The logic goes something like this

The Virtues of Ruthlessness: What the Out-There X Prize Winners Can Teach Automakers says the logic goes something like this:

Carbon-based energy is finite. Cars burn too much of that limited resource. So the cars of the future should, maybe must, devour less and less energy. Ultimately, fingers crossed, vehicles will be powered by what our benighted present-day brains might as well just call magic. Barring that, they will sip whatever fuel we continue to wage war over.

What’s wrong with this picture? It does sound logical. It is a reasonably accurate picture of what many people believe to the point of demanding we change how we live. They couldn’t be missing anything, could they?

It is somewhat like the puzzlement some have when the jails fill and crime drops.

If an energy source is “finite” does that mean that is just ceases to become available or does something else happen? History indicates that something else happens. The source doesn’t just stop but rather it dries up and its prices rises. Other sources then become more competitive and begin to take over as the major source.

When someone says cars “burn too much” they are making a value judgment, not a factual statement. Being unable to discriminate between a value judgment and a fact is how we end up with the value judgments of some forced on everyone.

Then there’s the “wage war over” ethos. That is a reduction that is crass and more in line with a political epithet than it is with reality.

standards change slowly, revolutions start somewhere, and what was ugly or strident or ridiculous a generation ago is status quo today.

This shows as a rationalization, not an observation. It ignores what drives change. Consider the information technology field as an example where standards have changed drastically and dramatically. Even in automobiles, the attempts to force change to meet ideological dreams can be compared to those where technologies have enabled practical needs of the market.

Sometimes keeping one’s feet on the ground can be difficult.

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