I am not focusing on the African slaves or treatment of Native American populations – those narratives are exceptional and warrant separate essays (coming soon in 2022!).

In the mid-19th century, the Irish potato famine sent many to our shores and they were often met with hostility by the WASP majorities. They, along with other Roman Catholic populations, were subject to marginalization and persecution. Over time, they found ways to assimilate and maintain their cultures, but as late as 1960 millions of American feared a Roman Catholic President for fear that JFK would be more loyal to the Pope that the USA.

The famous Ellis Island surge of the late 19th and early 20th century was a commendable moment in our history, yet there was extensive screening involved and not everyone was admitted. Many of these immigrants faced tremendous hardships, but America was the promised land for people fleeing poverty and persecution.

While Ellis Island welcomed millions, on the West Coast, The Chinese and Japanese immigrants were treated abysmally, especially the Chinese. The very people who labored on the transcontinental railway were subject to internment, severe economic restrictions and significant harassment. The scandal of the Japanese internment camps of World War II is well-documented, with justice too late in coming for many. A century later, both populations have flourished and consider themselves fully American while celebrating their cultures.

From the 1920s to the end of WWII, the USA closed her doors to most immigration and xenophobia was the order of the day. Even full knowledge of the Holocaust could not sway the State Department. When I share about the Middle East, this narrative will be prominent. We utterly failed as the land of liberty.

Since the 1960s, immigration policies have varied greatly and many more have found homes in our land. It is important to note that many Democrats, who today want unfettered immigration, opposed welcoming the Vietnamese refugees fleeing communism after the 1976 takeover of Saigon. It is stunning reading the words of apparently inclusive politicians. Of course, having thousands of hardworking immigrants that are living witnesses to the terrors of Marxism is quite uncomfortable for some. We do welcome legitimate groups fleeing violence, though the selectivity has varied with the administration in power. For example, it is currently much harder for Christians to flee persecution in Muslim nations than for Muslims emigrating from many nations.

Our border with Mexico has its own complex history, with alternating moments of hospitality and xenophobia. People of all political persuasions have avoided comprehensive reform out of economic (cheap labor) and political (assuming voter loyalty to one party) motivations. Those who desire more selective immigration policies are branded racist and those wanting easy pathways to entry are also offering more help to the undocumented than some of their own citizens.

Concerning points 2 and 3: We must cultivate hopeful realism that solutions are possible while being honest about the mess created since the 1960s. Enforcing current laws and screening immigrants for criminal backgrounds and COVID are reasonable steps.  Walls define borders – they can still have many hospitable gates. The massive amount of drug and sex trafficking, potential terrorist infiltrations, and disrespect for the rule of law and nature of a nation must be confronted.

Finally, comprehensive change will require courage to confront the cartels on the border, and the corrupt regimes allowing massive groups to march toward the USA. Courage is also needed to reaffirm the goodness of borders, national identity, and the privileges of citizenship, while offering reasonable pathways for millions of undocumented neighbors. There is no place for racism and xenophobia; likewise, voting must be only for citizens. The undocumented, while treated with compassion, should not receive more government help than US citizens. Illegal felons in prisons should be deported and enforcement increased. Dreamers should be placed on an expedited pathway to citizenship.

Avoiding globalism and xenophobia, securing borders, welcoming those who will contribute – all are possible if we have courage, humility, and wisdom. I welcome the faith and family-oriented friends that want the USA to be home…and I think we can screen out many threats to our civil life. May we find the way forward that is inclusive and wise.