Jonah Goldberg

That hardly sounds like a country that's been dedicated to "drilling our way" to anything. The issue isn't just oil. Gas prices largely hinge on refining capacity. But, as John McCain observed this week, "There's so much regulation of the industry that the last American refinery was built when Jerry Ford was president."

A lot has changed since Barack Obama was 13. No one knew what an iPod, e-mail address, Web browser, CD, DVD or Post-It Note was. Fax machines were cutting edge, the space shuttle was a pipe dream and cloning was science fiction. Global cooling, not warming, was the fashionable doomsday scenario.

And yet, we act as if technology has remained frozen since the days when it made sense to "dial" a phone number.

So much for the supposedly failed policies of the past. What of the winning policies of the future?

When they want to seem mainstream, anti-carbon crusaders insist that we must achieve "energy independence" to "end our addiction on Middle Eastern oil."

This makes it sound like their real motive is common sense or national security. We're not anti-oil, we just don't want to fund our enemies. That sounds reasonable, and it is a legitimate position -- it's just not the one they actually hold.

If energy independence were their real goal, not only would oil, coal and nuclear be on the table, but you'd hear more lamentations about our "addiction" to Canadian oil -- a bigger source than Saudi Arabia.

Instead we are treated to an endless stream of intellectual jibber-jabber and nonsensical argy-bargy. We need to be energy independent, but we can't use the energy sources we have. We need to switch to ethanol fast, but we can't import cheaper ethanol from Brazil. We must increase gas taxes to wean ourselves from fossil fuels, but when gas prices go up for any other reason, it's a crisis, even a crime. We're told we'll get nowhere drilling our way to independence or lower prices, as if windmills will do the job (stop laughing).

We shouldn't fight "wars for oil," but the self-imposed embargo on our own oil makes us even more dependent on the foreign oil we're allegedly going to war over. And, of course: We're told to reject the failed policies of the past, when the policies that have failed are the real old ones merely being sold as new.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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