AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis
Early last week, a wave of power outages hit the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, including homes in the high-end neighborhoods of the Northern Beaches. Multimillion-dollar houses, including those owned by world elites like Hollywood actor Russel Crowe, two former Australian Prime Ministers, casino magnate James Packer, and even current State Premier Dominic Perrottet were suddenly plunged into darkness, a once-unthinkable scene that is becoming increasingly common in “advanced” democratic countries around the world.
While it is clear by now that these blackouts are the result of ill-advised policies inspired by left-wing alarmism over climate change, many government leaders throughout the West still refuse to admit the shortcomings of so-called “green energy,” and the continued importance of more traditional sources of energy like coal and natural gas. Their willful blindness to this reality is a tragedy often seen in socialist regimes throughout history, a fact that has inflicted tremendous pain and destruction on whole populations.
Today’s liberal thinking is in many ways a throwback to the 20th century “command and control” economies and “state planning” of Communist governments around the world. One of the most dramatic cases of how badly it can go comes from the height of the Cold War and the Soviet cult of top-down planning – namely Nikita Khrushchev’s doomed scheme to forcibly convert the Soviet Union from an agricultural power dominated by grain production to one dominated by corn production. “There will be no communism if our country has as much metal and cement as you like but meat and grain are in short supply,” he remarked in early 1954.
Eager to compete with the United States, Khrushchev began importing corn seed as a feeder crop, convinced that the USSR would soon become the leading farming and ranching power in the world. Soviet farmers were ordered to immediately convert the vast majority of state-run wheat farms into corn farms – always under the watchful eye of the Soviet secret police. Though many agricultural experts predicted that the plan would fail, as the soil and climate in Eastern Europe were not conducive to corn production, they dared not cross Khrushchev.
Initially, the plan seemed to work. Corn production soared, and Khrushchev earned the nickname of “Mr. Corn” (“Kukuroozhneek”). The state-owned media outlets proclaimed that he had precipitated an “agricultural miracle,” and Khrushchev quickly doubled down, ordering that corn production be expanded even further.
With messianic confidence, Khrushchev proclaimed corn would be the solution to all Soviet economic ills. But, he added, sacrifices might be needed. “We are in a corn race with imperialism that we must win no matter the cost,” Khrushchev announced, adding that the Soviet Union would soon plant corn on the Moon.
By the early 1960s, however, it appeared that the celebrations may have been premature, and the experts’ predictions were correct. After a few unusually warm years in the latter half of the 1950s, the weather turned cold and rainy again, leading to the devastation of the corn crop in 1962. Even Kremlin sources from the time admitted that seventy to eighty percent of the corn crop had been ruined, leading to widespread food shortages and the beginning of Khrushchev’s downfall.
Today, liberal elites around the world are engaged in a similar delusion. The modern political left seems to not have learned any of the lessons of the last century about state planning and are locked into the mindset that more government intervention can solve every “problem” facing a country. But now, their fantasies are no longer about corn and foodstuffs, but something even more vital – energy.
Christopher Bowen, the new Minister for Climate Change and energy in Australia, proclaimed earlier this week that the country is “10 years late” in the race to renewable energy, echoing Khrushchev’s fervor for forcibly transitioning the USSR from wheat to corn. Undoubtedly Bowen views the recent blackouts as a “sacrifice” that Australians must make in order to save the world from certain destruction.
At the same time, just as the corn fiasco in the USSR destroyed the Soviet economy, rising energy costs are driving up the cost of living and wreaking havoc on the overall economy in Australia and throughout the West. An increase in coal and gas supplies could cut the price of energy, but Australia’s Energy Minister perceives it as a deviation from his clean energy plans. Even though the country is now facing an exceptionally cold winter (seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere) that has increased energy demand, consequently driving prices even higher, Bowen refuses to back down from his climate extremism.
Moreover, two days after four Australian states narrowly avoided another wave of blackouts, the Labor government doubled their target for emission cuts by 2030. The new goal “sets Australia up for a prosperous future, a future powered by cleaner, cheaper energy,” Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated.
The very next day, Australians from four states once again received warnings of electricity supply shortages. Nervous ministers advised Australians to switch off unnecessary lights, disconnect computers, turn off the second fridge and sit in one room without heating.
But when a journalist suggested that coal could at least temporarily alleviate difficulties for Australians, Bowen angrily denied that prolonging coal-fired power is the solution to the energy crisis. “The problem is there is not enough investment in renewable energy,” he insisted, chillingly echoing Khrushchev’s arrogance when he faced destruction of corn in the cold weather.
Amid the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, countries throughout Europe are also quickly learning that renewables are far from capable of meeting their current energy needs. In the United States, residents in Texas saw first-hand in February of last year how devastating and even deadly an over-reliance on renewables can be.
From the outside, it objectively appears as if liberal policies are literally thrusting society back into the dark ages. With their almost religious zeal for radical climate policies precluding any possibility of moderation, it will be up to voters to stop them.
Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian and researcher.
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