2017 Open Letter to West Point Class of 1972
Oil Famine occurs when social, political, or capital instability fractures oil's long and fragile supply chain. Syria collapsed into Oil Famine in 2010. The US nearly collapsed into Oil Famine in September 2008.
Logistic trends indicate that the crisis of 2008 will replay before 2023. Without action to exercise the self-discipline to be energy self-reliant, this next economic crisis will become America's next domestic war, Oil Famine.
In 1998, it became clear to me that the oil-wars since 1991 would continue as long as America is funding our enemies with oil-dollars. So began a 19-year effort to build JPods solar-powered mobility networks and a study into oil capital/infrastructure. It has been an incredible lesson in civics and why the Constitution is worded the way it is.
My hope is that our class will accomplish what I have failed to achieve in 19 years by:
- Aligning the US Army’s Principles of War with our republic’s Constitution.
- Rallying the nation to become energy self-reliant by publishing a Premortem of the Paths to War.
Timeline forbidding, then creating Oil Famine
Life requires energy. Less energy, less life. Nations are formed to wage war to secure energy.
- 1773: Boston Tea Party - A demonstration against a government transportation monopoly
- 1775: Revolution
- 1776: Declaration of Independence
- 1777: The Articles of Confederation - Adopted to form the United States and wage war on the King.
- 1788: The Constitution - Divided Sovereignty, replacing the Articles of Confederation because they had proved incompetent at waging war in the Revolution and enforcing the peace (Shay's Rebellion, skrimishes between NY and NH over Vermont, etc.). Sovereignty is divided as such:
- War: Federal government unlimited taxing powers for the limited sovereighty to wage war and suppress paths to war.
- Crimes and civil disputes: States have sovereignty over crimes and commercial disputes.
- All else: People have sovereignty over all liberties not enumerated as sacrificed in written Constitutions.
- 1788 to 1860: Illicit Energy - Federal support for energy outside self-reliance from slavery built the path to war. Federal support for slavery mixed commercial self-interests and war powers.
- 1788 to 1916: Enforcement of the "post Roads" restriction.
- 1860-1865: Civil War
- 1916: The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1916 - Federal support for Illicit Energy from foreign oil addiction in direct violation of the "post Roads" restriction began.
- 1970: US Peak Oil - National debt and oil imports increase in tandem.
- 1991: US oil production depletes to 3/5th. Perpetual oil-wars required to secure foreign oil.
- 2008: US production depletes below half, triggering the Great Recession. Zero interest rates causes $300 billion to be invested in Fracking with boom of 4 mb/d.
- 2015: Fracking boom busts resulting in bankruptcies. Fracked oil wells deplete much more quickly than conventional oil wells. Approximately 1,600 rigs are required to sustain the 4 mb/d boom. As of Sept. 2017, there are only 950 rigs in operation.
PREDICTION: Before 2023, US oil production will drop below the crisis levels of 2008. Oil Famine is not caused by having no oil. Oil Famine occurs when social instability fractures oil's long, brittle, and capital-intense supply chain.
National debt (red, above) increased in tandem with oil imports (black) until the Great Recession exploded borrowing.
My guess is that when US oil production drops below 7 mb/d, capital will collapse, as nearly occurred in September 2008. Not only will US oil production likely freeze, but borrowing to buy foreign oil will probably collapse as well. We should expect a sudden 95% decline in oil energy as experienced in Syria in 2010.
Syrian Peak Oil was in 1996. At 3/5ths of Peak, social stress triggered the Arab Spring. Capital stopped investing; oil’s long capital-intensive supply chain shutdown. Syrians experienced a 95% reduction in access to oil energy within 18 months. Oil’s supply chain collapsed into Oil Famine, war, and mass migration.
Venezuela has extensive oil resources and has been collapsing into Oil Famine since 2014. In 2018, mass migrations are following the Syrian example.
Mexico's oil production decreased by 27% between 2014 and 2018. Social instability will likely follow if economies do not implement sustainable solutions.
Life requires energy. Less energy, less life.
The coming US Oil Famine has been well understood since 1956:
- Dr. Hubbert's 1956 presentation of US Peak Oil by 1970
- Admiral Rickover's 1957 speech on "energy slaves" - Illicit Energy is the dependence on energy outside self-reliance.
- Federal support for foreign oil exactly repeats the path to war of Federal support for slavery.
- 2005 ABC-Australia documentary on Peak Oil (currently off line)
- Energy Economic - Part of the Crash Course by Chris Martenson
- Eight Presidents declaring oil addiction a threat to national security
- Proved by oil-dollar funded terrorism and oil-wars.
Shifting a major infrastructure requires 40 to 200 years. Federal socialism, the Federal highway monopoly in violation of the Constitution's "post Roads" restriction, caused the loss of 46% of freight railroads and has blocked the digitizing of transportation networks since Morgantown's PRT opened on Oct. 24, 1972. As with the near century of rotary telephones under Federal monopoly, there has been a century with the transportation efficiency of the Model-T. Had the Constitution been enforced, free markets would have used the half century of depleting US oil to retool to alternative, lower costing, sustainable networks.
Lessons from 19-year effort
Life requires energy. Cheap oil energy is finite. Lives and nations powered by cheap oil energy will collapse into war and succumb to Oil Famine before 2023. There is much we can do to mitigate the coming domestic war.
- The Constitution specifically guards against Federal misconduct which rebuilds known paths to war.
- Enforcing the Constitution provides the remedy for the crisis we are facing.
- Restoring liberty to communications infrastructure in 1982 resulted in millions of jobs being created, delivering better services at lower costs.
- Restoring liberty to innovate power and transportation infrastructures can repeat that success.
Why a Premortem
Paths to war build over time. The Long Gray Line can institutionalize the means to aggregate the wisdom that extends over time. If every class, at every reunion, publishes a Premortem of the Paths to War, it would force introspection and provide those who follow a clearer understanding of how our awareness fails. Had we done this since 1802, we would have a much deeper understanding of the differences between foresight and hindsight in what shapes paths to war.
The coming Oil Famine (domestic war) has been building for 150 years. It is slow and massive. It is like being on a heavy train headed for a canyon where the bridge is out, but the train only moves at one mile per day. Back in the 1950s, people used to walk ahead of the this train, see that the bridge is out, walk back, and issue warnings such as Admiral Rickover’s 1957 “energy slave” speech. Rickover and Dr. Hubbert predicted US Peak by about 1970 and oil-wars by about 2000.
US Peak Oil in 1970 proved the validity of their warnings. Wars actually started in 1991. They did not have foresight, they simply faced the logistical and geological facts.
Despite a clear and present danger, despite oil-wars, despite mounting debt, despite oil-dollar funded terror attacks on America, despite Climate Change, despite calls to action by eight Presidents, nothing substantial has been accomplished by the Federal government or by the Army to mitigate the coming Oil Famine.
Principles of War
As adapted from Sun Tzu and Von Clausewitz, the US Army’s Principles of War are the critically important recipe in preparing for and winning wars. Indicators of where the current Principles fail are:
- The failure to answer the calls by eight Presidents to exercise the self-discipline to be energy self-reliant.
- The borrowing of $20 trillion against the liberty and future labor of children.
- The nearly perpetual, undeclared wars ending in stalemates for the past half century.
- Failure to address Artificial Intelligence and robotics.
- The lack of awareness of and preparation for the coming Oil Famine.
The current Principles were written for autocratic governments, wherein the will of an absolute ruler dominates. In our republic, winning wars requires rallying the will and ability to win of the sovereign citizens through clearly defined objectives that have been stated in a formal Congressional Declaration of War. Common Sense, The Declaration of Independence, and The Crisis set a standard for engaging Americans in a clear purpose with clear and repeated explanations of the need and scope of sacrifice.
Adding two Principles of War might create the introspection required to correct where the current Principles fail to prepare for and win wars:
- Inclusive Institutions. Our republic is powered based on the citizen as the sovereign, the consent of the governed. The lesson of America’s founding, the ending of slavery, and the Civil Rights movement is that the sovereigns, the citizens, must be skilled in the use of force to secure and sustain their sovereignty. The framers understood this when they created West Point, an institution dedicated to training leaders in the ethical use of violence, subordinated to a written Constitution.
Four books are recommended for greater depth on essential need for Inclusive Institutions:
- The Federalist Papers. Focus on #7, #9, #10, #45, #51, #62
- Why Nations Fail, the Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty
- The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics
- How the Mighty Fall, and Why Some Companies Never Give In
Inclusive Institution failure: With the 14th Amendment, West Point failed the Constitution by not integrating the officer corps. We failed to be an “inclusive institution.” We failed to “provide” for the defense of liberty for a large part of the American people. Had we acted properly, the entire era of Jim Crow government-enforced racism would have been countered by leadership.
Terrorism is a distributed threat. Terrorism can only be defeated by a total police state that sacrifices liberty, or by a distributed defense with every citizen skilled and willing to mitigate the threat to the community. The All Volunteer Army fails to create a distributed defense. Citizens are sheep to be slaughtered by enemies, without training, without the will to survive, and without bonding of comradeship to the community.
In the coming Oil Famine, the social fabric is more likely to shred into anarchy and predatory behaviors without the bonds of comradeship.
- Sustainability. Our duty is to “provide for the common defense” of liberty for ourselves and our Posterity, forever. Eight Presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama, called the nation to end this foreign oil addiction. Yet today, Federal violation of the written Constitution subordinates the survival of America to a 48% dependence on foreign oil. Federal infrastructure mandates Americans to consume twice the energy of any other developed nation. Unconstitutional Federal monopolies force dependence on foreign oil.
Adding Sustainability to the Principles of War may rally the Army to answer the calls-to-action of eight Presidents.
Life requires energy. US oil production has been depleting since 1970. Lives and nations powered by debt buying oil seem highly likely to end before 2023.
Failure to be inclusive and sustainable has rebuilt the two known paths to American domestic wars.
Paths to War
Who eats lunch and who is lunch illustrates the violent nature of life. Humans band together in communities to increase our chances of obtaining the energy to live and reduce our risks of being lunch. Because we are not angels (Federalist #51), we form governments to monopolize violence to coerce compliance with laws in our communities and to wage wars with foreign communities.
We the People, the sovereigns, in ratifying the Constitution, specifically divided sovereignty between two types of governments to monopolize two types of violence:
- The Federal government mandated to “provide” for the defense of liberty, to coerce behaviors which create paths to war when possible, and to win wars when engaged.
- The Federal government is specifically restricted to only “promote” the general welfare. Powers that we as sovereigns did not specifically enumerate as sacrificed in the written Constitution are retained by us.
- As sovereigns, we may delegated to state governments such powers we choose to enforce civil and criminal laws, as long as those laws do not violate unalienable Rights.
History proves it essential that we, the sovereign citizens, use these two types of governments to wage wars to enforce our sovereignty and inalienable rights. We used state governments in the Revolution and the Articles of Confederation to replace the general governments. We used the Federal government to enforce a mutual covenant to defend the union in the Civil War and defend liberty by ending Jim Crow. Federally mandated oil addiction set the path to another war before 2023.
Federalist #28 (Hamilton):
“Power being almost always the rival of power, the general government will at all times stand ready to check the usurpations of the state governments, and these will have the same disposition towards the general government. The people, by throwing themselves into either scale, will infallibly make it preponderate. If their rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress.”
This Divided Sovereignty, this two types of governments for two types of violence, is repeatedly explained in the Federalist Papers as summarized in Federalist #45 (Madison):
"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State."
Five Presidential veto messages explain the Preamble, “post Roads”, and “Ports” restrictions of the Constitution. In the Progressive Era of the “living Constitution,” however, the prohibitions against creating a “needful” majority (Federalist #10) were ignored and the two known paths to domestic wars between Americans have since been rebuilt by Federal infrastructure policies. The Tyranny of the Majority that tolerated slavery, the sacrifice of a racial minority, was replaced by a Tyranny of the Majority that sacrificed the non-voting minority of children.
Federal mercantile policies binding the survival of America to debt buying foreign oil will result in the most expensive war in American history. Federal infrastructure monopolies have rebuilt the known paths to domestic war.
Life requires energy. Illicit Energy is dependence on energy outside self-reliance.
The Civil War resulted from Federal support for:
- Illicit Energy from slavery.
- The expansion of slavery into the western states, with legislation such as the Missouri Compromise and the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
- The expansion of slavery to the entire nation with the Dred Scott Decision.
Oil Famine is coming because the unconstitutional Federal transportation monopoly that mandates excessive consumption and denies liberty to innovate cleaner, faster, safer, and more affordable mobility networks.
Americans have a 48% dependence on foreign oil because Federal infrastructure and housing policies mandate twice the energy consumption of other developed economies. Similar to all developed economies, about 85% of Americans live in cities. By country, per capita gasoline consumption is 7,032 liters of fuel per year in the US but only 2,997 in the UK, 3,610 in Japan, and 3,811 Germany. There would be no need for foreign oil if Federal infrastructure was as efficient as other developed nations.
Safety also provides a clear metric. The Personal Rapid Transit (PRT or podcar) network built as a solution to 1970 US Peak Oil in Morgantown, WV has delivered 110 million oil-free, injury-free passenger-miles. Meanwhile, in that same period of injury-free mobility, 1.7 million Americans died on roads. Thrill rides at theme parks have an injury-rate of 4.5 per million. DOTs have a death rate of 106 per million.
All Federal infrastructure monopolies violate the written Constitution:
- In 1918, Wilson nationalized communications and socialized power and transportation infrastructures as “natural monopolies.” There was nearly a century of rotary telephones until the Federal communications monopoly was declared unconstitutional in 1982. Since liberty was restored, millions of jobs have been created, delivering better services at lower costs.
- Watch the Mother of All Demos in 1968 to see that the technology existed decades before commercialization.
- In 1935, FDR’s Rural Electrification Administration removed energy self-reliance and resource depletion as market forces, wiping out the entire distributed energy industry that was delivering 100,000 windmills per year. Crushed was all the progress made toward achieving what Thomas Edison noted as practical in 1910:
"Sunshine is spread out thin and so is electricity. Perhaps they are the same, Sunshine is a form of energy, and the winds and the tides are manifestations of energy.”
“Do we use them? Oh, no! We burn up wood and coal, as renters burn up the front fence for fuel. We live like squatters, not as if we owned the property.
“There must surely come a time when heat and power will be stored in unlimited quantities in every community, all gathered by natural forces. Electricity ought to be as cheap as oxygen...."
- Eisenhower’s Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 removed efficiency as a market force. Despite averaging over 400 ton-miles/gallon efficiency, half the freight railroads were left bankrupt or abandoned. Meanwhile, Federal highway and housing policies caused American cities to sprawl. The survival of America was subordinated to a foreign power, made dependent on debt buying foreign oil.
Taxation without Representation
Debt beyond 19 years is a tax on future labor. Recommend reading Jefferson’s letter “The Earth Belongs to the Living.”
Federal policies mandating dependence on foreign oil caused national debt to increase in tandem with oil imports. As a result, $20 trillion in Federal debt imposes a $63,000 tax on the liberty and future labor of every child without consent. This is Tyranny of the Majority - mortgaging children for cheaper gas prices today. It repeats the defects of slavery and is essentially Taxation without Representation.
To me, the only moral difference between selling a man into slavery for $63,000 and borrowing $63,000 against the liberty and future labor of a child is the use of time to delay and confuse accountability. Instead of slave labor, the young will experience anarchy, misery, famine, and war when they can no longer service our debt or push it off onto their children. In the graph below, the Fed’s borrowing bubble is matched with depleting US oil production before 2023.
Quantitative Easing, a third path to war
The government spending borrowed money and printing $85 billion per month rebuilds the path to the French Revolution, transferring wealth from the many to the few. Money printing causes the wealthy to see the value of their assets appreciate in value. The young and the poor, those who must exchange their labor to buy assets, see the value of their labor debased. The Occupy Movement is organized around this government violation of inalienable rights, depriving people of their property rights in labor.
We can mitigate the worst consequences of Oil Famine. We can lead the nation by publishing a Premortem of the Paths to War, calling for:
- Victory Gardens. If everyone strives to grow 1/3 of their own food, a collapse of the oil supply chain will be hard and people will have enough to eat, preventing famine from ripping the social fabric.
- Self-Reliance in Defense. Recommend a Constitutional Amendment requiring 3-5 months of universal military service. This very short period is not enough time to train good infantrymen, but it is enough time to train bad sheep. Sheep trade liberty for security until they are slaughtered. Immersing everyone in the universal experience of standing a short watch and depending on comrades reinforces the social fabric.
- Initiate a Tradition in the Long Gray Line of publishing Premortems of the Paths to War. This way, our sovereigns, the people, can better understand what risks we see and hold us accountable for our errors. Those that follow might use our error to amplify their introspection.
- Restore Liberty. We create governments to monopolize violence to coerce compliance with law. Innovation is a disruptive compliance failure. To allow innovation we limit governments and their nature to monopolize with constitutions. If we defend the Constitution’s Preamble, “post Roads,” and “Ports” restrictions by recommending passage of the Solar Mobility Act, we restore liberty to innovate transportation networks based on free market principles of:
- Building with private capital.
- Operating without government subsidies.
- Exceeding 5 times the efficiency of highways.
- Exceeding the safety of highways.
- Paying 5% of gross revenues for access to Rights of Way.
Two aspects of liberty intertwine in a Darwinian crucible of creative destruction to create the “general welfare”:
- Choices are created by society’s tolerance for Disruptive Minories offering alternatives.
- There is no minority as tiny and disruptive as commercial innovators.
- Unconstitutional Federal monopolies block the offering of choices and innovations.
- Sorting of choices in free markets exercises the Wisdom from the Many, the aggregated wisdom of all of us, with each of us acting in our own self-interest is wiser than the wisest of us at choosing between choices.
- The Wisdom of Crowds provides case studies.
After a court declared the Federal communications monopoly unconstitutional in 1982, liberty was restored and vast numbers of innovations commercialized.
As soon as the Constitution is enforced, breaking the Federal power and transport monopolies, innovations that are 10 to 100 times more efficient will commercialize. The efficiency of freight rails (476 ton-miles per gallon) will be combined with the on-demand service of the Internet and the safety of theme parks. About 95 cents of every dollar spent every day on traffic can be recovered to pay for jobs, customer savings, and profits. Robotics, self-driving cars, Hyperloop, JPods and other innovations will combine to create the Physical Internet®. Here is a link to an eight minute video.
Technology will not save America. Federal monopolies wasted our decades by ignoring calls to action of eight Presidents. If liberty to innovate was restored today, it would take years or decades for technology to have an impact. We are out of time. Oil Famine seems certain before 2023.
Leadership can save America. Our class can initiate that leadership.