Ann Coulter
Al Gore's idea of "standing up to 'Big Oil'" is for all of us to ride bikes and wear heavier coats in the winter. We're supposed to ratchet back our expectations so that we don't disturb some migratory bird by drilling for oil in Alaska.

This is nothing more than warmed-over Jimmy Carter lecturing us to turn down the thermostat as he sat by the fire in that ridiculous cardigan sweater. Democrats love energy policies that don't involve the creation of new energy. They just want to harangue us into giving things up. "Environmentally friendly" means a life of austerity.

What does he think we are -- Swedes? We're Americans. This is a prosperous country. We will not live like Swedes. We want 18-ton Ford Exploro-cruisers, cell phones, CDs, hot showers, blow dryers, DVD players and jet skis.

Fuel is the metric of prosperity, and conservationism is an acknowledgement that we are in decline of prosperity -- that this is the beginning of the long bleak twilight of civilization. If you posit that we have fixed energy sources and we have to ration them, then we are dying as a species.

The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man's dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet -- it's yours. That's our job: drilling, mining and stripping. Sweaters are the anti-Biblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars -- that's the Biblical view.

Producing oil isn't so bad for the environment anyway. During World War II, our boats were going at breakneck speed to get oil to England (what with the war and all). There were oil spills everywhere. Half the beaches in the United States were slathered in oil. Six weeks later all the birds were back.

You couldn't get rid of the environment if you tried. Alaska is immense, caribou love the Alaskan pipeline, they've grouped there, frolicking and leaping over the pipeline ... but I'm lost in an irrelevancy. The point is: We need oil for our CAT scan machines, airplanes, computers and refrigerators.

Al Gore billed his energy plan as "a new, bold way of thinking" and then went on to propose tax credits for solar-powered cars and hand implements for farming. (These are some of the "right people" deserving of tax breaks under a Gore regime.) If Bush is in the pocket of the "Big Oil," then Gore is in the pocket of "Big Windmills."

Bush responded by saying, That's not an energy policy! He sensibly proposed that we explore for more oil with the latest environmentally sensitive technologies to ensure our lessened dependence on OPEC and oil-controlling lunatics like Saddam Hussein.

Let's see, who should go get the oil from our domestic oil reserves? Big Jell-O companies? Big Car companies? The trial lawyers? No! The oil companies. Somebody has to get the stuff that runs our DVD players and allows us to go to the bathroom indoors. Being for a free market in oil is called being for "Big Oil."

Meanwhile, pretty much every "energy crisis" this country has ever experienced can be traced back to some government policy mucking up the free market.

President Nixon was the first to instigate government interference in the oil market. He instituted "Project Independence" in 1974 with the expressed goal of making America independent of foreign oil. Just 15 years later, America's dependence on foreign oil had risen from 35 percent to 45 percent.

Sweater-wearing Jimmy Carter instituted his own macho energy policy, Project MEOW (Moral Equivalent of War), against foreign oil. He established import quotas, placed rations on oil and signed a "windfall profits" tax.

Anticipating nuts like Gore, Carter also encouraged the development of alternative sources of fuel, including oil shale and solar power. (And that's why we're all driving solar-powered cars today.) Congress jumped on the nut-case bandwagon and issued an official declaration stating that bicycles are "the most efficient means of transportation." This was a really loopy country in the '70s.

Massive gas shortages ensued, gas lines became interminable serpentine nightmares, and America's reliance on imported foreign oil doubled. Finally, a man entered the Oval Office and rescued the country from its terminal silliness. On the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, his first executive order was to lift all energy price controls. Oil prices soared in the short term (damn those oil companies!), but as a consequence, domestic production and exploration skyrocketed -- triggering a 20-year low in oil prices.

Bush will give us a free market in oil so we can afford to keep the lights on. Gore will boldly lead us into the post-industrial Dark Age. Cardigan sweaters or SUVs? Over to you, America.