A Free-Market Energy Blog

Ode for a Holiday: Energy for All

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 11, 2021

“Energy and its appropriate deployment are … the most important modern indicators of the wealth and poverty of nations. Society and energy will merge in an unbreakable bond for the entire future of humankind.” (Michael Economides and Ronald Oligney, below)

Is today Columbus Day? Italian-American Heritage Day? Or Indigenous People’s Day, celebrating the culture and contributions of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians?

Maybe the second Monday of each October should be all of these things and Forgotten Man Day to commemorate those who have been forgotten, such as energy consumers in the forced transition to inferior energies, wind power and solar arrays in particular.

Every holiday invites a tie-in to energy: the master resource. I have written as much for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day (no links–could spoil the next time). So what for today’s federal holiday?

One energy theme for Indigenous People’s Day is the democratization of wealth from private ownership to the subsoil compared to blanket ownership by the sovereign. The reversal of fortune from private mineral rights was memorialized by Time magazine in this example back in 1958:

A few short years ago the docile Navajo Indians grubbed about in their 25,000 sq.-mi. desert reservation at the four corners where Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico meet. Disease-ridden, undernourished, ignorant, they lived in ramshackle hogans and crumbling shacks. . . .

Then, in 1956, big-time oil drillers on Navajo land hit the jackpot, and the dollars began gushing in. By last week, their numbers [had] grown to 85,000 … their treasury to $60 million, their ancient weapons supplanted by grosses of ballpoint pens, lawyers, bookkeepers, geologists, oil consultants—even a press agent. [Time, November 10, 1958, p. 31]

Beverly Hillbilly style, The Oil and Gas Journal provided this story back in 1919:

Some of the West Texas farmers who deserted their homes last summer in pitiful white lines of old prairie wagons are now going back in automobiles. Driven out by . . . drought, they are going back as oil men. . . . Stretches of land . . . from which the disheartened farmers departed . . . are within the new oil district. Some of the farmers who struggled, almost penniless . . . can qualify as oil magnates.

These examples of sudden riches are recounted in chapter 2 of my Oil, Gas, and Government: The U.S. Experience (p. 65), the point being that surface owners having mineral rights to the subsoil democratize wealth compared to ownership by THE GOVERNMENT.


The battle cry of the day should be energy for the masses, not an elite that can afford to use and propagate inferior, costly alternatives. ENERGY FOR THE PEOPLE, indigenous or immigrant, is a worthy theme.

I end with a quotation from Michael Economides and Ronald Oligney from The Color of Oil: The History, the Money and the Politics of the World’s Biggest Business (2000: 171):

Energy and its appropriate deployment are the most critical of all wealth-generating activities, and they are the most important modern indicators of the wealth and poverty of nations. Society and energy will merge in an unbreakable bond for the entire future of humankind.

Amen, this holiday and every future one.

One Comment for “Ode for a Holiday: Energy for All”

  1. Kennyt  

    Does anyone know the name of the first Indian, Alaskan Native or Hawaiian(4000 miles is a long row to the Caribbean) who first set foot in the Americas??? We thing we should definitely build them a statue or two and just leave the Columbus statues alone…


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