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Roger Ebert Gives Oil Two Thumbs Down

Posted on June 20 2010 9:00 am
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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If you would think that, after a lifetime of reviewing films, former Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert would have learned storytelling through osmosis, I’m afraid you would be wrong. In a recent Sun-Times blog post, responding to the British Petroleum oil spill, Ebert spins a disjointed yarn. Deftly channeling the psychotic nature of the environmental Left, he appears to long for human suffering.

Ebert, an outspoken proponent of the Left‘s agenda, seems to echo President Obama’s Tuesday night speech from the Oval Office. The world is addicted to oil, and getting our fix is killing the planet. The solution: turn back the clock on consumption and embrace alternatives three heel-clicks away.

There’s obviously only one remedy: An energy revolution. We must reduce consumption and develop clean energy alternatives. We try to avoid this overwhelming fact.

Forgetting that Ebert’s suggestion would do nothing to stop the leak in the Gulf, or clean up the spill, his steps are reversed. Alternatives must be developed first. Even apes have the remedial thought necessary to grab the next vine before letting go of the first. At no point in our rise from flint to atom did humanity reduce its energy consumption before effectively developing an alternative. The reason is quite plain: If people had begun cutting back on wood before they could effectively use coal, they would not have survived the transition.

Ebert willfully ignores necessity. In his worldview, that of the environmental Left, energy consumption is somehow optional.

Oil is a convenient fuel for things we have come to believe we need. Automobiles. Airplanes. Air conditioning. Electricity is useful for such matters as lighting, television, the internet and traffic signals, but although I am no engineer I suspect we could produce a great deal of our electricity from alternative sources. Why doesn’t every house have solar panels? Why doesn’t mine? If we had no oil and were “thrown back to the Middle Ages” would that mark our end as a species, or rather just a transition back to an earlier state?

Ebert’s view of energy as luxurious convenience betrays his myopia. Perhaps he, living in the temperate Windy City, could go without air conditioning. Elsewhere, meanwhile, the ability to keep homes cool saves lives.

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