As Sir Francis Bacon said, 'Knowledge is Power.' Of course, even if one is Sir Francis Bacon, knowledge doesn't always hold up against a mob, a lesson repeated more than once in the course of human events. Aside from the political "debate" (he said sarcastically, since political debate in this day and age is an oxymoron) the willingness to truncate research about climate change for economic reasons is nothing less than astoundingly ignorant; paranoia, economics and political loyalties have lead to an absolutism about climate science that is profoundly disturbing...however, one has to wonder if Y/A is truly a microcosm of society or an island unto itself if one is judging ignorance based on what is posted here. Not that the comment will get me a lot of fans in THIS category.
But society is also a juggernaut-ten years ago solar and wind power were still prohibitively expensive for individuals and wind farms were few and far between. Today 'energy zero' homes are being built and wind farms dot the countryside. While there are those who argue against alternative energy, its mettle is being tested-and I think with further research and development biofuels will become an efficient alternative to oil in years to come.
Advancing technology always has its adherents and those who are opposed to it. It may be true that we would have been better off without automobiles in the long run as many said back in the beginning of the automobile age (possibly spurred on by the buggy whip manufacturers, haha) but many of the very people who are arguing against alternative energy today are also arguing that adopting new technologies based on the use of oil is what advanced society in times past, which points out an interesting paradox. They have become the new buggy whip proponents arguing against the adoption of new technologies. Talk about your conundrums.
Here's what I think-we spend a LOT of money on military interventions to maintain our oil supplies; simultaneously we are spending a LOT of money on climate research and development of alternative energy, and both are occurring during a global economic downturn that has spurred a large group of political activists to select-as their solution to economic woes-putting the brakes on spending. They have a point.
However, how do we really define freedom? Is it the ability to go where we want when we want to? I think it is, in part-we certainly have a lot of people arguing about the use of oil to power that aspect of freedom, as well as competing for that resource. We spend trillions of dollars, thousands of lives of our own best citizens and take tens of thousands of lives halfway around the world in the effort to maintain that freedom. People argue for the free markets of capitalism as the best way to preserve freedom and therefore argue against government mandates, regulation and spending for other social engineering. Free markets certainly has merit-but when gas at the pump hits $3.50 and $4.00 a gallon that truncates one of the foundations of our individual freedom.
I'll tell you what-freedom to me is being able to jump in the car with my kids and go wherever I want. If I can't afford it or my kids are off fighting a foreign war to maintain gas at the pump its time for me to re-evaluate my love of a large V8 gasoline engine. Oh geez...that's hard to give up, especially when the alternatives today are basically sewing machines with steering wheels. But the V8 engine is today the horse of 100 years ago. We still love horses, we just don't ride 'em up to the convenience store for a loaf of bread-and eventually, we won't use a 12 mpg SUV to head up to the convenience store either.
So absolutely, the best way to protect our freedom is knowledge; if we define freedom as the ability to go where we want when we want to it doesn't matter much in the greater scheme of things whether our mode of transportation is a horse, gas powered car or sewing machine on wheels. If we can somehow free ourselves from killing and being killed by driving sewing machines I'm all for that too.
It's all based in knowledge, because knowledge is power.
And in answer to your second question, I'd say martial law is more likely to be imposed if oil supplies are cut off, which-if it happens-is likely to happen a lot sooner than Manhattan being inundated with water.