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Can Green Energy be Demythologized? (Part 2)

By Wayne Lusvardi and Charles Warren -- June 6, 2014

“Capitalism has a built-in incapacity to generate legitimations of itself, and it is particularly deprived of mythic potency; consequently, it depends upon the legitimating effects of its sheer facticity or upon association with other, non-economic legitimating symbols.”

– Peter Berger, The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions about Prosperity, Equality and Liberty

In Part 1 of this two-part series, conventional, market-based electricity was described as inescapably lacking an overarching myth that gives it legitimacy against postmodern renewable energy, global-warming ideology, and energy regulation in California. This insight comes from sociologist Peter L. Berger’s 1986 book The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions about Prosperity, Equality and Liberty.

Given Capitalism’s mythic deprivation, what then can be done, if anything, to re-legitimate cheap, clean or cleaner conventional energy and demythologize renewable energy?

Can Anything Be Done?

Why Is Clean, Cheap, Conventional Energy a Hard Sell? (Part 1)

By Wayne Lusvardi and Charles Warren -- June 5, 2014

“Capitalism, as an institutional arrangement, has been singularly devoid of plausible myths; by contrast, socialism, its major alternative under modern conditions, has been singularly blessed with myth-generating potency. No theory of capitalism can bypass this, so to speak, mythological inequality between the two modern systems of socioeconomic organization.”

– Peter Berger, The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions About Prosperity, Equality, and Liberty.

Why is it so difficult for cheaper, cleaner electricity— from nuclear and hydroelectric power, to cheap, lower-polluting natural gas-fired power—to compete in the ideological culture wars against crony-capitalist, semi-socialized renewable energy?

We would offer that one of the most helpful frameworks for answering this question comes from one the most unlikely of disciplines: sociology. Sociology in general is, accurately, perceived as antagonistic to rational economic electricity. But we are here referring to Peter L.