Let them eat wheat!

Originally posted (with minor modifications) to my livejournal on April 18, 2008. In case you've forgotten, that was back when oil was over $100.00 a barrel and just about everyone was excited about bio-fuels — especially government-subsidized corn-farmers. Those people in the third world who suddenly found themselves priced out of life's basic necessities might have had other thoughts on the matter ...

Bill Needle is an occasional contributor to Edifice Rex Online

We Drink Ethanol, So Why Not Burn It?

By Bill Needle

There's been a lot of talk lately about how food prices going up all around the world. Folks are rioting from Mexico to Haiti to Somalia, just to name a few hot-spots of socialist discontent. They say they they can't afford to feed their families, as if any of us have a God-given right to eat. This world is one where only the fit survive and always has been, folks. I figure, if you don't earn enough to buy food and you're not competent enough to steal it, well, that's just part of God's plan. Unlike the Hindoos, the way I see it, you don't get punished for what you did in a past life, you get punished for what you didn't do in this one.

Of course, the usual trouble-makers are complaining, not just poor people. The tree-huggers and do-gooders are all out in force, trying to socialize this and socialize that while they make a fat living in their back of their air-conditioned SUVs, doling out so-called aid to lazy graspers from Haiti to Somalia

And of course, they point their fingers are everyone but the starving folks themselves.

The price of corn is going up because: the Americans are too fat; the Chinese are getting too fat (and who can blame 'em for wanting a steak, after so many decades of living off rice and locusts?); or because we here in North America (and Europe - gotta give the great unwashed credit when it's due) are finally starting to do something about global warming, turning our corn into gasoline.

You can't win with those people for losing, folks. First they complain that global warming is causing droughts and floods (after all this time, you'd think they'd get their stories straight). Then, when we get suckered into doing something about it by turning corn into fuel, they blame us for making food too expensive for the poor in the world.

Now even the International Monetary Fund is jumping on the bleading heart socialist bandwagon. Monday's Globe and Mail quoted its managing director, a certain Dominique Struass-Kahn - whose name alone maybe explains a few things, though I'm damned if it tells me whether its a mister or a missus - as saying, "Hundreds of thousands of people will be starving. Children will suffer from malnutrition..." I know I'm not the most subtle guy in town, and maybe he was misquoted, but it sure sounds to me like he's saying it as if it's a bad thing.

It's not that I'm in favour of human suffering, don't get me wrong. And I don't know it it's us or God to blame for this global warming, but it seems pretty clear there's something to it - and that it's too late to do much about it. The oceans are going to rise by 1.5 metres (that's about five feet, if I remember my conversion tables) over the next 90 years whether we all start eating grass or not. Sure, a black child feels pain just as much as a white one, but if you've got to choose, well, you stand by your own, don't you? It's only natural.

What I'm trying to say is, it's too late folks. There's more than six billion of us kicking around this little space-ball and like a herd of deer after one too many easy winters and the wolves are about to close in during the first deep freeze (or big melt). A hundred years from now, we'll count ourselves lucky if there are a billion of us left, and I say we cup our balls and start staking out the high ground now.

And one way to do that is bio-fuels. The only problem with them is we haven't gone far enough! Here in Ontario, every gallon (or socialized litre) now contains 5% ethanol - I say, why not 50%? Ethanol which comes from corn, grown right here in Ontario! Sure the price of corn is going up, but we all have to do our part, and there's no denying our farmers have been hurting lately, so it's good for them, too.

Okay, it's true that it takes almost as much fuel to grow the corn as the corn provides in ethanol, but "almost" isn't the same as "as much" - and every drop counts. And sure, growing all that corn to run your Hummer is corn that doesn't go to fatten a heifer or a hog, or make into a taco down south.

But that's the Free Market, isn't it? It's not my problem if the Mexicans can't afford to buy our corn, and it's not your problem; it's the Mexicans' problem. And if the Bangladeshis can't buy their own rice now, how are they going to do afford to import our corn when their whole country is under water?

Ethanol is just a way to limit the suffering. Most of the world is going to starve to death in the next few decades, so why not speed things up and put them out of their misery before they breed more babies who are just going to starve to death anyway? Meanwhile, those of us with the means might as well keep on enjoying our life like civilized folks.

Well, all this typing has created in me a powerful thirst. I'm going to fire up old Bessie and leave that Hummer running while parked in the handicapped zone at the beer store. Just doing my part for the greater good.


Well, Duh!

(Bryan Gable, Globe and Mail, 2008-04-15

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