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2/01/2006

"Addiction" is an understatement

One of the human-animal hybrids at The Corner complains about the emphasis given to Bush's line about being addicted to oil:
As an indication of what the rest of the world thought was important about the SOTU speech, here's the BBC's headline: "Bush urges end to oil addiction." That one, silly, inaccurate metaphor has attracted more press around the world than anything about Iraq, Iran, cloning, spending cuts or globalization. Le Monde called it his "principal announcement" and even translated the phrase as saying oil is like a drug to America.
Yes, what a crazy translation that is ...

I think the addiction metaphor is a bit inaccurate, but probably not in the way the NRO wingnuts do: it probably understates our dependence upon oil.

Saying that the economy is addicted to oil is kind of like saying that fish are addicted to water. Oil is one of the basic currencies of the world economy; it is the fuel, both literally and metaphorically, driving the engine of a substantial portion of human activity.

Maybe we'll get lucky, and the peak oil theorists will turn out to be wrong. Otherwise, weaning ourselves from oil is going to make heroin withdrawal look like a stroll in the park.

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