Conservatives, like fossil fuels, subject to liberal exclusion

June 26, 2017
College-graduation season ends with an insight for the oil and gas industry.

College-graduation season ends with an insight for the oil and gas industry.

In energy politics and academia, liberals increasingly express disagreement through intolerance.

Liberal concern about climate change, for example, has become a campaign against the production and use of fossil energy.

Epitomizing this senselessness are efforts to regulate methane as a potent greenhouse gas despite the demonstrated ability of natural gas to cut emissions of carbon dioxide.

Liberal thinking accommodates no balance. It only condemns.

And it dominates academia. During the past few months, conservatives have been heckled during campus speeches or had speaking invitations revoked.

The discourtesies are neither new nor strictly liberal.

According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), however, “disinvitations” and disruptions have been “steadily increasing over the past 15 years.” They do come mainly from the left.

FIRE’s Disinvitation Database tracks campus-speech disruptions and instances in which “segments of the campus community demand that an invited speaker not be allowed to speak.”

The database lists 342 such cases since the first data year, 2000.

Opposition came from political positions left of the speaker in 209 instances and from the right in 100. The other 33 cases involved issues that could not be characterized as liberal or conservative.

By this rough measure, campus liberals are twice as likely as conservatives are to communicate through overt exclusion.

To some extent, this reflects the bipartisan tenor of political discourse these days. Increasingly, people of all political leanings wish not to trouble themselves with opinions contrary to their own.

Liberals, though, seem especially fussy about it, even eager to foreswear whatever illumination might emerge, however surprisingly, from thinkers elsewhere on the political spectrum.

And they apply the pattern to oil and gas, ignoring the advantages of hydrocarbon energy—such as affordability—in single-minded deference to climatological alarm.

It must be frustrating. Oil and gas won’t go away anytime soon. And conservatives, for better or worse, are nowhere near extinction.

Maybe that’s what makes liberals so fussy.

(From the subscription area of, posted June 16, 2017; author’s e-mail: [email protected])

About the Author

Bob Tippee | Editor

Bob Tippee has been chief editor of Oil & Gas Journal since January 1999 and a member of the Journal staff since October 1977. Before joining the magazine, he worked as a reporter at the Tulsa World and served for four years as an officer in the US Air Force. A native of St. Louis, he holds a degree in journalism from the University of Tulsa.