Monday, March 07, 2022

Fill 'er up!

I finally had to go over $4/gallon today.  I might not mind so much if I thought it was because we were no longer buying from the Russians in protest. That may still be come, though Democratic strategists may calculate that there are more votes in prices not rising any more than in boycotting Russia. 

I worry that time will get bent in retrospect by those who wish to deceive us and that will be the claim in years to come - that the price went up because of Russia. I have been disheartened over my lifetime watching such things happen, of a claim being put forward very quickly, even when everyone knows it doesn't fit the facts, but the untruth just not being mentioned by important news sources after the first few days of headlines, allowing the false narrative to gradually creep in, until it is just accepted wisdom even a very few years later.  How many people now remember that there were two SCOTUS decisions in Bush v. Gore in 2000, with the vote on what I consider the greater one 7-2, and only the second, lesser one going 5-4. "Everyone knows" the vote was 5-4 according to party that appointed each justice. (Oversimplified: 7-2 that Equal Protection was being violated because the methods were different in various counties: 5-4 whether there was enough time for a manual recount. One can disagree with both or either, but the fact of two separate decisions, one very strongly in favor of Bush, has been buried in favor of the single 5-4 narrative.) 

It is widely believed that the kids stopped the Vietnam war with their protests.  Noble kids.  Teach your parents well! The truth is that the older people were, the less likely they were to approve of the war, as far back as 1965. It sometimes hit 2-1 margins in the early years; well into 1969 more than 50% of people under 30 approved of the war. Even at that, it dipped below 50 for a couple of years after. But don't get in the way of a good myth. 

I sometimes think that nearly everything widely believed about the Clinton administration is reversed. They started early and then their people went into media. The usual pattern was brief moments of truth to establish cred, followed by years of not mentioning the bad stuff and gradually turning it around. After all, old guys like me die off eventually, and we are disbelieved long before that. The pattern of disbelief includes the social belief that what we are saying is unpopular and not believed by young people anymore. While that is seldom fully articulated, you can trace it fairly easily once you know to look for it. Terms like "dead-ender" start popping up.  Move On.

You will know whether blaming gas prices on not buying Russian oil is the game plan pretty soon.  It will start pretty quickly, and contain a counter-attack "I thought you were the ones who wanted us to boycott Russia! But now that it costs you a few cents per gallon you don't care about the Ukrainian people anymore?" This can easily happen even when memories are supposedly fresh. Not many will believe it, but it doesn't take many.  As long as the truth is not mentioned, it doesn't have to be denied for a long time. The nutcases and corrupt (and that is true left, right, and center) can keep the lie alive for years, simmering in the background. It can boil later.  We'll see.


Anonymous said...

The gas in Canada for my Subaru BRZ, admittedly the most expensive gas one can find around here, is approaching 2.20 a litre. A little over $9 a gallon.

I am going on the list to buy the new Solterra when it comes out. All electric is the wave of future.

james said...

WRT Vietnam--those 50 years old in 65 had been 30 in 45. They'd lived through a big one, with existential risks, and then seen a smaller one (Korea) not-quite-end inconclusively. Maybe they had the experience to "rank" wars. Or maybe it's just a matter of getting older.

I'd suggest a couple of donkeys instead of electric. No oil imports or electric grid required, and next year's model comes along naturally.

Jonathan said...

Boycotting Russian oil probably means the Russians sell it to middlemen who sell it to us. However, talk about boycotts diverts attention from how our own govt has handicapped domestic energy production for boneheaded ideological reasons.

David Foster said...

re Russia, oil, and gas, I found a trove of interesting data. First, the destinations of Russia's oil (and condensate) exports:

Only 1% of those exports went to the US (2020 data, so probably somewhat higher now...but the major destination, other than China, is clearly Europe)

Now, natural gas: 72% goes to Europe.

I can't find the data for refined petroleum products (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel)...has to be in there somewhere, but don't see it.

Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

I always said the Viet Nam war would have ended sooner if we just all sang louder and "with four-part harmony."

David Foster said...

Found some data on Russian refined products exports:

Their total exports (2019) were $66B, of which $12.4B went to the Netherlands and $4.9B to the US.

Anonymous said...

"I'd suggest a couple of donkeys instead of electric. No oil imports or electric grid required, and next year's model comes along naturally."

We have a strong hydro grid in BC, but you can make electricity much easier than gasoline.

dmoelling said...

Its actually easy to see what you have to do, but hard to do it. Every president for life or generalissimo has the potential for starting wars, so we have to be firm in all relations with them. There is no way to moderate them.

Anonymous said...

Not completely on topic, but some small investigation reveals it would cost me about $1000 to set up a solar power station to charge my car. I have an inverter and all I need is panels.

I don't put a lot of miles on a car, so that would easily take care of my needs for the foreseeable future.