Why Not to Designate Oil a Public Utility

In a missive straight out of Atlas Shrugged, Judge Ed Ludwig wants us to “designate oil companies as public utilities”. Don’t let the semantics confuse you. What he really advocates is price controls, blackmail and fascism.

What’s Reasonable?

A public utility regulated by the state or federal government, or the two working together, is entitled to charge reasonable rates for its products and services. It also is entitled to earn a reasonable profit. But that’s far less than what Big Oil is making.

How do you define reasonable? And what gives you the right to define what’s reasonable for someone else? A reasonable rate is whatever a free market will bear. A reasonable profit is whatever you are capable of earning, without initiating force against others.

Slipperly Slope Sighted!

Oil energy fits squarely into the criteria for a public utility. How can it be distinguished from electricity and natural gas? It can’t be.

The slippery slope has arrived. If you’re accustomed to poo-pooing slippery slope arguments, poo-poo no more. This is why any step towards fascism creates momentum for the next step – and why it needs to be stopped now.

The Consumer, Sniff

The consumer’s only recourse is to reduce consumption. But consumption most often is an economic necessity — the most harmful effects falling on those who may be the neediest and who can least afford the price increases. What is a less-than-wealthy person who must drive to work or pay for home heating oil to do?

No one is obligating the consumer to purchase oil products, or the vehicles that require them. The consumer’s perceived necessity does not constitute an obligation on the oil companies. Just because I need an X-Box doesn’t give me the right to nationalize Microsoft to pay for it!


If the industry were confronted with even the mere possibility of becoming a government-regulated utility, gasoline and heating oil prices would come tumbling down in a hurry.

In other words, use the power of government’s monopoly on the initiation of force to blackmail the oil companies. Despicable.

The Four-Step Solution

  1. Cease all subsidies, favorable treatments and tax breaks – for all industries.
  2. Remove all government obstacles to free enterprise so alternative energy products can freely compete with oil products.
  3. Something special happens here. (Also known as ????)
  4. Profit!!!

Via CommonDreams.

By George Donnelly

I'm building a tribe of radical libertarians to voluntarize the world by 2064. Join me.

One reply on “Why Not to Designate Oil a Public Utility”

Hello John Galt. Perhaps you have seen this video of Maxine Waters threatening to nationalize the oil companies: <a href= Maxine Waters threatens to nationalize America’s oil industry. Fits right in to the storyline.

BTW, I use the moniker Wyatt’s Torch (on for exactly the same reason you call this blog Wyatt’s Torch.

Best Regards!

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