The Lost Art of Connecting Dots: Part Three

As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. (Anthony de Mello)


The Lost Art of Connecting Dots: Part Two

These are tough days for environmentalists, climate-change alarmists, Green-New-Deal proponents, perpetual college freshmen, utopians of every stripe, garden-variety crybabies, and other purveyors of emotion over intellect, of ideologies over ideas. Why are they tough days? Among many other reasons, such folks believe sustainable energy (I love that kind of talk) is possible on a planet constituted by finite resources.

How’s that working out?

It depends. If you’re a liberal and you’re in charge of energy policy, it’s working out pretty well … for now. If you’re a realist and you’re in charge of your faculties, not so much. Even if you imagine the sun will last forever (it won’t) — and even if you imagine the wind will last forever without the climatological effects of the sun (it won’t) — the resources needed to convert the sun and the wind into electrical and kinetic energy are decidedly and disarmingly finite.

In this article — “Rapacious Renewables: How The Wind & Solar ‘Transition’ Is Devouring the Planet” — the Australian citizens group, Stop These Things, suggests just how finite those resources are, writing this, in part:

At the heart of every EV [electric vehicle], solar panel, and wind turbine there is a bevy of rare minerals which are fast becoming rarer thanks to our ‘inevitable transition’ to an all wind and sun powered future and the much-heralded (and overhyped) shift to all EV motoring … the materials needed to convert those resources into electricity — minerals like cobalt, copper, lithium, nickel, and the rare-earth elements, or REEs — are anything but. Some of them, in fact, are far scarcer than petroleum.

Wait. You mean we’re going to spend trillions of dollars, promise millions of jobs, and tax ourselves into individual poverty only to end up shooting ourselves in the foot? Well, dang! That’s a serious buzzkill.

As a matter of fact, we’re actually going to shoot ourselves in both feet. And it only gets better.

An idea is something you have; an ideology is something that has you. (Morris Berman)

Bitter Pills

Later in the same article, Stop These Things serves up a veritable cornucopia of tough nuts. To wit:

A typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional oil-powered vehicle … copper for electrical wiring plus the cobalt, graphite, lithium, and nickel … In addition, rare-earth elements will be essential for the permanent magnets installed in EV motors … Cobalt is another key component of lithium-ion batteries … it’s almost entirely produced thanks to copper mining in the violent, chaotic Democratic Republic of the Congo … Rare-earth elements encompass a group of 17 metallic substances scattered across the Earth’s surface … including dysprosium, lanthanum, neodymium, and terbium … approximately 70% of REEs come from China, perhaps 12% from Australia, and 8% from the U.S. A mere glance at the location of such concentrations suggests that the green-energy transition envisioned by President Biden and other world leaders may encounter severe geopolitical problems.

Yep. After raping the planet under the guise of saving it, we’re also going to buy ourselves in for even more global conflict. After all, we certainly don’t have enough of that these days. Yesiree, we’re going to double down on stupidity and gullibility with road-to-hell-paving good intentions and a pathological affinity for the Law of Unintended Consequences. And we’re going to deserve every damn thing we get.

The mascot for the new global elite to which we’re so blithely conceding the future of everything should be a blindfolded porcupine. It’s only a matter of time until we see selfies of people saluting it.

Ideologies are mental prisons that produce blindness. (Fernando Araya)

For the Birds

While they’re at it, Stop These Things has one more distressing piece of news we’d just as soon avoid and deny. In another article, this one entitled, “Carcass Count Mounts: Wind Industry’s Mass Eagle Slaughter Continues Around the World”, the group writes:

It gets harder to ignore the wind industry’s bloody and unnecessary slaughter of our feathered friends … Cars, cats and skyscrapers don’t kill Eagles … but 60m wind turbine blades with their tips travelling at 350Kph routinely smash them out of existence. Millions of tonnes of beneficial bugs get splattered annually, too, but no mind – this is all about saving the Planet, right?

Right. Who cares about birds? Let the Audubon Society duke it out with the climate-changing planet-savers. If those folks are capable of saving a whole planet, they’re perfectly capable of selecting the endangered species they’re interested in protecting.

If you want to make an omelet, ya gotta break some eggs, right? If you’re trying to save the planet, killing the birds that lay the eggs you have to break anyway is just collateral damage, just so many broken eggshells. And if the wind turbines are killing insects, too, what difference does it make if they’re also killing the birds and the bats that would otherwise rely on those bugs for nourishment?

Let’s get a grip, shall we, people? Yes. The climate-changing planet-savers have an agenda. But at least it’s not a hidden agenda. They want to replace the scarce fossil fuels they hate so much — you know, the ones that produce the carbon dioxide on which photosynthesis depends? — with even more scarce rare minerals and rare-earth elements because it’s good for … well, they’re a little sketchy on that part. And they’d really prefer it if you didn’t ask too many questions. But don’t worry: They’re doing it for us.

An ideologue is one who places agenda above truth. (J. Adam Snyder)

The Beat Goes On

The most important question, of course, is: What difference does any of this make? If we’re determined not to connect dots (we are), then we should be completely cavalier about the consequences of anything (we are). And if ignorance is bliss (it’s not), then all of this should be going to end swimmingly (it’s not).

There are very few things held to be universal truths. This is typically taken to be one of them: Nothing’s certain except death and taxes. That one actually falls down a little bit if you don’t pay taxes. But why quibble? Here’s another one that’s absolutely and unfailingly true: We don’t know what we don’t know. And that may be the key to everything. Here’s how:

Since it’s true that we don’t know what we don’t know, why connect dots at all? If we don’t know what we don’t know, if we have no desire to learn what we don’t know, and if we have no desire to know the outcomes or the consequences of what we don’t know, we should be happier than pigs in shit, right? And that should make us equally happy to follow the ideologues wherever they want to lead us. What could go wrong?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put up a wind turbine among the bird feeders in our garden.

An “ideology” is like a spirit taking up its abode in a body: it makes that body hop around in certain ways: and that same body would have hopped around in different ways had a different ideology happened to inhabit it. (Kenneth Burke)


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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  1. I never get tired of saying “Spot on, Mark” or “Hear hear!” Because making sense and putting facts out in the world should never become blasé or go out of fashion. The most disturbing thing about all of what you put forth is that the “true believers” who would oppose such thoughts and facts, will not even grant anyone the opportunity to discuss these things rationally. We are climate deniers, and therefore have forfeited our rights to sit at the table and discuss anything at all. I love this Mark, really, really, well done and well said. Thank you so much for sharing this.