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The Psychology of Electricity

By Thomas Buckley

Electricity is magic.

It is everywhere and can be used by anyone – all you have to do is plug in or flip on and things spring to life.

It can do almost anything – heat your home, power your car, let you call that old friend halfway across the world or mock strangers on the internet, cook your food – you name and it can do it.

And it appears to do it without any noticeable immediate consequence; it is, like the air around us, just something that is and always will be.

Save for paying the bill and when the power goes out – almost always due to some other random intervention like a storm or a car wreck (unless you live in California or some other third-world region that suffers from “electrical insecurity”) – and that can be written off as a chance occurrence, like getting a stitch when riding a bike.  No big deal, it will be fine in a shortly.

Electricity is omni-present, omni-plentiful, omni-pleasant, and omni-purposeful to the point that nothing else is ever needed.

Or so we are told by the climatechondriacs and the investors in the technology and the foundations that get money from those investors and the media that depends upon both for revenue and content and the government agencies and the electeds who realize the potential of making sure that all the energy needed to power modern-ish (all need to do with less, of course) life comes from a single source, a source that can very conveniently be turned on or off on a political whim if so desired.

Not all electricity is equal, though – in fact, some ways to create electricity have, to not coin a phrase, two legs while good electricity has four.

Oil is bad because it’s dirty and comes from the ground and will always leak from its evil capitalist ships and pipelines killing countless whatever the cutest animal near the leak is.

Coal is bad because it’s dirty and comes from the ground and pollutes the air and is made by stupid poor people who – even though they should know better – voted for Trump.

Nuclear is just plain evil because of bombs and the power plants will inevitably explode and the waste is an eternal nightmare for which there is no answer.

Hydroelectric may seem clean but it is evil because its floods pristine lands and kills fish and destroys the environment – an environment that we all know will never ever change on its own – and is therefore the ethical equivalent of raping of Mother Earth.

Geo-thermal is bad because, well, we’re not quite sure yet but drilling into the sacred planet really feels like a disgusting violation and what if the planet needs that heat to keep turning or if the drilling – like fracking – causes inevitable instant earthquakes?

Tidal motion capture may appear fine but what about the fish and whales and birds and when you put icky machines underwater they could break and pollute the ocean.

Hydrogen?  Do you really want millions of tiny Hindenburg’s driving around?  Pass.

Natural gas and propane are now bad, by the way. In case you hadn’t heard, natural gas poisons people in their sleep, gives kids asthma, and is propping up the nefarious fossil fuel industry.

And, no, we haven’t changed our tune or are making up this real existential threat – we always thought gas had to go even when we were touting how clean and cheap and reliable and perfect it was to replace oil and coal a few years ago.  This campaign has nothing to do with the societal purchase or profits we stand to reap and this story, is just misinformation, disinformation, malinformation, and denialism that doesn’t follow the science and is paid for by big oil and we have nothing to do with literally weakening the United States while taking money from China and we just talked to our friends in certain places and you are now definitely on a list so watch out.

And on top of that, we have no idea what The Sierra Club was talking about in its “Beyond Coal” campaign except we know it wasn’t about using more gas and the guy we’ve never met from the Center for American Progress never declared in 2007 – was that even a year? –  that natural gas “may be the single biggest game changer for climate action in the next two decades.” 

Finally, both of these stories are misdisdeniamalism that deserve to be censored by the proper, knowledgeable, team playing experts –  https://issuesinsights.com/2023/05/05/were-taking-bets-how-long-before-environmentalists-start-attacking-evs/ and https://thomas699.substack.com/p/zenos-government .

Now, solar and wind are perfectly clean and perfectly capable of meeting all our power needs (maybe not all our power wants but we could all do with a bit less stuff, a bit simpler life, doncha think?) and are all around us.

Solar and wind are equitably distributed across the globe, reducing economic disparities (usually race and colonization-based, by the way.)

Who has not felt the wind in their hair, the sun on their face?  Those same universal blessings will now power our just and fair and clean world.  Solar and wind are free and everywhere, like the electricity they will produce.

Any reports to the contrary – like whale irritation, bird disruption, that the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow that the new jobs being created are not mostly overseas, and the transition may not be as altruistic as it really really is – are wrong and evil and funded by the repressive industrial overlords of the past.

Obviously, this is all propaganda designed to guilt most of the world into becoming simultaneously less stable and more poor and less free and more controllable while those with a stake in the new systems – the investors, the foundations, the NGOs, the government agencies, etc. – will see themselves raised to new heights of profit and power.

But it has been very effective propaganda for a number of reasons.

First, the people behind the new generation of electricity propaganda have a collaborationist media doing the pushing for them.

Second, the tech companies and various and sundry government agencies around the globe work very hard – and usually successfully – to make sure no other message except its version of “two legs bad, four legs good!” ever reaches the general public.  The Twitter Files have focused mostly on direct political speech, pandemic response, and the like but every single person has seen “proper context” corrective “information” next to postings that even if you agree with the premise but you merely hint that maybe things are moving too fast.

Third, the end result of a world connected to one power source is far more useful than propaganda for controlling an restless populace.  

Now, a person can go to a gas station, put solar panels on their roof, buy propane at the hardware store, use natural gas in their home, even cut down trees to burn for heat.  In other words, there are options other than electricity; there are literally millions of ways to not need to use electricity.

But imagine a literally all-electric world – you are reduced, confined, required to get the energy you need to live from one source, one centrally (by necessity) controlled source that everything you own runs on, one centrally controlled source that can cut the power to your specific home anytime it wants.

Conceivably – see China/social credit systems/central bank digital currency/”you’ll own nothing and be happy” and smart city concepts – that reasons for the power being cut will move beyond just being bill-related but conduct-related.  The power of energy as a social control level is nearly limitless.

But what about those roof solar panels?  Don’t they afford a level of independence?

For now, yes.  But note what recently happened in California of all places:  the amount of money the utility has to pay a homeowner for their excess power was slashed by 75%, unless you buy a battery system so you can sell it back at night when it will earn a bit more money.  

This new regulation will, say home solar advocates, drastically cut the number of new installations because one of the key selling points of investing in solar is that the system will eventually pay for itself.  Now – unless you get the very expensive battery storage system along with your new panels (only about 15% of solar homes have them due to the cost) – a system will simply not “pencil.”

This change makes future home solar arrays less feasible and rarer, in part in the name of overall grid stability and, of course, equity 

If it can happen in California, it can happen anywhere.  If it can happen to make the grid more “stable,” it can happen everywhere.

One of the current arguments is that renewable energy – except hydro – has already been a climate and economic bonanza.  

As to the climate claim, that is false, especially if you happen to look at the climate as a global thing which – duh! – it is.  The rare earths needed to make the First World’s gleaming white contoured electric utopia are very very messy to obtain.  Not only messy, but far too often just plain evil.

All-electric does not mean less pollution globally – it only means shifting the pollution to places where it becomes invisible to the western white woke wealthy people who want to both feel better about themselves and put more money in their bank accounts.  The pollution (and utter human and environmental degradation; state-owned Chinese multi-nationals tend not to put employee well-being or nature stewardship in their “mission statements”) is merely moved to, begging Al Gore’s pardon, a less psychologically inconvenient location.

Without China and India ramping down their fossil fuel use – which they will not and then there is the “we’ve got ours, now you stay poor” problem with even asking them to –  everything said now about climate change and renewables and goodness and cleanness is mere theater, a way to sell a very bad idea in a very pretty dress.

Here in California, we are extremely, infuriatingly aware of the cost, pointlessness, power grabbing, insider corruption involved in the electricity push.  The disastrous high speed rail project trying to improve its image by hysterically promising to build its own renewable power system. A system that cannot even support the current need let alone an electric future. The cognitive dissonance-inducing passage of a requirement to buy an electric car, and then five days later being told to not charge the car at night: all of this is what California is now and – if the climatechondriacs get their way – will soon be the rest of the nation and world.

The voltage-based greening juggernaut also has a very specific advantage: the public has far less of a technical understanding of where electricity comes from, creating a grey area into which the ElectroGreens can insert anything they want:

This essential invisibility of electricity is part of its green appeal.  When other fuels are used, it is readily apparent to the user – they can see the gas burning in the blue flame on the stove and every time they fill up the tank they vaguely remember from junior high that gas comes from dinosaurs that got smooshed a long time ago and now it’s what your car eats.

In other words, there is a certain noticeable physicality to fossil fuels, while electricity is simply on/off and pay the bill once a month.  It is the disconnection caused by this ubiquity that creates the psychological shield of simple ever-presence around electricity, making it nearly immune to “up-stream” (pollution, etc.) concerns and questions about being able to use more – a lot lot lot – more of it.

That very pervasiveness can be very persuasive as it hides the practical day-to-day details of the issues surrounding electricity – Will it be there?  How much will it cost? Is it reliable?  

In a solar/wind world, the answer to all three of those questions is, in fact, no.

But it is very very difficult to rely on market forces to replace a reliable, clean enough, usually pretty reasonably priced (again, sorry California) with a far more expensive, far less reliable system that solar/wind offers.  In other words, crappy products need government support to survive.

That is why the boards and commissions and electeds and agencies and foundations and NGOs and no-profits and green investors and ESG touters and climate activists and media – basically the entire “civil society” – must not only force it down everyone’s throats but get those throats to shout “Thank You!” and praise the new joy of a perfect world that has made those who just assaulted your economic, social, and civic freedom even richer and even more powerful.

And that’s the most amazing magic trick of all.

Thomas Buckley is the former Mayor of Lake Elsinore and a former newspaper reporter.

Originally published by the California Globe. Republished with permission.

For more on electric power, click here.

For more on California energy policies, click here.

Thomas Buckley
Thomas Buckley
Thomas Buckley is the former Mayor of Lake Elsinore and a former newspaper reporter.


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