As The Beginning of Infinity explains, nature does not provide a habitat that is automatically ideal for human life. The Earth is naturally inhospitable, but with knowledge and technology we're able to live here and thrive.
One of the ways we do this is called "wealth". Wealth is our capacity to control our world and make it the way that's best for us. It gives us power against nature (but does not give us power over other humans, in the context of a society with law and order).
A major part of our wealth is energy. We use energy, like electricity and gasoline, to enable so many aspects of our lives from using the internet to driving.
The history of increasing human control over energy is an amazing and uplifting story.
But many lies are told about it, and there is much misinformation.
In these two articles below, Alex Epstein, from the Center for Industrial Progress addresses two misconceptions while also explaining the positive side of the story.
The first article is about Rockefeller and Standard Oil. It addresses the misconception that Rockefeller's monopolistic practices necessitate anti-trust law and serve was a warning against the free market.
Actually Rockefeller was a virtuous leader in recognizing the power of ideas and efficiency in business. He prized the application of human thinking to improve his business. He invested heavily in science; today R&D is a standard aspect of business but it wasn't always, Rockefeller first showed people the way. He valued efficiency and wanted to have a large business operating efficiently. He lowered prices, expanded production, and made the world dramatically better.
Rockefeller made available products that dramatically improved quality of life. And he did it for unprecedented numbers of people at unprecedentedly low prices. In particular he sold kerosine to be burned for light (until it was surpassed by the electric lightbulb). Do you know what life is like without affordable lighting? It gets dark and you can't see. Providing light adds hours of valuable human life per day for people. Later of course Standard Oil sold gasoline for transportation, as well as many other things.
The second article is about nuclear power and how using it more it can save human lives. It addresses the misconception that nuclear power is unsafe.
Elliot Temple on March 27, 2012