Deceptive Solutions for Fossil Fuel Dependence Drive Prices Higher (Article)
The United States and most of the western world is suffering from what I call “The Phonacy”.
“Phonacy” is an amalgamation of the words “Phony” and “Fantasy.” The concept describes the fact that cultural elites talk about simple (but radical) radical solutions to complicated societal challenges that are completely disconnected from reality (Fantasy).
They speak with great conviction about their policy prescriptions as if every rational person knows their radical solutions will work (Phony).
The largest and most dangerous Phonacy today is the idea that the modern world is transitioning away from the use of oil, natural gas, and coal.
These resources are supposedly being replaced by wind turbines, solar panels, biofuels, electric cars, and other unnamed technological innovations. Of course, this transition is not happening and may never happen because fossil fuels are the foundation of the modern world.
All the “solutions” to our fossil fuel dependence are not just woefully inadequate, they are completely dependent upon fossil fuels for their mining, manufacturing, transportation, and maintenance.
If the elites (politicians, media, big tech, financial institutions) spoke realistically about supplemental energy technologies (wind, solar, EVs) they would refer to them as things we are adding to the energy mix to ease our reliance on fossil fuels as we broaden our energy portfolio.
That’s the sort of thing rational people would say. Instead, we get Phonacy talk saying, “We will decarbonize electric grids by 2035!” Or, “EVs will soon replace the internal combustion engine!” These proclamations aren’t just overly- ambitious. They are impossible.
Repercussions of the Phonacy
This Phonacy has created a situation where Americans are suffering from the highest fuel prices in history. Even worse, we are currently facing the prospect of gasoline and diesel fuel shortages.
The narrative that the U.S. could shut down pipelines, drilling leases, and refineries while cutting off capital to the oil and natural gas industry has been exposed as bad policy based on magical thinking.
Electric grids that serve California, Texas, the Midwest, New York, and New England states are all in danger of blackouts this summer and well beyond. Why? Policymakers advanced the Phonacy that adding massive amounts of wind and solar while losing thermal power generation would actually work. Grids have been significantly weakened as electricity bills are climbing fast.
How did we get here?
We’ve been slowly hypnotized by purveyors of the Phonacy. Most people know next to nothing about the energy resources that undergird their existence. That’s a mind-boggling failure in government policy and public education.
Instead of bothering to know how energy works, we trusted the policy prescriptions of the elites. Because of our ignorance we didn’t take the time to think through all the practical implications of what happens when policymakers attempt to rapidly make changes to enormous and enormously complicated energy systems developed over more than a century.
Most people are too busy with their own concerns to pay much attention to giant changes that threaten to upend their comfortable lives. That’s the price of living in the Phonacy.
This column is about energy, but energy does not exist in a vacuum. It is part of society and therefore the forces that create problems in the energy sector extend to other parts of the society as well.
The citizens of the U.S. are grieving over the loss of life in a series of recent mass shootings, especially the one that occurred in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen children and two adults lost their lives in an act of evil that defies description.
Within hours of the incident, Phonacy elites were screeching about the need for more gun control laws. They ignored all logic and data while pushing for their “solution.”
Of course, the real problem is the breakdown of the American family, the loss of community connection, the decline of religious faith, and the failure of people who knew the shooter to report his violent, unhinged behavior. Dealing with these core issues is difficult and defies easy solutions. It’s much easier to live the Phonacy lie that another gun law will make any difference.
When Covid-19 emerged, governments could have accepted the fact that the virus would not be contained. The best strategy was to protect the vulnerable and for everyone else to be cautious while going on with their lives.
Instead, people accepted the Phonacy prescription of widespread lockdowns, which ultimately devastated their economies and created a vast number of other social problems (such as the isolation of disturbed young men prone to commit evil acts).
During the Covid lockdowns the U.S. government flooded the nation with currency and the federal reserve created “money” out of thin air. This Phonacy prescription, which is obviously intentional currency devaluation, set fire to runaway inflation.
That’s why gasoline, and diesel are so expensive. Purveyors of the Phonacy ignore this reality and instead blame it on greedy oil companies and, of course, OPEC.
The Phonacy is a dangerous, destructive narrative that says there are simple solutions to complicated problems if only we allow the elites to make radical changes. Look for the Phonacy.
It’s everywhere. Just turn on the news, consume social media, or listen to most politicians. Belief in the Phonacy is more common than recognition of reality.
*Mark Mathis, Speaker, documentary filmmaker, video producer, and author in energy.
- Shale Blessings Squandered by Bad Policy (Article)
- Energy Eggs Need Many Baskets (Article)
- Growing risks to Russian energy supply to Europe keep crude on the boil (Article)