Click to Guest Editorial 7/11/2006

Rules Matter

By Toby Kinkaid, 7/11/2006 8:08:11 AM

Alex Epstein’s piece "Keep Our 'Addiction' to Oil, End Our Allergy to Self-Assertion" reaches a new low in the oil debate. Epstein’s piece is loaded with absurdities, and a total disregard for international law.

Epstein begins with the premise that “national security” is the driving factor to end our addiction to fossil fuels. The word “toxicity” seems totally absent from Epstein’s worldview as expressed in this piece. Epstein goes on to assert “American’s are not addicted to oil, addiction implies an intense desire for something harmful,” he goes on, “but we do not desire oil irrationally.” Really? Does Epstein actually think that “burning oil” is not harmful? In Los Angeles, we have air you can see, billions of dollars in health impacts, and out of control costs.

Epstein’s love affair with oil takes a macabre direction when he proposes that we offer an “ultimatum” to oil-rich regimes to either “end all anti-American activities, or be destroyed.” “Or be destroyed?” My goodness, sounds like Epstein would rather we behave like the Russians, or Chinese. How would Epstein respond if these countries took whatever they wanted, hey, we do it, why not them too? Without International laws there would be anarchy. Epstein proposes a slippery slope if ever there was one.

Epstein continues “another means of addressing the threat would be to remove Middle Eastern oil fields from Saudi and Iranian control,” again this is, in reality, absurd, and illegal. Epstein throws out all of the international law and treaties of which America is apart. Does international law matter at all Mr. Epstein?

Epstein seems to revel in the notion of being the “bully” of the world. That America, irregardless of international laws, has the “moral” duty to take whatever suits us, when it suits us. This is not what America stands for, (according to my 5th grade civics class), we were told that America stands for the Rule of Law. That our constitution exists to protect the liberties of individuals, and guarantee’s our “bill of rights” including free speech -- even if the Epsteins of the world don’t like what is being expressed.

Epstein goes on that pursuing American “self-assertion” and “self-interests” is the “Moral” thing for us to do. Moral? Epstein is quick to sell out the real American ideals such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, all for easy access to oil. This is a morally, ethically, and scientifically corrupt premise.

Epstein sounds just like a “addict,” willing to throw all ethics out of the window, if it means the next “fix.” Like it or not, Epstein, we live in a world of laws -- and the rules matter.