Friday, December 12, 2008

Dr. Chu has no Clu, or: The Death of Intellectualism

Barack Obama has added another member of Mensa to his Cabinet, Dr. Stephen Chu, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (and yes, it is OK to quiver at the sight of the phrase "Berkeley"). Dr. Chu will head the Department of Energy. Just one problem - he hates energy:

Big Coal won’t be very happy if Dr. Chu gets confirmed as head of the DOE—he’s really, really not a big fan. “Coal is my worst nightmare,” he said repeatedly in a speech earlier this year outlining his lab’s alternative-energy approaches.

If coal is to stay part of the world’s energy mix, he says, clean-coal technologies must be developed. B ut he’s not very optimistic: “It’s not guaranteed we have a solution for coal,” he concluded, given the sheer scope of the challenge of economically storing billions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions underground.

Worried about radioactivity? Coal’s still your bogeyman. Dr. Chu says a typical coal plant emits 100 times more radiation than a nuclear plant, given the flyash emissions of radioactive particles.

That doesn’t mean nuclear power is much better. “The waste and proliferation issues [surrounding nuclear power] still haven’t been completely solved,” he said. A big part of the Department of Energy’s job is to oversee nuclear weapons and waste storage. And the Obama campaign made clear that increased reliance on nuclear power will require finding a “safe” way to dispose of radioactive waste.

Will Chu be America's worst nightmare, a man who, by dint of having spent his whole life thinking - and not actually doing - has no idea what actually keeps the lights on? A man who - having spent most of his life at a University - has no idea about how much cash "energy" already takes out of a working person's paycheck, and thus feels free to raise its price exponentially?

God, save us from these intellectuals. And speaking of which - John Hawkins reports on why liberals - who all fancy themselves as so more intelligent than the average American, and thus ordained to rule over us - believe so many ridiculous things.

He starts by quoting Theodore Dalrymple:

Intellectuals need to say things that are not immediately obvious or do not occur to the man in the street. The man in the street instinctively sympathizes with the victim of crime; therefore, to distinguish himself from the man in the street, the intellectual has to sympathize with the criminal, by turning him into a victim of forces which only he, the intellectual, has sufficient sophistication to see.

Now we're getting somewhere!

It is difficult to overestimate how much this way of thinking drives the liberal view of the world.

It doesn't matter whether they're dumb, smart, successful, failures, good, bad, you name it, liberals view themselves as better, smarter, and more compassionate than the average person by virtue of the fact that they're liberals.

Finally, Thomas Sowell weighs in:

"The charge is often made against the intelligentsia and other members of the anointed that their theories and the policies based on them lack common sense. But the very commonness of common sense makes it unlikely to have any appeal to the anointed. How can they be wiser and nobler than everyone else while agreeing with everyone else?"

Right. And now we have Stephen Chu, intellectual elitist personified, running the Department of Energy. How many bright ideas will he have that seem insanely stupid to the rest of us, and yet will have liberal politicians and the media sagely nodding their head in agreement?

Well, when it all goes to hell, they can blame George Bush, I guess...


Anonymous said...

Like all right-wing idiots, you can't comprehend the cognitive dissonance when liberals don't conform to your namby-pamby environmentalist stereotypes. Here Chu is obviously a pragmatist on nuclear energy. From a 2005 interview, Dr. Chu answers:

"Should fission-based nuclear power plants be made a bigger part of the energy-producing portfolio?"

"Absolutely. Right now about 20 percent of our power comes from nuclear; there have been no new nuclear plants built since the early '70s. The real rational fears against nuclear power are about the long-term waste problem and [nuclear] proliferation. The technology of separating [used fuel from still-viable fuel] and putting the good stuff back in to the reactor can also be used to make bomb material."

Dr. Chu is ALSO a signatory to "A Sustainable Energy Future: The Essential Role of Nuclear Energy," a DOE report released this past August.

Do you hear that sound? It's the sound of another right-wing nut's mind being blown...

The JerseyNut said...

Hey genius - after he uses the word "absolutely" in that reply you reprint, he goes back to his usual spin about all the problems inherit in nuclear energy!

The problem is he shows no evidence of allowing the need for more nuclear plants to outweigh his 'rational" fears.

And of course, they are only "rational" in HIS mind. We've got places where we can bury nuclear waste for 10,000 years (we should really send it into space), and it is highly unlikely that this country will start selling the byproducts to rouge countries to build bombs (although with Barack Obama in charge, who knows?).

It is his irrational fears that will prevent muclear plants from being closed, just like the irrational fears of liberal activists are threating to close down nuclear plants in New Jersey, even those that have operated since inception without a glitch.

Hear that sound? It's the sound of a another thin, self-serving argument - made by a liberal idiot - popping in his face. Maybe if you did the research and actually looked at what Dr. Clu-less was saying, you wouldn't have just embarassed yourself.

Anonymous said...

Liberal? Hardly. I'm a pragmatist, not an ideologue like yourself. That means I don't jump to ideological conclusions because of any inherent left- or right-wing stereotypes.

Oh, it's okay to admit when you're wrong. It seems the REAL liberal environmental blogosphere is in a tizzy about Chu's stance on nuclear energy. Yes, Chu has concern about the processing and storage of nuclear fuels. But if you can actually make sense of his statements, he specifically points to the idea that BETTER processing of waste will eliminate the need for our current method of disposal, which is lump storage in places like the Yucca Mountains.

Or are you against better processing of nuclear waste?

Mind blown again? How about the second half of my argument. Chu is a signatory on the DOE report, "A Sustainable Energy Future: The Essential Role of Nuclear Energy." Here's what it says:

"We believe that nuclear energy must play a significant role in our nation’s — and the world’s — electricity portfolio for the next 100+ years. Nuclear energy has great potential for contributing more to our broader energy needs, however. For example, nuclear energy could supplement or even supplant fossil fuels by providing the electricity for electric-powered vehicles, or it could be used to generate hydrogen for vehicles that utilize hydrogen fuel cells. Nuclear energy could also help to generate high-temperature process heat, provide a valuable input for feedstock to chemical production and aid in the production of freshwater from seawater and contaminated surface and groundwater sources."

STILL not convinced. How about reading this blog by pro-nuclear scientists who cheer Chu, noting that he "seems like a great pick, from his rational thoughts and his experience.. and that document [the DOE report] is hard truth telling and understanding of energy."


I'm not the smartest guy in the world, and on many issues I'm sure you probably can outwit me. But on this specific argument, my dear right-wing ideologue, you are so, so deliciously wrong it's laughable. Let's see if you've got the guts to leave up my comments thoroughly embarrassing you.

Anonymous said...

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Smile. A brighter future lies in front of you.