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


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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >