Friday, August 17 , 2018, 6:40 pm | Fair 74º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Trent Benedetti: A Question to Ponder About Santa Barbara County’s ‘Green Jihadists’

“Should or should we not follow the advice of the galactically stupid?”

Lt. Daniel Kaffee, a Navy lawyer played by Tom Cruise in the movie A Few Good Men, asked this question.

It comes to mind from time to time, particularly when Santa Barbara County’s Green Jihadists are speaking.

What is a Green Jihadist?

We know what “green” describes. For many, it is an attitude that transcends ideology. For some, it is religion that deifies the environment.

“Jihad” is holy war; therefore, a “jihadist” is one who wages holy war. Jihadists make war against those who do not believe.

So, conjoining “green” and “jihadist” provides a term to describe one who worships the environment and opposes anything and everything they believe constitutes a threat to it.

Of course, we all know Green Jihadists consider the use of fossil fuels a threat to the environment. Therefore, they oppose fossil fuels.

Locally, this manifests as a seemingly endless war on oil and its production. That brings to mind the question quoted at the outset of this article.

As we ponder that question, let’s consider a ludicrous notion often advanced by Green Jihadists, and specifically attributed in recent days to Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara.

Apparently in response to something said about the importance of jobs provided by the oil industry, Williams said it only underscored the need to transition immediately to alternative energies so as to hurry along the jobs that alternatives will provide.

Let me get this: We need to do away with jobs we have now, do it sooner as opposed to later, and somehow that will accelerate the availability of other jobs.

Galactic might be inadequate to describe the magnitude of inanity in that thought, if thought were involved.

Did we have to do away with land lines to get cell phones? Did we have to do away with slide rules to get computers? Did we have to do away with horse-drawn carriages to get automobiles?

If alternatives can supply cleaner and less expensive energy that reliably meets our energy needs in all weathers, both day and night, then oil will soon be what black-and-white televisions are: obsolete.

But there is one very big obstacle to the obsolescence of oil: our need for transportation fuel. Ninety plus percent of our gasoline and other fuels comes from oil.

Consequently, the operation of almost all of our 300 million or so airplanes, automobiles, boats, buses, trucks, tractors and trains depends on oil.

Transportation fuels are not the only things in our daily lives that come from oil. Bicycle tires, motorcycle helmets, tennis rackets, golf balls, skis, surfboards and fishing rods are made from oil. So is soap, toothpaste, deodorant, lipstick, shaving cream and shampoo.

Unquestionably, oil will become passé. It will happen as part of a very natural and inevitable progression that results as innovation occurs.

The process may have already begun. If so, it will someday reach the proverbial tipping point and the transition from oil to something better will be irreversible.

Until we reach that point, we need to keep ourselves firmly rooted in reality. We need oil. We need the transportation fuels and other products made with it, the jobs the oil industry provides, and the tax revenues oil activities generate.

And we need the national security that comes with producing the oil we need and use. With that security, we will enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing the oil we use was produced in the most environmentally responsible way possible.

Green Jihadists want to ignore these realities. And that brings us back to Lt. Kaffee’s question.

— Trent Benedetti is a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Improve North County and a longtime local business owner. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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