Smart Talk #27

In his article, “Three Cheers for Oil,” commentator John Hinderaker notes that “Oil is the Earth’s miracle substance. Like electricity, oil drives economic growth.  No other fuel can match oil when it comes to energy density, cost, scale, flexibility, or ease of handling and transportation.”  Quoting columnist David Blackmon, on returning to energy realism: “Politicians look at impractical ‘solutions’ like wind, solar, and electric vehicles and see shiny objects that they might be able to leverage with voters. Whether or not the solutions have any practical value is secondary thought, if they consider it at all.”  And John Hinderaker’s concluding admonition about the true value of oil as a unique energy, economic & societal generator: “Meanwhile, let’s celebrate oil, which has done more to improve human life than all the liberal measures enacted by all governments in history put together.”

Once proclaiming that their university, like several others, would remain without requiring standardized tests for applicants until at least 2030, Harvard has now reversed course.  In making this announcement, Harvard cited a study that found that “SAT scores are a stronger predictor of college success than a high school student’s grade point average.”  Perhaps not a total surprise to most of us.  Of note, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, and M.I.T. are now all once again requiring standardized testing for admission consideration.  To the charge raised by some that standardized tests are “racist and biased against disabled students,” Harvard economist David Deming responds: “The tests are the fairest admissions policy for disadvantaged applicants. Not everyone can hire an expense college coach to help them craft a personal essay. But everyone has the chance to ace the SAT or ACT.” Smart move by Harvard and several of the other East Coast elite universities who have made the right move back to standard testing to better ensure success-predictive admissions.

In his article, “Why Are American Youths So Unhappy?” Noel Williams identifies what he sees as several contributing factors: “Trans confusion & gender dysphoria;  Social media pressures & unreasonable expectations; Pursuit of instant gratification rather than cultivating lasting satisfaction; Biden’s inflation & deferral of the American Dream; Job insecurity; Dems whose identify politics spew hatred of America’s core principles; and Illegal migrants undermining our sovereignty.”  And the worst, perhaps most concerning, one he added later: Youthful preference for socialism over capitalism!  Regrettably, as of now, that attitude is pretty darn pervasive.  According to one report, “only 29% of Gen Z youth “somewhat/strongly’ prefer capitalism to socialism”!  For the older Baby Boomers, “60% prefer capitalism to socialism.”  But shame on the older Americans from that group who seem to indicate that about 40% would actually seem to prefer socialism.  And especially after all capitalism has done for their employment, their families, their lives, and for our great nation!  It’s our enlarged, continuingly restrictive, downright foolhardy liberal government that seems to be dragging the admiration/confusion of too many of our young folks along with it, as well as with all of the other negative, ‘unhappy’ factors listed.  This discussion is by no means ‘Smart Talk,’ if only to alert parents who can hopefully still have a positive influence on their younger children to better understand the situation and to try even harder. Otherwise, this is simply a sad reflection on a whole lot of pure ingrained stupidity going on out there among certain of our young people within our society today.

Now back to the positive. The State of Oregon has recently RE-criminalized drug possession!  Personal possession and use are now misdemeanors with a penalty of up to six-months in jail.  This reverses the choice of the state’s voters (58%) in 2020 backing the elimination of criminal charges for having even small amounts of any drug, and even the harder stuff like fentanyl.  It didn’t take long for the citizens of Oregon to realize that lifting the harsh penalties had led to a rise in “addiction, homelessness, and crime, along with fatal overdoses.” Responded Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler supporting the re-criminalization of illegal drug use:  “People are exhausted from feeling like they’re under siege.  They want order restored to their environment.” Congratulations to Oregon for doing the Smart thing.

As most know, on at least one day this past week, several roadways and bridges were essentially closed down for an extended period by pro-Palestinian protesters within several cities around America.  Bad enough for regular drivers heading to work, or home from work.  Potentially disastrous for response vehicles trying to get to crimes in progress, fire calls, or perhaps worse, transporting patients to emergency medical care.  As Matt Walsh indicated in his contemporaneous article: “After what happened yesterday, it’s clear that the domestic enemies of the United States – the ones we’ve imported and those our universities have indoctrinated – understand the importance of infrastructure very well.”  As such, and with a first-time distinction to consider, Walsh’s article is entitled “Activists Who Shut Down Highways Aren’t ‘Protesters,’ They’re Terrorists.”  That may seem extreme, but likely not so far removed by motorists held up by, and hopefully not injured by, these mis-guided, perhaps even brainwashed, young Americans who need to be reminded of the chaos and damage they create by taking their politicized zeal to roadways, rather than remaining off roadways elsewhere.  Never fear, young malcontents, the news cameras will still find you!  Oh, and if you must, how about protesting something of value to Americans, like closing our illegally open southern border!

And finally, this Smart Talk from South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham.  During a recent NBC Sunday morning interview, Senator Graham said, in part: “I think the vest way to judge President Trump’s second term is by what he did in his first term. You know Russia didn’t invade on President Trump’s watch.  Hamas didn’t try to destroy Israel on his watch. In Afghanistan, the Taliban weren’t in charge on his watch.”  And then the Senator concluded his remarks this way: “There’ s a liberal jihad against everything Trump.  I’m not worried about Trump destroying democracy.  I’m worried about Joe Biden destroying the world.”  Smart truth, indeed.


(Fact Sources: Oil is the economy via, John Hinderaker, 3-29-24, and Return to energy realism via DAVID Blackmon, 3-20-24;  Harvard reinstates the standardized testing requirement via, Mairead Elordi, 4-12-24; American youth are unhappy via, Noel S. Williams, 3-21-24; Drug use restricted again in Oregon via, Mairead Elordi, 4-2-24;  Are highway protesters actually terrorists via, Matt Walsh, 4-16-24; Senator Graham’s on-target summation via, news wire, 3-10-24).