Thursday, January 17, 2008

Among all the rhetoric and debate surrounding the presidential race the issue of the war seems to have taken a back seat. Much of the debate has deteriorated into personal attacks including religion and race. The economy is certainly coming to the forefront as an issue as important as the war. We need to hear talk about how to solve our economic problems and end the war by overcoming our addiction to oil.
In 1998, I read a book that was a national bestseller called, “The Prize.” It is about the epic quest for oil, money and power. At one time wars were about imperialism. Countries seemed to just want to dominate other countries to spread their philosophy or way of life. Christian countries and Islam had this imperialist motive. War also resulted from the attempts to overthrow ruthless tyrants who wished to dominate and expand their power. The book, “The Prize” points out that the world economy is now based on oil and we may be driven to fight for it. In my view that is what is really happening now with Iraq. It’s all about oil and our dependence on it. We seem to be hopelessly addicted. Until the addiction ends we are doomed to fight for our economic survival.

We have been labeled as an “information economy” that now coexist with the “industrial economy.” Whatever we may be called the fact remains that oil is the lifeblood of civilization and our economy. Until we achieve a technological breakthrough to diminish the importance of oil we are at the mercy of powers in the Middle East, Venezuela and even Russia who have the supply of the precious liquid. We have become like Gollum and his quest for the ring in Tolkien’s “Lord of The Rings.” The quest to satisfy our insatiable appetite for oil will soon make us even look like Gollum. We will be a withered distorted figure of a country because of our addiction and hopeless quest.

I reread Tolkien every few years to keep me up with the grandkids and remind me that I don’t want to be like Gollum but more like Bilbo Baggins, Frodo or Sam. Like the Hobbits who love the Shire, I am content with the porch. I can only hope that our next president will end our quest for the Precious Oil.


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