1Q–2012 Activity Report: MasterResource
One thousand in-depth posts, 135 different contributors, and 1.2 million views to date–MasterResource has stature as a free-market movement-wide energy blog.
With 415 categories in our index, MasterResource is a lasting research tool, not only a day-to-day contribution to energy scholarship and current political debates. And we have achieved critical mass; ‘Google’ an energy-policy-related term along with MasterResource, and there we usually are!
Our content promises to stand the test of time. Our headlines do not have Stunner or Stunning as does a rival blog selling energy/climate alarmism. Our contributors are wed to reality, not to think-it-and-make-it-is-real and wish-it-and-it-can-happen postmodernism.
Wind Power Niche
One particular niche at MasterResource has been giving voice to the growing, articulate grassroot opposition to industrial wind parks. Such turbines generate a heavy environmental footprint, not only small, unreliable bursts of electricity. Our category, Grassroots Opposition, Windpower, is full of confessionals where former wind supporters saw the light of economic and environmental reality. Here are three from the past year:
* Walter Cudnohufsky: My One-Time, Tacit Support of Industrial Wind: A Confessional
* Michael Morgan: Why I Turned Against ‘Green’ Windpower
Regular contributors Jon Boone (see here and here); John Droz Jr (here and here); Tom Stacy (here and here); Sherri Lange (here, here, and here); and the tireless Lisa Linowes have helped make MasterResource a top thirty “green blog” (out of more than 10,000) according to Technorati (#21 as of March 12).
Countless hours spent by Kent Hawkins on calculating the lost reductions from (intermittent) wind power given fossil-plant cycling is another example of a great American (sorry, Kent, you are Canadian) volunteering time to do what is politically incorrect for the U.S. Department of Energy to do.
And posts by such concerned citizens as Brad Blake, Wayne Gulden, and, most recently, Mary Kay Barton evaluate wind in light of energy alternatives and national energy policy. (And who have I left out–apologies)
Expect MasterResource to continue to chronicle the growing Civil War between grassroots environmentalism and Big environmentalism.
MasterResource was conceived in late 2008 as a free-market-movement energy blog. Big names in the energy analytic field, including Ken Green of AEI, Marlo Lewis of CEI, and Jerry Taylor at Cato, lent their reputations and blogged to get things going. Climatologist Chip Knappenberger was recruited to cover technical science issues for the blog.
While not a megablog, ours is a high-quality contribution from not only the well known but also the talented ‘amateurs’ who do what far too many ‘experts’ do not do: uncover the inherent problems of politically correct, market incorrect energies. Comments from our loyal, sophisticated readership add substance to many of the in-depth posts.
MasterResource has covered a variety of energy issues on the state, federal, and sometimes international level. But our most active area has been the growing backlash against industrial wind turbines. MasterResource is a leading voice for citizens, environmentalists, and small-government advocates who have united against this intrusive, uneconomic, sub-quality, government-enabled electricity source.
MasterResource has become a ‘go-to’ blog in a number of key areas:
- Resourceship vs. Peak Oil (or gas). Our bloggers explain how and why the ultimate resource of human ingenuity in market settings allows the supply of ‘depletable’ resources to expand, not contract, even in the face of record usage.
- Sustainability. Our bloggers explain why government intervention in the name of ‘sustainability’ threatens energy affordability, availability, and reliability. We challenge the conventional view that carbon-based energies are inherently ‘unsustainable’ due to pollution, depletion, and man-made climate change.
- Energy Density. As scholars from Vaclav Smil to Robert Bryce have documented, the best energies are the ones that can produce the most power at the least resource cost. The future belongs to the efficient, and oil, gas, and coal are the prime-time consumer-driven choices.
- Renewable Energy Realities. Our many bloggers from the front lines of the windpower debate, in particular, have documented how wind fails the cost, reliability, capacity, space, noise, and health tests. Taxpayer savings and deficit reduction, anyone?
- Fallacy of “Green Jobs“. Our bloggers have applied Economics 101 to explain how and why consumer-driven jobs are sustainable while government-created bubble jobs are not.
- Climate Realism, not Alarmism. Chip Knappenberger has given MasterResource readers a reliable scientific voice on what the science does and does not say about the human influence on climate. And the balance of evidence does not favor alarmism.
- Historical understanding. Many of today’s energy debates are informed by often neglected studies and experience from the past. W. S. Jevons in his 1865 book, The Coal Question, basically refuted the notion that renewables could power the machine age. He also explained the paradox of why increasing energy efficiency will tend to expand total energy usage, not decrease it.
- Spontaneous order (in the Austrian School tradition). Outstanding developments in the industry that are ‘the result of human action but not of human design’ are highlighted, such as the oil and gas shale boom occurring in the United States and around the world.
- Objectivist philosophy. Objectivism believes in objective reality, which is core to the concept of energy realism (a respect for what is and what can be in light of technical, market, and political realities).
- Subsoil Privatization. Our bloggers explain why expanded reliance on capitalist institutions of private property, voluntary exchange, and the rule of law is the key to a better energy future for all, and particularly for the 1.4 billion who do not have access to modern forms of energy.
MasterResource advances the ideas of Julian Simon (1932–1998), the scholar who changed his mind about Malthusianism after reviewing the data and became a guiding light for realism and ensuing optimism.
Good Tone, Open Scholarship
MasterResource welcomes opposing views in our comments. We do not block critical comments except when couched in spite and argument ad hominem.
Economist Peter Boettke’s approach to scholarly discourse continues to resonate with us. “As we engage in debate with our intellectual adversaries,” he has stated, “we should remember three core rules of engagement:”
(1) the principle of charitable interpretation — always give your opponent the best interpretation of their argument and motives;
(2) adopt a value neutral analytical approach — strictly take ends as given and limit your analysis to the effectiveness of chosen means to those given ends; and
(3) always try to find common ground with your opponents with respect to intellectual curiosity and not necessarily policy conclusions.
Toward the Future
We continue to uncover talent that challenges the politically correct with reality-based energy insight. If that is you, or if you know someone who deserves a voice at this site, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can MasterResource improve? Let me know, and be sure to add your voice as comments on our weekday posts.
Prior MasterResource Activity Reports:
Opening post/comment (December 26, 2008)