- - Sunday, September 8, 2013

You probably should not be so hard on Al Gore (“Reality intrudes on a hot dream,” Comment & Analysis, Sept. 6). He is merely attempting to write the next chapter in Charles Mackay’s book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.” The book was written in the early 1800s, and it is just as relevant today as it was then.

The book’s content runs the gamut of crowd psychology and psychopathology, recounting financial bubbles, popular prophecies, alchemy and even a very long-winded description of the Crusades. These crowd pathologies can go on for decades before people just move on, out of sheer exhaustion.

The amazing thing about global warming (or climate change, if you have given up on the warming claim) is that it probably marks the beginning of the age of carbon. The past 100 years marked the beginning of carbon-based energy sources. It is an inconvenient truth that more than 50 percent of the oil in those drilled oil wells is still there. It is just currently unrecoverable with existing primary, secondary and tertiary recovery techniques. In most of the world, those carbon resources are government-controlled — and those same governments are the major impediment to any carbon-resource extraction, through corruption or sheer incompetence. If you think the Chinese will not eventually exploit fracking, think again.

If you are driving around in your electric or hybrid car, subsidized in numerous ways by the unsubsidized majority, then maybe you should start to realize that you got away with the swindle — for now. In the long run, all you did was help write another chapter in Mackay’s book.


SAMUEL BURKEEN

Reston