What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the average cost of gasoline per gallon in the U.S. increased 1.4 cents over the past week to $3 a gallon.
The average national price for regular unleaded gasoline increased 71 cents from one year ago and is quickly approaching the record $3.07 set last September, when Hurricane Katrina disrupted fuel supplies.
Some people think this isn’t such a bad thing. One such proponent of high gas prices is Matt Harrison at the Prometheus Institute, who penned an article stating three reasons that high gas prices are beneficial:
- High gas prices will repel us from oil development itself. Such a repulsion will dissolve the ties that now bind America to the affairs of the Middle East.
- High gas prices will encourage development of alternative fuels, making them more affordable (and more appealing) relative to traditional fuel.
- High gas prices make the United States safer.
This is all well and good, but I don’t buy it. In a theoretical world it might work, but I only forsee that happening if gas prices were to skyrocket to $5/gallon in a week. Instead, gas prices creep upward at a pretty slow rate, week after week, which reminds me an awful lot of the famed Sunday School lesson of the frog in boiling water.
Yes, I think gas prices should increase. But I think that if the high prices are to provoke a “call to action” and spur development and research in alternative fuel sources, gas prices need to increase at a staggering (and uncomfortable) rate. It sucks, but it needs to happen.