Seriously, how much of a pathetic loser do you have to be to start using Jonah Goldberg as the basis for a blog posting?
A PANTLOAD OF BULLSHIT: Just to understand why getting advice on oil production from Jonah Goldberg is like consulting Kate McMillan on race relations, one need only go back a few years to a piece by Doughy Pantload in NRO, in which The Pantload simply can't understand the problem with tearing up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge looking for oil. After all, it's not like it's going to ruin the scenery or anything, right (emphasis added)?
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is way over on the other side of Alaska, past several mountain ranges. ANWR is 19.6 million acres, about the size of South Carolina. And it's beautiful. Well, most of it is. But more about that in a moment. On the very northern cusp of ANWR is what is commonly called the coastal plain, a tract of flat tundra largely indistinguishable from other spots along the coast and throughout the region. This comprises about 8 percent of the refuge-but an even smaller fraction of its pretty scenery. Some of this area is already off-limits to oil exploration, permanently. Nonetheless, the U.S. Geological Survey — seconded by industry experts-believes there could be untold billions of barrels of oil in the swath still legally available. The oil industry says it would need to use only 2,000 acres-an area no bigger than Dulles Airport, outside D.C.-to get that oil. This footprint would be 50 times smaller than the Montana ranch owned by Ted Turner, who helps bankroll efforts to keep ANWR off-limits.
And if you can't trust the oil industry, well, who the fuck can you trust, right? What about New York Times columnist and actual economist Paul Krugman, who I suspect has pissed away more brain cells than The Pantload has ever had on a good day:
According to my calculations, my work space occupies only a few square inches of office floor. You may find this implausible, but I'm using a well-accepted methodology. Well accepted, that is, among supporters of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Last week Interior Secretary Gale Norton repeated the standard response to concerns about extensive oil development in one of America's last wild places: "The impact will be limited to just 2,000 out of 1.9 million acres of the refuge." That number comes from the House version of the Bush-Cheney energy plan, which promises that "surface acreage covered by production and support facilities" will not exceed 2,000 acres. It's a reassuring picture: a tiny enclave of development, practically lost in the Arctic vastness.
But that picture is a fraud. Development won't be limited to a small enclave: according to the U.S. Geological Survey, oil in ANWR is scattered in many separate pools, so drilling rigs would be spread all across the coastal plain. The roads linking those rigs aren't part of the 2,000 acres: they're not "production and support facilities." And "surface acreage covered" is very narrowly defined: if a pipeline snakes across the terrain on a series of posts, only the ground on which those posts rest counts; bare ground under the pipeline isn't considered "covered."
Now you see how I work in such a small space. By those definitions, my "impact" is limited to floor areas that literally have stuff resting on them: the bottoms of the legs on my desk and chair, and the soles of my shoes. The rest of my office floor is pristine wilderness.
It's scary enough that the work of someone like Jonah Goldberg gets into print. It's purely terrifying to think that he has admirers.
BONUS TRACK: And just because I'm in a giving mood this morning, I'll tear Goldberg (and, by extension, Mr. Penny) yet another orifice. Goldberg whines that one of the reasons oil is so expensive is, "(c) we have few oil refineries ...". Being the obscenely lazy type that I am, I'll let Paul Krugman handle that one as well from the same article linked above (emphasis added):
But the most nefarious aspect of the administration's energy propaganda is its persistent effort to link energy shortages to environmentalism — an effort that, it's now clear, has often been consciously dishonest.
For example, last spring Dick Cheney lamented the fact that the U.S. hadn't built any new oil refineries since the 1970's, linking that lack of construction to environmental restrictions. I wrote a column last May pointing out that environmentalism had nothing to do with it, that refineries hadn't been built because the industry had excess capacity. What I didn't know was that several weeks earlier staffers at the Environmental Protection Agency had written a scathing critique of Mr. Cheney's draft energy report, making exactly the same point. The final version of the report, by the way, doesn't say in so many words that clean-air rules cause gasoline shortages — but it conveys that impression by innuendo.
I think my work here is done.
BETTER AND BETTER. How can you resist clicking over to a piece that opens with, "I've started to collect ignorant statements from prominent people purporting to explain the price spikes in oil and gas." Go. Read.