Speaking to students

This morning I gave two speeches on energy to an unusual audience: junior high students.

Here’s my outline:

  1. Machine labor: Mass flourishing requires a machine-labor civilization, not a manual labor civilization.
  2. Affordable machine calories: A machine labor civilization only operates tothe extent that the machines can consume calories.
  3. Efficient production process: Affordable machine calories require an efficient production process—which is very difficult to invent.

Theme: Efficient energy production is fundamental to human flourishing.

I started off the speech by asking students what they wanted to be when they grew up and pointing out that none of them said “farmer”—even though 200 years ago almost all of them would have said that. That introduced the difference between a manual labor civilization and a machine labor civilization.

When I speak to students my goal is to give them foundational concepts, especially ones missing from the public discussion, that will serve them as they encounter different ideas in the future. These students were active participants and, when I quizzed them at the end, had impressive retention of the concepts.

Next Friday I’ll be speaking to 2000 college students at Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit. In general I plan on doing a lot more speaking to students next year.

As an indication of impact, I ran into a student last night who had read my book. He sent me a link to this piece he wrote on electric cars for his school newspaper (at a very PC school). I don’t agree with all his analysis but I’m proud to have influenced his thinking.