How not to be convincing

Here’s another neglected post – this one from June. Did you know I could stop writing for months and still have fresh material (sans editing) ready to go?

Here’s my formula (re: the post’s title):

1. I get a little angry.
2. I make it personal.
3. I act like a jerk.

I don’t know why it irritates me when people complain about the price of gasoline. It’s a legitimate concern. When gas is more expensive lots of other things we need get more expensive. What’s really great about rising gasoline prices is it simultaneously depresses economic growth AND spurs inflation – basically neutering the Federal Reserve (our magic bullet against economic woes).

Yesterday we were having a pleasant day until I overheard someone nearby say, “Congress better do something about these gas prices! It’s getting ridiculous!”

Quiet-boy was about to give way to his alter-ego.

I replied, “What do you think Congress should do about it?”

“Well, they could drill for oil in Alaska.”

“You know, we already drill for oil in Alaska, right?”

“Well, we should drill for more.”

“Let’s go wild and say we could add five percent to the world’s oil supply. It’s probably less, but lets say there’s another 5 percent there. Do you think it would bring the cost of oil down 50 percent, or any meaningful amount?”


“Besides, what do you think is the biggest reason gas prices are so high? Do you think it’s because the supply has dropped off?”

“Well, the value of the dollar probably has something to do with it.”

“Do you think it has anything to do with the increase in world-wide demand? Do you think it has anything to do with the growing economies of China and India, and their gall – thinking they can wiggle in on our God-given-right to all the world’s oil? Let me put this another way: do you think it’s possible the rising price of oil might be almost completely outside our control?”

“Well, maybe…”

“You know what I think? I think it’s your fault.”


“Congress could have been doing something about this 30, 20, or even 10 years ago, but it wasn’t your priority, so it wasn’t theirs. I’ll even concede the Democrats dropped the ball too.”

“Yeah, but we elect them to know about these things and do the right thing… what’s best for us.”

“What kind of horse-crap is that?”


“We’ve had a few elected leaders who were ahead of the curve on energy issues, but we did our best to un-elect them, branding them green-freaks, or worse: America hating socialists. You could have been listening, but you had your head stuck in the the tar sands (or the shale, take your pick). Now there isn’t a damn thing Congress can do that would have any effect on short term energy prices. They should do something, but drilling for more oil in Alaska – or anywhere else for that matter – is like peeing in a pool to warm it up.”

Nowhere in this conversation did the other person say, “Wow, your arrogant sarcasm really shines a light on the subject. I’m going to have to give this more thought.” When they say you shouldn’t discuss politics with friends or family, they have people like me in mind.

Give the gift of words.