Let’s ponder a collection of choices:

1 – A nation commits to a “green” energy agenda, to combat global warming. It emphasizes and subsidizes wind and solar power generation. It starts shutting down coal plants.

In doing so, it dismisses the questions regarding the severity of the problem and the uncertainty as to the degree of human contribution. It assumes that one remediation path: the brute-force reduction of carbon emissions, is the correct one, ignoring the reality that, unless the rest of the world, and in particular the BRICS nations, follow suit (and do so robustly), none of its efforts will amount to a hill of beans on the global scale necessary to make such an approach work.

2 – A nation decides to forego nuclear power, in response to the Fukushima event, and despite the fact that only one person died from radiation as a result of that disaster. It has already shut down 8 of its 17 nuke plants, and has vowed to shut down the rest by 2022.

In doing so, it ignores the fact that nuclear power remains, by FAR, the cleanest and safest form of power generation known. It ignores the fact that nuclear power produces zero carbon emissions. It ignores the fact that there is no economically viable form of energy storage to offset the variability and uncertainty of wind and solar power generation. It therefore makes it a certainty that base load capacity to fill the down-time from wind and solar will have to be either imported from other nations or generated by natural gas (although subsidies for wind and solar are standing in the way of domestic natural gas energy generation, so it’ll be foreign, coal-based electricity that’ll fill the gaps). What energy is produced with natural gas will rely on imports from Russia, leaving the nation economically vulnerable to a traditional foe captained by an aggressive and Machiavellian leader.

3 – A nation has, in a broad gesture of humanitarianism, opened its borders to a stream of refugees from the Middle East conflicts. It has also chosen to embrace a multicultural attitude towards its new immigrants, rather than one of integration that would fold the new arrivals into the existing culture, melting-pot style.

In doing so, it has created internal strife, a clash of cultures within her borders, and feelings of resentment and abandonment in both the native and immigrant populations.

4 – A nation has continued to rely on Pax Americana for her defense, under-spending on her national defense, and failing to live up to NATO spending commitments.

In doing so, it leaves itself militarily vulnerable to a traditional foe captained by an aggressive and Machiavellian leader.

I write of Germany, of course.

No one should be surprised that what the Wall Street Journal calls the world’s dumbest energy policy has, despite massive subsidies, imposed some of the highest energy costs in Europe on her citizens.

Higher energy costs will also hammer industry, which will drag the economy, which will produce less wealth, and which will negatively impact the tax revenues that are used to subsidize wind and solar. The abandonment of perfectly viable nuclear and coal plants is Bastiat’s Broken Windows destruction of wealth, and will lead to significant and long-term harm to Germans’ standards of living and economic prospects. It will also make it that much harder to maintain Germany’s vaunted (and expensive) safety net.

The relative success of Germany’s open-arms response to the migrant crisis (unemployment numbers among the arrivals are better than in other European countries) is at risk of being countervailed by a growing cultural divide. The Muslim population tallies just over 5% of the total, yet one birth in four is to a foreign mother (the native-born Germans have a catastrophically low fertility rate of just 1.2).

Nations can handle, and indeed can often prosper under, robust immigration. America is plain-as-day proof of that. And, nations that have below-replacement fertility rates need immigration if they are to maintain their worker (and tax) base, and keep funding the pay-go pension and social security systems that they all have. But, successful nations are successful because of their cultures and values, and if an immigrant wave isn’t integrated or assimilated into that culture and those values, if the message given to immigrants is “keep to your own, hold onto the things that you left behind in the nation you fled from,” the basis of a nation’s continued success is undermined.

Stupid energy policy, destructive and divisive immigrant policy, reckless indifference toward national defense, willful dependence on exports from an aggressive and untrustworthy foreign land. Germany, a nation demonstrably prosperous and self-reliant, has, in a series of head-scratching choices, put herself on the road to decline. Germany hasn’t gone full-Venezuela (yet), but when the consequences of these choices start to noticeably impact the populace, there will be demands for correction, that the government do something. And, history tells us, those somethings will be of the quick, visible, bandaid variety, and will usually exacerbate the problems.

The world’s economic might has been shifting away from Europe and toward Asia for some time. A friend once observed that, if all that came out of our recent Presidents was a stronger economic relation with India, that would be enough for him. Bush went there. Obama spoke of a “pivot” to Asia. Europe, meanwhile, has calcified under the abandonment of the connection between citizen and representative that is the EU, and is playing defense against that entity’s fracturing. Decisions have consequences, and Germany’s recent ones speak of dark times ahead for her people. Figuratively and literally.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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