[WSJ] On Saturday night we all sat on the couch with flickering candle light, sweating and talking. What did people do before the age of electricity?" my 11-year-old asks. "I would have killed myself," he moans.
Electrical power is the central nervous system of our modern economy and our 21st-century lifestyles, and living without it for a few days reminds us how vulnerable we are to being sent back to a pre-Industrial Age. Yet every initiative by green groups is focused on reducing our access to electrical power—although they never admit that explicitly.
This power outage was caused by a severe thunderstorm from Mother Nature, but I'm convinced that rolling brown outs are coming, thanks to the radical environmental movement that has taken hold of our body politic. Green groups, for example, have declared war on coal, which still produces about 40% of our electricity. The Obama administration is listening and slamming the brakes on coal production. This cheap and domestically abundant energy source is getting cleaner all the time, thanks to technological progress. But that doesn't stop a global-warming alarmists like James Hansen, a lead scientist at NASA, from likening trains carrying coal to the German "death trains" that transported the Jews to Nazi concentration camps.
...There's one more teachable moment from our three days in the dark. So many Americans—spoon-fed by a "go green" education system and media—live under the delusion that things were better in the past than they are now. Sure the economy is bad, but all we had to do is live for 72 hours without AC, TV, a dishwasher, a hair dryer and Google to appreciate how much progress has been made in the past 20, 30, and 50 years. Today a larger percentage of poor people have access to air conditioning than the average middle-class family did in 1960.