A Free-Market Energy Blog

Reflections … and the Year Ahead

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 4, 2021

“Soon enough, citizens and voters will wise up to the false promises and cronyism of political energy. MasterResource will be an intellectual resource to help win the day for the master resource and the human ingenuity behind it.”

There is life outside of energy research and related public policy. I discovered some of it during the last ten days with limited responsibilities on the avocation/vocation front. But it is time to re-engage–and take time to look back and forward.

A Look Back

MasterResource, “a free market energy blog,” just turned twelve years old. In our inaugural post (December 26, 2008), I wrote:

We are just getting started here, but some of us veterans of the energy debate from a private property, free-market perspective have teamed together to offer our thoughts on late breaking energy items. When I read my newspapers each day, I have some thoughts that I wish I could share with folks from a historical, worldview perspective. I think we all have something to add—and thus the inspiration for this endeavor.

We have a good core group of principal (and principled) bloggers, as well as a growing list of guest bloggers. We aim to post new material most work days. What we have to provide to the reader is frequent insight so that you visit us regularly.

Some of the original principals are gone (Jerry Taylor switched sides for fun and profit), but new voices have emerged from a variety of places. We feature grass-root environmentalists energized by the economic and environmental harms of industrial wind turbines (and solar arrays). Lisa Linowes, Sherri Lange, and others fill this niche. We have critics of the growing movement to ban natural gas such as Mark Krebs and Tom Tanton. California water and energy expert Wayne Lusvardi has enriched our content, as has Texas energy expert Bill Peacock. The beat goes on.

When MasterResource was launched, Barack Obama was ready to take control of the presidency, bringing an Al Gore penchant against mineral energies to the fore. The free-market energy movement was gearing up; IER expanded to Washington, DC in 2007, and MasterResource began the next year as the first general-movement blog.

Here is some more explanation from our inaugural post:

There will be some trial and error, but this is the time to launch. President-elect Obama and his team have little concept of history in the energy debate–what W.S. Jevons said about renewable energies in the 1860s or the perils of U.S. energy regulation learned from wartime planning and the 1970s. Some of us will dwell on this to add some unique perspective to the debate.

By the way, our blog name is inspired by the late Julian Simon (1932–1998). He labeled energy “the master resource” because it is the resource needed to bring other resources from a state of nature to one of human usefulness. Simon also used the term “the ultimate resource” to describe human ingenuity. As the institutional economist Erich Zimmermann once said, resources come from the mind, not the ground.

The post ended with a plea for open debate:

I do hope mainstream journalists and many other open-minded individuals will come our way in the great energy and climate debates. The Obama march to energy statism needs a lot of debate. Big Government Democrats are not the cure to Big Government Republicanism. Oil, natural gas, and coal are middle class, working class energies. Wind and solar are for the rich. Windpower, in particular, as my friend Robert Bryce has put it, is the ethanol of electricity. Maybe, just maybe, these parasitic, inefficient energies will get the scrutiny they deserve from all sides of the political spectrum.

Three thousand posts from nearly three hundred contributors later, we begin a new year.

Looking Ahead

From Al Gore to Barack Obama to Joe Biden–the climate alarmist/forced energy transformationist wing of U.S. politics carries on. With the controversial, problematic Green New Deal on full display, the strategy of the energy interventionists is to get through the back door what an informed Democracy rejects frontally (cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, etc.).

Long gone is the Democrats’ concern for the energy interests of the average person: everyday electricity users, motorists not wanting to depend on mass transit, rural dwellers dependent on propane, natural-gas and fuel-oil users in the Northeast. Higher energy prices is conservation, right? Dilute, intermittent, inferior energies are saving the planet, right? The Democrats, in other words, have been high-jacked by Malthusian environmentalists and a new set of crony capitalists.

President Trump identified and mobilized a new demographic: the forgotten man and woman. He served them well in many things energy (but could have been better on free trade and ethanol mandates, in particular). He was and will be the energy president, raising the bar and heightening expectations for affordable, plentiful, reliable energies–the ones that consumers naturally prefer and that leave taxpayers alone.

It is this legacy that will live on–and hamper energy interventionism in the Biden era. Soon enough, citizens and voters will wise up to the false promises and cronyism of political energy. MasterResource will be an intellectual resource to help win the day for the master resource and the human ingenuity behind it.


  1. Don B  

    Rob, please keep doing what you are doing. The nation needs more common sense.


  2. Kermit Hoffpauir  

    IMO, he could have done better getting rid of some of the inane EPA regs which have hampered clients of mine.

    The Free Trade issue goes away when handcuffs are taken off of American Entrepreneurs as they can make many of the same products imported at a lower cost and equal or better quality. That is why most of them even though hampered by the tariffs were not against them. The EPA actually hinders innovators from cutting hazardous waste streams by recovering salable products from them. The regulatory hurdles and legal fees incurred make many such efforts cost negative.

    What I have found via experience (and that of clients) is that Europe has many fake “green” regulations to keep U.S. goods out of their markets, an example being toothbrush machines which inserts the bristles into a toothbrush.

    Since November, I have had numerous cancellations for orders of equipment for innovative new demonstration plants and startups due the the threat of new regulations, mostly of the insane variety.


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