Freedom and Liberty
And in this day and time, surprisingly it’s “no”. Michael Walsh writes:
And bathrooms won, as Texas voters said to hell with with “equality and inclusiveness,” which they and the rest of the country are just now figuring out mean a wholesale destruction of cultural norms as the descendants of the Frankfurt School continue their merry work to overturn thousands of years of human history. The war against the Left is partly a fight over the language, which we are losing, and this is a good example. ”Transgender” bathroom “rights” has gone down in Houston. But it will keep coming back until heteronormativity is destroyed.
There’s always a line. Sometimes it surprises us when it is finally reached and crossed, but you can always count on that happening at some point. The line is the place in any cause where those who favor the cause push it too far and people finally wake up and say, “you know, this is BS.” Apparently the “transgender” nonsense is the “cause” that crosses the line.
The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance — Proposition 1 on the local ballot —would have extended bans on employment and housing discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national original and other classifications to gay people, bisexual people and transgender people.
What Houstonians figured out rather quickly is this had nothing to do with “equal rights”. It had to do with using the force of law to humor a special class who wanted to buck the norm for no good reason other than they could. Opponents called it the “bathroom ordinance”. Why?
Under the defeated ordinance, local businesses that discriminate against various classes of people — including transgender people using whatever bathroom they want — would face fines up to $5,000. The failed law specifically exempted religious institutions.
But everyone else? Well, they were on the hook for that $5k fine if they didn’t establish that men with penises who claimed they felt like a woman would be allowed to use the women’s bathroom. That idea obviously went over like a lead balloon in Houston:
By the wee hours of Tuesday morning, 95 percent of the ballots had been counted and 61 percent of voters opposed Proposition 1.
It only came to a vote because the Supreme Court ruled that the ordinance required the vote of the people it would effect, i.e. the citizenry. And the citizenry resoundingly sent a message to city hall. NO!
This, of course, doesn’t mean the issue will go away. Once started by the political left, they never seem to go away. However, they’re going to have to find a new way to approach the cause other than forcing it on people. Seems few, if any, of their “causes” are popular enough that the people want to enact them by vote. So control of government is more than just desired, it’s essential.
Anyway, hooray for Houston. They got this one right.
Bjorn Lomborg thinks it is. In today’s Wall Street Journal, he takes exception with the UN’s continued pushing for a “solution” for “climate change”, formerly known as “global warming”. Lomborg thinks that it ignores the real problems out there and this focus on global warming takes money away from them for what is, at best, a marginal problem.
In a world in which malnourishment continues to claim at least 1.4 million children’s lives each year, 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty, and 2.6 billion lack clean drinking water and sanitation, this growing emphasis on climate aid is immoral.
For instance, says Lomborg, according to a recent study, if the UN spent .57% ($570 million) of the $100 billion climate-finance goal on mosquito nets to help control malaria, it could reduce malaria deaths by 50% by 2025 and save approximately 300,000 lives.
Instead, the UN is more interested in the world’s largest wealth redistribution scheme. Somehow the scam has rich nations happy to pledge their citizen’s money and poor nations lining up to receive it. How much will actually go toward addressing the real problems Lomborg highlights is anyone’s guess, but if history is to be a guide, not much. There’s a reason the poorer countries are poor and that has much to do with who is in charge.
Anyway, Lomborg points to the obvious, or at least what should be obvious, in terms of this rush to be “green” and what the world (and the UN) could be doing instead:
Providing the world’s most deprived countries with solar panels instead of better health care or education is inexcusable self-indulgence. Green energy sources may be good to keep on a single light or to charge a cellphone. But they are largely useless for tackling the main power challenges for the world’s poor.
According to the World Health Organization, three billion people suffer from the effects of indoor air pollution because they burn wood, coal or dung to cook. These people need access to affordable, reliable electricity today. Yet too often clean alternatives, because they aren’t considered “renewable,” aren’t receiving the funding they deserve.
A 2014 study by the Center for Global Development found that “more than 60 million additional people in poor nations could gain access to electricity if the Overseas Private Investment Corporation”—the U.S. government’s development finance institution—“were allowed to invest in natural gas projects, not just renewables.”
Wow. Electricity. Its been with us for over a century. We all know its benefits. We all know how well its access could help lift those without it out of poverty.
Yet the UN is more interested in chasing the chimera of “global warming” and its unproven science. The reason, of course is power. Money and control equal power. And this scheme with $100 billion changing hands under the auspices of the UN offers undreamed of opportunities for those in the UN to engage in an unprecedented level of graft. There just isn’t the level of opportunity in helping the world’s poor gain electricity.
As you’ve heard many, many times … follow the money.
Thomas Sowell discusses the rash of political charlatans we’ve been plagued by over the recent decades.
He blames them for the condition we’re in, policy-wise. But he puts equal blame on “we the people” for continuing to support them and their policies:
Political charlatans are not the whole story of our social degeneracy on many fronts. “We the people” must accept our own share of the blame because we voted these charlatans into office, and went along with their ever-increasing power over our lives.
When it came to charlatans taking ever larger amounts of our own money to finance ever more big government programs, we stood still like sheep waiting to be sheared. We remained as meek as sheep when they turned schools into places to propagandize our children to grow up accepting more of the same.
All the while we had the power to vote them out. But we couldn’t be bothered to look beyond their magic words. Even now, many are too absorbed in their electronic devices to know or care.
Most voters, it seems to me, are like magpies – distracted by shiny things and never able to see the danger that exists in reality. Sowell uses “the legacy of slavery” as one of his points of discussion. I’m going to add a lengthy quote that pretty succinctly tells the story of how we allowed political charlatans to distract us with a problem that seems to not have existed and used it to gain greater control over our lives while, in fact, making the “problem” worse”
Here again, rhetoric distracts attention from questions about logic or evidence. The “legacy of slavery” argument is not just a convenient excuse for bad behavior, it allows politicians to escape responsibility for the consequences of the government policies they imposed.
Although the left likes to argue as if there was a stagnant world to which they added the magic ingredient of “change” in the 1960s, in reality there were many positive trends in the 1950s, which reversed and became negative trends in the 1960s.
Not only was the poverty rate going down, so was the rate of dependence on government to stay out of poverty. Teenage pregnancy rates were falling, and so were rates of venereal diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea. Homicide rates among non-white males fell 22 percent in the 1950s.
In the wake of the massive expansion of the welfare state in the 1960s “war on poverty” program — with the repeatedly announced goal of enabling people to become self-supporting and end their dependence on government — in fact dependence on government increased and is today far higher than when the 1960s began.
The declining rates of teenage pregnancy and venereal diseases in the 1950s both reversed and rose sharply in the wake of the 1960s “sexual revolution” ideas, introduced into schools under the guise of “sex education,” which claimed to be able to reduce teenage pregnancy and venereal diseases.
Black labor force participation rates, which had been higher than white labor force participation rates in every census from 1890 to 1960, fell below white labor force participation rates by 1972 and the gap has widened since then. Homicide rates among non-white males reversed their decline in the 1950s and soared by 75 percent during the 1960s.
None of this was a “legacy of slavery,” which ended a century earlier. But slavery became the rhetorical distraction for the political magicians’ trick of making their own responsibility for social degeneration vanish into thin air by sleight of hand.
Now you can point to many negatives the “War on Poverty” brought us … Sowell highlights the big ones. But the most important changes were two-fold. One: it created more dependency on government (and it helped tear the nuclear family apart among the poor) and it created an illusion that government (which mostly meant “Democrats”) cared more than any other institution.
The political charlatans had created a false problem and a false narrative which has had disastrous results in the long run. But those changes it created were manifestly worth it according to certain of the political class, because it increased their power. And the narrative that has been built about this program (and the “legacy of slavery”), along with the narrative that has created the “cult of the victim”, has hidden the huge problems created by government intrusion and instead has created a myth which says “more government is good government”.
So you end up with an entire segment of the voting public duped by this “shiny” narrative and either too lazy or too incurious to look below its surface. That’s the formula for political success on one side and national decline on the other.
The question, then, is how do the defenders of liberty catch the attention of the voting magpies and help them catch a clue? Facts apparently don’t matter. And alternate narratives don’t seem to stick.
If you can answer that question, you’ve hit upon a way to help save this country. I’ve been trying to come up with a way for 40 years.
I wish you luck.
Ah, yes … another sicko rampages and the same old bromides are offered as a cure. More laws. Fewer guns. Yatta, yatta.
Let’s face it, if restrictive laws were the answer, we wouldn’t have a drug problem, would we? And we’ve tried prohibition before, haven’t we? How’d that turn out?
What we have among the gun grabbers is an argument based on a false premise. It goes, “if we restrict or ban something (guns), we’ll have less of something (in this case, violence and death) else.” To believe that premise, you have to believe that the “something” is the problem and the only problem, and not anything else (i.e. the culture or human nature (or both)). You have to believe that if you “ban” that something (and in this case the “something” is an inanimate object), that alone will achieve the goal (less violence and death).
There is absolutely no rational basis for such a conclusion, especially when banned object is inanimate. Dumb. Can’t act on its own. It isn’t the “cause” of the violence and death. It may be the instrument, but the cause is holding the gun, or knife, or club or rock, or explosive.
The obvious extension of such thinking is cars cause accidents, spoons make you fat and beer makes us alcoholics. If we just banned them we’d have no accidents nor would we get fat and there would be no alcoholism. There is no one that will admit to believing that (and at least with the last, we have practical experience to refute the belief). Yet those who want gun control willingly put forward that argument when it pertains to guns and are amazed when others not only don’t agree but tend to deride them and their argument (and privately, they likely question their ability to reason critically).
So to those of you who know all of this already, I apologize. I know … basic reasoning 101. Nothing really magic here.
However, this is the argument those who would ban guns (and “cleverly” try to hide that in phrases like “common sense gun laws” and “more rigorous background checks”) use daily. And, unfortunately, there is a rather large segment of the population who abandoned critical thinking (and knowledge about history, economics and all sorts of important and useful subjects) a long time ago that buy into this nonsensical argument.
In the case of guns, those who would take yours also live with a number of fantasies they (at least when it concerns guns) consider to be fact and the underly their “argument”. A) Laws will stop unwanted actions and outcomes. B) Banning something effectively removes it from society. And C) Criminals will obey the law and the ban. Again, no thinking human being can intellectually buy into those fantasies. Laws don’t stop unwanted outcomes (they proscribe the behavior and punish the law breaker who behaves in that manner), banning usually has the opposite effect, creating a black market in the banned item (and giving it a certain chic) and finally criminals, aka “scofflaws” will not obey the law nor will they honor the ban. They never have … thus the name.
So, here’s my question – how do you argue with people who insist on fantasy based arguments?
Ok, so it’s sort of rhetorical – the answer, as you all know, is “you don’t”.
You don’t waste your time or your effort on people who seem unable to separate fact from fiction/fantasy and critical arguments from bunk.
The problem, of course, is if you remain silent, then the “low information” types are left with a single, screechy and strident voice that misrepresents facts and figures to back their fantasies.
And we all know that if they get enough of that type, things like “prohibition” happen (and frankly, it is a miracle of sorts that prohibition actually was repealed … government rarely gives up any power it gathers to itself).
If you want to see a civil war in this country, it likely won’t be about race, or abortion, or even a hundred other wedge issues.
It’ll be about guns and who is or isn’t allowed to keep them.
One of Mr. Obama’s stated campaign goals was to make big government “cool” again. If the latest Gallup poll is to be believed, he and his administration have done precisely the opposite.
Almost half of Americans, 49%, say the federal government poses “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens,” similar to what was found in previous surveys conducted over the last five years. When this question was first asked in 2003, less than a third of Americans held this attitude.
The reasons vary but the top four are telling:
Gallup does a bit of equivocating in its analysis, but finally makes a fairly obvious point about its results:
Still, the persistent finding in recent years that half of the population views the government as an immediate threat underscores the degree to which the role and power of government remains a key issue of our time. As a case in point, a question in this same survey asked Americans to name the most important problem facing the nation, and found that issues related to government were the most frequently mentioned. Plus, numerous other measures show that the people give their government some of the lowest approval and trust ratings in the measures’ history.
In the age of terror, citizens are finally waking up to what its cost in freedom has been. They’re finally beginning to notice that government has grown much more powerful, intrusive and costly. There seems to be more corruption and cronyism. They’ve also noticed it has become much less responsive and efficient. In fact, in many areas it is downright inefficient and broken. If you look at the top 4 reasons though, it’s the intrusiveness of government that has most people worried.
The survey deals with government as a perceived threat and it is clear, since 2003, that perception has grown by 19 points from 30% to 49%. That’s significant and, if I had to guess, will only go higher in the last part of the Obama administration.
The man who planned to make government “cool” again, as he has with so many of his other plans, has failed. In the long run, that’s a good thing.
I remember when flying was mostly a pleasant and enjoyable experience. Not so much anymore:
Not too long ago, flying could be a relatively pleasant experience, but executives focused on cutting costs have stripped away everything flyers associated with luxury or even dignity. Food, baggage handling, boarding in a logical manner: Things once taken for granted now must be paid for or done without. Flights are more crowded than they’ve been since World War II, when they were carrying troops.
Competition has winnowed all the perks out of the process (mostly due to the demand for lower fares), security has made the boarding process a nightmare and, frankly, rude and short-tempered people who simply don’t know how to act in public have killed off the rest of the enjoyment. As they like to say, “you get what you pay for.”
Is anyone else laughing out loud at Hillary Clinton’s latest ironically impaired attempt to relate?
I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault.
Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have a right to be heard. You have a right to be believed. We’re with you.
I hear Juanita Broadrick and Kathleen Willey agree. But Willey has a few words of her own in response:
“She believed what happened for sure,” Willey tells The American Mirror. “She just chose to ignore the plight of all of his victims, thus enabling him to continue to abuse and rape women in the future.”
Willey adds, “She’s a money-hungry hypocritical witch who will do anything for money.
“She’s a lying pig. I CANNOT believe that she had the gall to make that commercial. How dare she? I hope she rots in hell.“
Yup, so do a lot of us. One place we don’t want her, though, is in the Oval Office.
Bernie Sanders, the darling of the socialist left, has been getting a bit of traction against Hillary Clinton. In fact, Clinton is losing support so fast that even Joe Biden is considering entering his clown car into the race.
And what does Sanders bring to the table? Bigger government (much bigger), more spending (18 trillion, in fact) and much higher taxes. Wow, what a deal (one that has always appealed to the liberal left):
In all, he backs at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats pause. Mr. Sanders sees the money as going to essential government services at a time of increasing strain on the middle class.
His agenda includes an estimated $15 trillion for a government-run health-care program that covers every American, plus large sums to rebuild roads and bridges, expand Social Security and make tuition free at public colleges.
To pay for it, Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent running for the Democratic nomination, has so far detailed tax increases that could bring in as much as $6.5 trillion over 10 years, according to his staff.
And the “but the government is paying for my stuff” crowd is going wild over him. How do you explain to the economically illiterate where this is all headed and what the result at some point in the future MUST be?
Oh, and by the way, they’re not even trying to deny it:
Mr. Gunnels, the Sanders aide, said the campaign hasn’t worked out all details on his plan—for instance, his version might allow each state to run its own single-payer system. But he said the $15 trillion figure was a fair estimate.
So, let’s elect Bernie and double our debt!
Monday at North High School in Des Moines, IA, President Barack Obama said the notion that people who illegally come to live in the United States, as they have for generations, are suddenly now “less worthy in the eyes of God,” is “un-American.” Obama said, “This whole anti-immigrant sentiment that is out there in politics right now is contrary to who we are. Because unless you are a native American, your family came from someplace else. And although we are a nation of laws and we want people to follow the law, and I have been pushing Congress to make …” yatta, yatta, yatta.
Who is making the argument that anyone is less worthy because of how they ended up here? I think the argument is they’re “illegal”! There is no “anti-immigrant” sentiment. There is an “anti-illegal immigrant” sentiment since our laws prohibit it. As for the “native Americans” they were merely the first immigrants as their families “came from someplace else”, namely Siberia. And this guy, who refuses to enforce the laws about immigration already on the books has the temerity to lecture others about being a “nation of laws”. Ironic guffaw follows ending with a contemptuous sneer.
Did the Obama administration turn down a Russian offer in 2012 to dump Syria’s Assad?
If true, this was a staggering missed opportunity. The President’s string of misjudgments on the Middle East—on the peace process, Erdogan, withdrawal from Iraq, Libya, ISIS as the “J.V. team”, and Syria—is one of the most striking examples of serial failure in the annals of American foreign policy.
Generally speaking, what the President seems worst at is estimating the direction in which events are flowing. He thought Erdogan was taking Turkey in one direction; Erdogan was going somewhere else. He thought there was a transition to democracy in Egypt; there never was a prospect of that. He has repeatedly been caught flatfooted by events in Syria. And Putin keeps running rings around him.
Understanding the intentions and estimating the capabilities of people who don’t share his worldview are not our President’s strong suits.
And now, who is it again that Russia and Iran are reported to be cozying up too? Worst president ever.
Can’t take a break from ideology and politics to simply comment on a tragedy. The newswoman and cameraman who were shot and killed on a live TV feed this morning were apparently the perfect fodder for the White House’s anti-gun campaign:
The White House on Wednesday redoubled its call for tougher gun laws in the wake of a shooting that killed two television journalists in Virginia.“This is another example of gun violence that is becoming all too common in communities large and small all across the United States,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Wednesday.Earnest said there are “common sense” steps Congress can take to reduce gun violence in America without infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.
The facts simply don’t support the statement that this is becoming “all too common” anywhere. In fact, they say the opposite. It’s becoming less common.
Don’t forget, the Charleston SC mass murderer was given a government OK to buy a gun even though we found out the background check was faulty. That’s one of those common sense steps that we entrusted to the government and guess what failed?
Cooke frames their argument in the only way that makes any (common) sense and then takes it apart:
If there is an argument to be made, it’s that America has too many gun-related deaths in absolute numbers, and that this drop does not make up for that. Personally, I don’t know what people who say this really mean. As always, we start from where we are, and we are going in the right direction. That’s good, especially given that the positive changes have come at the same time as the laws have been liberalized and the number of guns increased vastly. Either way, though, it is simply not true that there is an “epidemic” or a “surge” or that shootings are becoming “more common.” It’s not even true that mass shootings are up.
In absolute numbers, the people dying in car crashes every day is too high, but you don’t see anyone pushing for the abolishment of cars. Unlike guns, they hold the drunk or reckless or incompetent driver at fault.
But in the era of postmodernism, “facts” are passe. Now it’s all about the narrative, and the White House has again pushed the narrative forward over the still warm bodies in Roanoke.
Never let a crisis (or apparently a tragedy) go to waste, huh?
Or said another way, anti-authoritarians v. authoritarians. Although the author of the cited article would like you to believe his “coined phrase’ describes a new movement, yeah, not so much. Some of us have been fighting this battle for over 25 years. That said, it’s an interesting article. Here’s the intro (read the whole thing):
A new force is emerging in the culture wars. Authoritarians of all stripes, from religious reactionaries to left-wing “social justice warriors,” are coming under fire from a new wave of thinkers, commentators, and new media stars who reject virtually all of their political values.
From the banning of Charlie Hebdo magazine across British university campuses on the grounds that it promoted islamophobia, to the removal of the video game Grand Theft Auto V from major retailers in Australia on the grounds that it promoted sexism, threats to cultural freedom proliferate.
But a growing number of commentators, media personalities and academics reject the arguments that underpin these assaults on free expression, in particular the idea that people are either too emotionally fragile to deal with “offence” or too corruptible to be exposed to dangerous ideas.
In a recent co-authored feature for Breitbart, I coined a term to describe this new trend: cultural libertarianism. The concept was critically discussed by Daniel Pryor at the Centre for a Stateless Society, who drew attention to the increasing viciousness of cultural politics in the internet age.
There is a reason for the sound and fury. Like all insurgent movements, the emergence of cultural libertarianism is creating tensions, border skirmishes, and even the occasional war with lazy incumbent elites. Some of these rows can be breathtakingly vitriolic, as self-righteous anger from social justice types collides with mocking and occasionally caustic humour from cultural libertarians.
It’s not a new trend, folks. It is as old as anti-authoritarianism – and that’s hardly new. But it seems, given the nature of man, that opposition to authoritarianism has always been an “insurgent movement”. For whatever reason, but primarily false “security”, we, as human beings seem to tend toward various aspects of authoritarianism. My guess is because freedom is hard and it allows a lot of things many of us find a bit hard to tolerate (which is part of the irony, since SJW claim to be “tolerant” but are mostly intolerant of any ideas but their own – and don’t mind looking for ways to stifle those they don’t agree with).
Anyway, I’ve been fighting that battle in this format (blog) for 12 years. Before that, a few years on usenet, and before the internet, on multiple BBS sites (you remember BBS’s where you used your dial up and nifty PK zip and PK unzip to send message packets). Authoritarianism didn’t begin when the internet was invented nor has resistance to it been a recent phenomenon.
That said, it’s good that it continues and, in the age of the internet, is growing even more than it was prior to the internet. That’s because people can find each other no matter where they may be. And, it seems, they’re doing so. That’s a very good thing. It allows “calls to arms” and those of a like mind to rally in opposition. Of course, that works for the other side as well, but, as has been my experience, when confronted with their own words, especially as they’ve tried to redefine them (especially when you deconstruct them), well, they are rarely ever able to explain the hypocrisy. The phrase “I don’t think that word means what you think it means” has never been more true with confronting SJWs.
The other important thing that happens is the anti-authoritarian arguments are now broadcast more widely, so for those who are interested, they’re readily available. Some folks know that what they’re hearing from the SJWs isn’t quite right, but they can’t put their finger on the explanation or counter argument. With the number of well written arguments now published on line in opposition to the authoritarian/SJW arguments, that’s no longer a problem.
Because of the internet, that formerly insurgent movement isn’t necessarily isolated to a geographic region or cultural group. It’s no longer necessarily “insurgent”. It now has the ability to spread and spread quickly. I find that to be a consummate “good thing”, even if some guy at Breitbart who is likely in his mid 20s, thinks this is all “new”.
My guess is most of us would agree that America seems to be in decline, but not for the reasons TIME magazine does. Much of the decline is centered in the politics and policies of the governing party.
But TIME is pretty sure that, given the study that they cite, the reason is … capitalism. Here’s the “it was great, but” reason:
“We looked at very broad measures, and at individual measures, too,” said co-author Hershey H. Friedman, a business professor at Brooklyn College – City University of New York. The most dangerous sign they saw: rising income and wealth inequality, which slow growth and can spark instability, the authors say.
“Capitalism has been amazingly successful,” write Friedman and co-author Sarah Hertz of Empire State College. But it has grown so unfettered, predatory, so exclusionary, it’s become, in effect, crony capitalism. Now places like Qatar and Romania, “countries you wouldn’t expect to be, are doing better than us,” said Friedman.
I wish those who opine about this sort of thing would begin to delink capitalism and “crony capitalism”. Because as soon “crony” is added, “capitalism” is no longer evident. Instead you have powerful corporate/social/political constituents helping write laws that raise bars to entry in a markets to impossible heights. You have the same entities suggesting regulations which have the same effect. Capitalism, in its barest essence, is a voluntary transaction between two free people which ends profitably for both. That’s it. When government begins intruding with regulations and laws designed to limit and protect certain constituencies, from corporations to unions, that’s not capitalism, whether you stick “crony” in front of it or not.
It is certainly cronyism. The government attacks, for instance, on Uber are rampant cronyism. They’re designed by government to protect an existing constituency that doesn’t like the competition (and has had a government granted monopoly for decades). Of course, in the end, it is the consumer – i.e. the citizen – who is hurt by this sort of cronyism.
And it appears that cronyism has gotten worse and worse over the past few years. So while America may be in decline, it isn’t because of capitalism.
It’s because of cronyism, government favoritism, or whatever catch word or phrase you wish to tag the phenomenon with. But leave capitalism out of it.
We were told that while oil prices were high, shale oil could be produced at enough of a profit to drill, but to expensive to continue if the prices dropped.
But efficiency and technical innovation have overcome that bit of conventional wisdom as Shale Energy Insider reports:
US shale companies have increased the number of rigs in the field for the first time in nearly seven months when oil prices were trading around $70 per barrel, compared to under $60 per barrel in the current market.
The number of rigs rose in almost every main shale basin across the US according to data gathered by Baker Hughes.
Industry experts have suggested that as a result of last year’s price crash, shale exploration firms have cut their break even costs by anything up to $20 per barrel.
“As much as anything else, the rise this week is a testament to break-evens coming down just over the course of this year,” said James Williams, president of energy consultancy WTRG Economics.
“Shale is a lot more resilient than we thought it was, and it means we’re going to be able to keep producing shale oil at a lower cost than we thought we could.”
Adding rigs is the primary way to gauge whether or not it is economically profitable for energy companies to drill for and pump the oil According to one analyst, the companies have been able to streamline their operations to the point their breakeven costs have dropped by about $20 a barrel. That’s huge:
A Bloomberg analyst suggested that the cost of drilling services have fallen between 20% and 50% with break even prices in parts of the Permian and Eagle Ford below $40 per barrel.
And what does it mean overall?
Director of upstream research for Wood Mackenzie, Scott Mitchell forecast that producers could add up to 100 oil rigs by the end of the year.
“Drilling rigs and fracking require a quite specific technical workforce, and there were a lot of layoffs as a result of the drop in activity.
“We may find the supply of people becomes short very quickly if activity ramps up, leading to price increases again,” he predicted.
That’s right … jobs and less expensive gas. Of course, most if not all of the shale oil drilling has taken place on non-federal land, and the market has been able to function without a great deal of governmental interference. It is providing both employment and a very important commodity at less expensive prices. Additionally, as it lowers its breakeven point, it buffers us against volume drops as the price of oil comes lower and other sources stop producing oil. With the lower breakeven point, they’ll continue to pump past the point where they’d have quit previously because doing so is still profitable for them. That helps ensure lower prices at the pump will be more common and more stable.
The market … a wonder we need to allow to work without interference much more often than we do.