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tv   The Oil Industry Christianity Politics  CSPAN  March 8, 2020 4:30pm-5:49pm EDT

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in this country so almost everyone and everything traveled more by train -- by rail than by highway. in the meantime to move the goods, these rail cars were especially designed by national laboratories for carrying nuclear weapons safely. announcer: you can watch this and other programs on the history of communities across the country at this is american history tv, only on c-span 3. announcer: next, university of notre dame professor darren dochuk talks about the oil indistry's impact on american religion and politics. he's the author of "anointed with oil -- how christianity and crude made modern america." the southern methodist university center for presidential history and clement for southwest studies cohosted
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this event. mr. graybill: good evening. thanks so much for coming. it seems particularly appropriate given the subject of today's lecture to encourage you to pretend as if you are in church and to move in, scoot in if you would, to give folks who are, not necessarily late arriving, but people who are fashionably on time room to sit. i should say that this answers an age-old question for me. which is if there is anything that can depress the turnout, i think we have the answer. which is no. it was raining cats and dogs a few minutes ago. and i wondered, will there be people there?
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and sure enough, here you are. i tip my cap to all of you this evening. andy g i am the director of the clement center. i would like to thank the many people who helped make this evening possible. thanks to jeff, who directs the rhonda andpecially ruthanne who have coordinated all of the logistics. during my first semester at the clement center, we received an anonymous $500,000 gift in honor of governor bill clemens, who died earlier that year. the donor wanted to hear our ideas first about how we put those funds to use before they were transmitted. naturally, i proposed that this money be applied to my mortgage. [laughter] he passed. the benefactor liked much more
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the idea that use the money to convert one of the junior postdoctoral fellowship lines to one that would support an invited senior scholar. who cost more and are harder to pry away from institutions. with that settled, i turned to my associate director for suggestions about who we might target as the inaugural recipient of this senior fellowship. darrenediately proposed dochuk, who was hard at work with what sounds like a fascinating book about oil, religion, and politics. because of other commitments, darren could only join us for the spring 2013 semester. but we loved having him with us in part because of his winning personality. but especially so we could lay some claim to the book that resulted in the time that he
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spent here. it is a true pleasure to welcome him back to smu this evening having come full circle since he has finished that book. he grew up in alberta. listen for the vowels. you will know what i mean. he will probably murder me for saying this, but he started his college career as a scholarship volleyball player at george mason university in fairfax, virginia. he decided that the mission got mishigos of the d.c. area was too much for him, but he returned home to his native canada. he finished in vancouver with the university of notre dame. he started his teaching career in the midwest at purdue before a brief stint has associate professor in humanities. proving that you can go home
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again, darren moved to notre dame five years ago where he is an associate professor of history. his first book, published in 2011, won several major awards including the john h dunning prize from the american historical association, and from one the organization of american historians. a truly wonderful book. i have used it so many times in teaching in undergraduate and graduate classes that i have gotten free copies. i'm not going to give them away to you, but i have free copies. he has co-edited a volume that emerged at a symposium called sunbelt rising. the politics of space, place, and region, published in 2011. that was a big year for darren. his research has been supported by the american council society, national endowment for the humanities, the american philosophical society, and the rockefeller foundation. he is here tonight to discuss
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his latest book, "anointed with oil -- how christianity and crude made modern america," published last year by basic books, to great acclaim. following his lecture, he will be happy to take your questions and sign books which are available for purchase. off to the left is a place where darren can sign them for you. so please join me in welcoming darren dochuk. [applause] mr. dochuk: thanks, andy. and thanks to jeff, rhonda, and to ruth anne, to the clemens center for southwest studies as well as the center for presidential history for co-sponsoring this event.
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as you heard, the support of smu over the years has been tremendous and it is nice to be back on campus in dallas even with this unusual weather. something i am used to though, having spent a good part of my life in vancouver, british columbia. it is a privilege to be with you today. especially because we are on an oil patch. i spent a good amount of my time over the last few months talking to audiences on the oil patch whether it is down in the southwest or in alberta, canada. places it turns out where there is just a bit of oil and a bit of religion. so it tends to be a good conversation. and i am looking forward to that conversation later. it is also really special to be here quite simply because i spent so much time as a fellow out,and he just pointed really doing the first wave of research for this project. and during that productive four or five months here, i was able
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to pour through the papers here at smu. the petroleum pamphlet collection, which is just tremendous. and also do some quick trips to other archives around the state. again, no surprise that texas looms so large in my story. but being introduced along the way to so many colorful characters. but teal higgins, pictured up in the top left from southeast someone from daniel plainview to "there will be blood" to "the apostle" played by robert duval. someone who is absolutely convinced that he could prophesy where oil existed and despite the efforts of geologist to thwart his advance, sure enough, came through in january 1901, predicting the site where it would erupt, putting texas on the map. someone who saw himself as working with the favor and in favor of the divine.
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or a geologist such as william fletcher cummins, a geologist with a slightly different generation. this is a methodist circuit preacher who during his travels on horseback in the southeast portion of the state during the 1880's and 1890's, would look for oil. and sure enough, predict often where it was going to be. and then would move into mexico to serve as a geologist. someone who combined his vocations as a cleric and a geologist. or jake simmons, a very compelling figure, the most prominent african-american wildcat oilman who got rich in east texas in the 1930's and use d his wealth to build an empire. but one that was also philanthropic, using his money to promote civil rights. he is also partially responsible for opening nigeria and ghana to oil exploration in the 1950's and 1960's. like this very
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compelling figure, someone who wore her face on her sleeve as well. very committed to a social gospel of human uplift and equality. it is she who, as you probably know or should know, would be responsible for taking down standard oil, forcing, really compelling the government to take apart the standard monopoly in 1911. this is all coming through her writing. again, these are just a few of the characters that i got to know better at smu. each individual saw oil as more than a material resource or commodity. to them it was a gift of the divine and a vocational calling that transcended the base workings of business. petroleum was their anointing by god and their call to uplift humanity. my goal in writing the book was to explore how it is that oil has long enraptured americans in such fashion, and how it has imprinted itself on the american soul with real lasting social and political consequences. for people certainly in the
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pulpits and pews, and also those beyond. someone who recognized that oil was existential, even thea roger -- even theological for americans, was president jimmy carter, his words were appropriate for opening this talk. in summer of 1979 carter delivered his infamous malaise speech. it was one of his most important addresses, as it came amid revolution in iran and a resultant second energy crisis. with dead seriousness, he pleaded for people to support is energy conservation agenda. but he also asked for more. explained, i began to ask myself the same question that i now know has been troubling many of you. why have we been not able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem? you picture him slamming,
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gently, his fist on the desk. it is clear that the true problems of our nation are deeper than gasoline lines or energy shortages. deeper even than inflation or recession. it is a crisis of confidence. it is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. in the days to come he implored the conclusion, let us commit ourselves together to a rebirth of the american spirit. those of you who are aware of carter's career know that he spoke often on energy. in fact, he opened up his presidency in spring of 1977 with an energy program, at which time he said that kind of the fight for renewable energy, supplies, and new alternative sources amounted to the moral equivalent of war. and those who are aware of the 1979 crisis speech also know its
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evolution was uneven. many of his advisers advised him against preaching and sermonizing to the people. they wanted him to show confidence, they wanted him to show that he had answers, not to to them into a kind of despair over the moral or lack of moral fortitude of the nation at that time. but carter did not budge and went ahead anyway. and the main takeaways of the speech therefore remained his make alone. twofirst, that the united states had confidence in itself and its global standing. an second, the crisis was not just energy-related. it was spiritually related as well. couple of core questions. how did oil get grafted on to america and serve as a catalyst for its ambitions on a global stage, paving the way for what would be known as the american century? and what happened and what did it mean for the nation when the confidence of an american
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century fueled by big religion and oil crumbled during the carter era? in an effort to address these and other queries related to the book, i want to offer any minutes we had today, a sample glimpse of a couple of facets of what i call a religious biography of oil. and i'm going to focus principally on the heart of the 20th century for the 1930's to the 1970's. i will begin by glancing at just how some american powerbrokers, from the very beginning of the industry, envisioned the petroleum industry as essential to the rise of american political exceptionalism, they n i will cut to the local level, and move beyond altitude. and we will focus just on one, what might be familiar to -- one oil patch which might be familiar to you, east texas in the 1930's. and i will finish by summarizing some of the political legacies --these rude awakenings
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crude awakenings in modern american. it first captured america's heart and a 19th century as the fuel and lubricant that would and modern machinery. democratic in its privileging of individual free labor. oil registered as modern america's lifeblood. its discovery during the civil war and its role in setting the nation's new economic course has , its perceived regenerative properties for those on the civil war battlefield, as well as for a nation seeking healing. all of this underscored oil's nature for a society on the rise. this is abundantly clear and in the popular literature of the time.
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it is boilerplate for the american petroleum industry and also something that connected the property of oil and the materiality of it to religious allegory and a dreams of american providence. and destiny on an international stage. it lights the temples and mosques amid the ruins of babylon. it is the light of abraham's birthplace in damascus and burns in the grottoes of nativity in bethlehem. and the cottage and the banks of the euphrates and the golden horn. it penetrated china and japan. it shed radiance over many a dark african waste. american petroleum is the true because my polite -- true cosmopolite. omnipresent and omnipotent. it lit the whole universe. bold, yes.
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nothing cautious either about that. as much as u.s. oil was mythologized or used as boilerplate, it also infused god-fearing individuals with real clout, whose shared vision of the future translated to real corporate structures and outcomes. their efforts were evident in early generations in the oil industry but they carried special weight as u.s. influence spread globally in the 20th century. two sons of missionaries serve as illustrations here. consider the first picture above. this is henry luce, the famous publisher whose parents were missionaries from china, funded by the rockefellers. in february of 1941, luce used the pages of life magazine, which he owned, to beseech americans as protector of the free world and create the first american century. the first great american century, his term. luce had tested this a month
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earlier in a talk at the american petroleum institute. there, he praised oilman for being the vanguards of america's expanded role. having with the new -- within you a dynamic spirit of freedom and enterprise with a genius for cooperation and organization. it follows inevitably that you ,id not stop at the frontier for your sense of the round this of the world, i salute you. luce was especially enamored of large oil corporations that were exploring for oil across the globe, and in the process, spreading modern technologies and know-how. it was at this time that the seven sisters, as they would become known, derided as such, which included five u.s. oil companies. gulf, texaco, standard new york and standardon,
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new york mobile. this is the moment in which these companies are turning towards south america and the arabian peninsula. urged on by washington to discover new fields and secure american's hegemony before domestic reserves ran out. we have had several sections of p oil in the last 120 years. this is coming in the wake of fears of peak oil in the interwar period, anticipating what would come next. as the automobile industry continue to expand. for luce, their corporate labors conjured a sense of limitless power. which, when harnessed by god-fearing patriots, had the capacity to transform the world. he drew on metaphor to encourage his compatriots to use oil to fuel international investment, with america at the head -- international advancement, with america at the head. a single session of petroleum served as the pillar of the american century. but luce, the very architect of
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the term, suggested a religion of acumen a clout reach and global development be included as a twin column. a second individual does as well. william mattie was the son of presbyterian missionaries in the middle east. in fact, his parents were among generation of american missionaries that moved to beirut. spread mission basis but also hospitals and schools, most famously american university in beirut. at princeton, he went on to teaching dartmouth before accepting the presidency of the college in 1946. eddie was a man of protestant confidence who envisioned a new world order constructed out of enchanting crude. in 1940, while traveling and recruiting for financial support for his school, he lectured on quote, the power of god in the secular world, which implored laypeople to be the quote, shock
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troops of the church, and raise up each sector of the globe. you and i, he declared, who believe in christendom are not doomed to weakness. we serve the only totalitarian king. we who follow christ need to cover ourselves with tolerance, reverence, and charity. and then wherever we walk, we shall find ourselves standing on holy ground. within months, eddie was acting on this imperative. serving as an officer for the office of strategic services. eventually of course the cia, to survey arabia for subsurface crude, gain knowledge of its people and their faith in a law and bringing the u.s. to union with this rising kingdom. five years after claiming allegiance to a totalitarian and tolerant christianity, he oversaw a historic deal, pictured here before you, installing the u.s. in the region for good.
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again, doing so, truly committed to what he saw as a religious alliance, a moral alliance between a people who shared faith in a monotheism. his subsequent career testified to the potency of this liberal international vision. as a hired consultant for aramco, he promoted peace between western and saudi interests by way of mutual ambition and shared respect for the divine. through aggressive proliferation of corporate promotion as well as practical instruction on how to live and labor in a land saturated by god, he not only wrapped aramco in a myth of capitalism and corporate netherlands, he also animated ground-level operations on the drill sites and the oil camps with the tenor of intercultural and ecumenical exchange. and one of the more, i think, fascinating lines of work that
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my research took me into was looking at the interior lives, the internal workings of aramco , especially in the 1940's through the 1960's. there, william eddie and several managers, many coming with missionary backgrounds, divined a whole institutional structure by which islam and protestantism and catholicism could kind of create a shared community, a shared knowledge of one another. for instance, they established the iranian affairs division and houston with some of the leading scholars of islam. it with some of the leading scholars of islam. but in the world of who's who, this division was responsible for education, acculturation, and internationalist ecumenical exchange. they created secretly, because they were technically not countryto do so in this
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of theocracy, morale groups with small groups of christian worship. they called it around groups because they cannot call them what they really were, congregations and parishes. again, it's a system that proliferated in the shadows. but reinforcing their own kind of religious commitment to this enterprise as something more than the pursuit of black gold at leastte 1950's, 5000 workers attending the groups, thousands of others doing so as well for anglican, evangelical, and eventually other groups. and finally at the highest altitude, they called for a moral alliance of america in the arab world, linking american catholics and protestants with muslims based on shared monotheism. in the book i talked about the effects of this on politics in washington in the late 1950's when eisenhower especially wanted to create a judeo-christian america to bring protestants, catholics, and jews together. to reinforce a sense of purpose,
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always in the face of common is on. also because of the law of these arabs in aramco wanted to reach out and include muslims within this quadrilateral. of course with the broader international political implications. their sense of vocation spoke to the aspirations of a whole cadre of visionaries. powerbrokers with rising influence in mid-20th century, major oil, and the state. they adhered to, what i call a in the book a civil religion of crude. big religion identified as ecumenical, internationalist, civil, and cosmopolitan. wedded to big oil, defined by integration, combination, and collection to guarantee global influence. the linchpin of this cadre was, again, alluded to earlier with
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, the rockefeller family. a family known to support the missionaries, both in china ande luce's parents worked, those working with a tougher soil in the middle east. john d. rockefeller jr. placed the profits of the families standard oil empire in the service of a philanthropy that stretched scientifically informed international development. in the realm of corporate relations, is influence imprinted on a magazine to keep employees, stockholders, and the public inspired to advance petroleum's humanitarianism into modernizing societies. junior's sense of mission got a boosted 1940 when his five sons founded the rockefeller brothers fund. of the five, none was more important to linking oil to global economic and cultural initiatives than nelson rockefeller, pictured with a pointer, whose work with american affairs placed him at
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the forefront of the u.s. plans in south america. we don't have time to go into the influence that he had within major oil circles. his work with creole oil in venezuela was crucial to his own kind of career development. at that time he insisted his oil company hone relations policies and deal with locals on a more equal but not fully equal playing field. at the heart of that was also a sense of embedding religion, in the case of venezuela, catholicism, on company compounds to help provide a foundation for this vision. and he reached out to his co-executives and managers and called on them to be secular missionaries, if you will. nelson's agenda would assume an urgency in the 1940's. and increasingly in the late 1940's as latin america becomes a site of political contestation and fear of communism looming large.
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with that in mind, president truman would outline his point-four program in 1949 where he said america's foreign-policy engagement had to focus on economic uplift and a vision of developing the globe to win hearts and minds through the application of technological know-how. again, this is very much coming out with and aligned with nelson rockefeller. and aramco, incidentally, would build its model some ways drawing on the same lessons learned that nelson rockefeller would offer in venezuela. nelson was not outspokenly whogious, but he was a man longed to reshape the southern hemisphere in an image of christian democracy. he believed it would stymie common is him's influence -- communism's influence and would
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ensure america's place at the head of the new international order. indeed, big oil's apostles would not have worn convictions on their sleeves. it would be for the sake of universal brotherhood. yet however much they were drained of its dogmatism, oil's promise continued to inform their actions. oil's global topography became their theological plains. the civil religion of crude is one thread in oil's religious biography. certainly vital to understanding the united states's role in international context. but if we want to understand some of the profoundest terns in modern united states politics, you must look at the oil patch, a unique landscape out of which dirt and -- and the glowungles
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of refining fires, countless citizens stirred up and long-held the carbon gospel of their own, the one that i call wildcat christianity. terms, thehnical progenitors of this faith were wildcaters themselves. independent oil hunters who drilled wildcat discovery on domestic frontiers. emboldened by oil's rule of capture, the business's founding legal code, which granted any man's authority to cap subsurface crude aggressively and on their terms, wildcatting lent the early industry essence that would endure across time. for john d. rockefeller senior, that rule of capture was in his mind, wasteful. his was a bureaucratic outlook that lined up with the protestant work ethic. which assumed good capitalists would uphold good calculation and control. rockefellers thought to duel oils laissez-faire free-for-all
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by consolidating the industry. the competitors who had hoarded his monopoly in pennsylvania considered their role of capture sacrosanct. it their wishes to act alone. be it before their god or on their patch of soil. they reveled in risk-taking and excepted the volatilities of chance and pursuit of profits as if there were no tomorrows. they were warrior heroes. wildcat christianity captured in sacred terms the resilient utopian expectations that accompanied their quest to drill. amid their sectors boom bust cycles and fluctuations of health and wealth, their faith offered meaning through a theology that nurtured personal mystical encounter with soil and an active higher being. a fierce individualism fortified by small-scale association. and notions of time that anticipated the violence of life in the age of oil. at the turn of the 20th century, wildcat christianity was forced out of its original home in the
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alleghenies by the rockefellers and relocated west of the mississippi. and those of you are familiar with the history of oil know that this is a story of migration. western pennsylvania would flourish to the 1890's. but soon the epicenter of american oil would shift west. it would do so much to the surprise of the rockefellers. john archibald, perhaps you are aware, famously said in the early 1890's that he would drink every gallon of oil west of the mississippi. this is how sure he was that oil did not exist there. he would have the last laugh. small producers would be forced out and have to go hunt for it with their spiritual devices, prayer, and whatever they had into western terrain. there they would discover oil in southern california, central and south texas, really putting texas on the map.
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and is the texas gusher age. and then of course it would culminate in many ways in the east texas strike of the 1930's. the story does not end there, of course. it goes to west texas and elsewhere. i would like to pause now and flesh out what does this wildcat christianity look like on the ground. i have talked at length about the executives in the managerial class, but i want to give you a sense of what i think are four facets of wildcat christianity as they appeared in east texas in 1930's. i know we have at least one person here from east texas somewhere in the audience. so how did wildcat religion come to define the western oil patch in such potent and lasting form? well, let's take a look at this briefly. how did it start? well, it started with the daisy bradford, a christian woman who
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recruited marion joyner to find oil on her farm. a self-made prophet from alabama who is only education came from memorizing the testament. there were quintessential poor boy, could only work shallow pools. he was certain that god would guide him to crude. with word of something brewing, people dressed in their sunday best and would make their way to bradford's farm to watch the magic man at work. on october 5, 1930, audible gargling could be heard in the casing. next came a spurt, then a flow, all of which electrified the crowd. one witness described the scene as hilarious. oil they cried, oil. some jumped up and down with joy. tossing straw hats high into the air to demonstrate their feelings. one crewman pulled out his pistol and shot at the oil spray in the sky and was quickly tackled with danger all around. joyner turned pale at his
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creation, almost in disbelief that what he had prophesies came true. what came true was epic in proportions, the east texas pool was to be discovered as the largest, up to that point, ever discovered in the world. it was a length of 43 miles long, 10 miles wide, containing 5.5 billion barrels. what happen overnight is a booming population with this new booming economy. workers from all over the region poured into east texas looking for employment. what else is going on at this time? the depression. yeah. so, here you have in the poorest counties of one of the poorest regions, all of a sudden this explosion of possibility, and people are ready to take full advantage of that, no matter the cost. more jobs, higher income, this was the odd circumstance that
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made east texas an island during the entirety of america's decade of depression. the phenomenal excess of abundance led to it acquiring a larger-than-life feel. again, what did it create culturally in the pews and in the pulpits? four essentials i would say to the wildcat faith. enraptured with the black stuff, east texas's citizens revamped a wildcat system of belief association of politics that would legitimate their ownership of this new material form of wealth. first, amid this excitement of intensify the, outlook that far god is the reason for their escape from affliction into abundance. even as they envisioned this, they also embraced the mystery and curious workings of chance. and in keeping with their prosperity gospel and celebrating the speculative and supernatural dimensions of
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faith, oil, and the markets. good christians would maximize oil than trying to control and discipline them. several features of this booming landscape reinforced this mindset of the landscape itself, once farmland, is now a jungle cks.ere i think the joke in one of these towns is that you could jump from one dereck to the next and travel for blocks on end. which was not so bad when you're trying to escape a fire. the rise of the wildcat personality. the wildcater. perhaps many of you have read about the big rich. there have been many books written about them and others who hit it big here. reinforcing again the ability of the independent oilman to dream big. and to not just dream big, but to have others dream with them. there are reasons for this. quite striking, at the first outset of the strike, first discovery, major oil company
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standards refused to go in. their geologists said this is just a small pocket, don't worry about it. well, you've got all these small producers still using a range of devices to find oil, continually striking another well, another expression of oil wealth. so, why is this important? well, as late as 1935, independents will manage more than half of the 22,500 wells in operation in east texas. this is not just mythological, or mythical, it is something concrete. the power of the independent oilman and the wildcat are now assuming a new form. church life itself would change. one of my favorite pictures is the oil derricks around this church property. not an unusual occurrence or site. many churches saw this as a way to gain riches, and they would bring in, lease their land out,
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often they would open up by consecrating their land, and then they would spud the well. one church do not have to wait long for the richest to pour in. new buildings would follow. there was a turns out a revival in gothic architecture throughout the region. so even the poorest churches of christ, pentecostals, could now pour their money into incredibly impressive architectural forms. the windfall for east texas's lucky citizens also created a second affect, a reveling of class, or a new populist dream. and a rise of conviction that plain folk could finally realize their destiny as equals. that the rockefellers no longer have their grip on them. as one writer offered, here with the democratic opportunity that pushed frontiers far beyond adam smith's wildest dreams.
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oil saturated with riches pouring into the offering plates, even the most marginalized religious folk could enjoy the launch into this new social order. they too could contribute into sending their riches to small christian colleges. some larger like baylor, to support them during the depression, taking ownership of religious institutions beyond the four counties of east texas. bolstered by the success of their communities, looking to future gains, east texas church folk nevertheless knew that oil was impermanent. a local capture the sentiment when he titled his memoir, where oil flows, joy and woe curiously mingle. showers of wealth today could mean daily illusion is -- deluges of misfortune tomorrow. this was the trade-off of life in an oil boom escape, where the frailty of everything and an inevitable future of depletion always clouded the soul. when you strike oil, you let loose hades. and hades was apparent in east texas.
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usual outbreaks of fire and distraction, injuries and death, but in the case of east texas, really, the ultimate form of devastation occurred at the new london school in 1937. this was a brand-new, million-dollar school of 700 kids. it was the envy of school districts around the country. on one of the classrooms, there was a plaque to which students would look on a daily basis. oil and natural gas are the -- our east texas's greatest mineral blessings. without them the school would not be here and none of us would be here learning our lessons. on one day at the end of class, the last class session, someone flicked on a switch in the mechanical room and what immediately happened was beyond belief. one of the school's brand-new buildings literally exploded into the air. we have stories of children in
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the other building looking one minute, seeing a building, going down the tie their shoes and looking up and not seeing it anymore. for the next 18 hours, oil workers poured into the town hoping to find the children buried beneath the rubble, using their hands to claw out workers , safety workers coming from dallas. media as well, including a young walter cronkite. the end of this was 300 children dead. one third of the town's average population, incidentally it would be the reason why the federal government would mandate -- for natural gas. this is life in the oil patch of east texas. for many east texans, the calamity generated new and time stinking. it encouraged them to appreciate life and health and wealth is a miraculous interlude in an otherwise difficult slide towards cataclysmic end. and pray to an all-powerful
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being who giveth and taketh suddenly but is always there. there's was a mentality that defied post-millennial confidence in the benefit of this. rockefeller's confidence. and accepted the reversals of an apocalyptic mode. but rather than dwell on despair, local pastors urged citizens to renew their faith to in a christ who expected them to use what prosperity they had in the passing moment to prepare for his return. surely god is beginning a revival here that is destined to sweep america, they charged in the wake of the new london is disaster. fourth dimension of this, and this is where we will focus on for the remaining moments, the remaining minutes. and that is on the political side of this. the spirit of rebellion that is generated in east texas. amid the oil patch, citizens absorbed the truth that they alone having courage to stand
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out and times darkness with uncompromising drive, including in their work. if time is running out, death and an afterlife on the horizon, what is a person to do but drill, drill, drill. what is not incumbent on them now to use politics to guarantee them that right. those who inhabited oil prices were therefore filled with a spirit of rebellion. it was led by these cohort or spirit there would be earlier fights on behalf of the wildcaters, talking about a fight of the standard at the federal level, but it is the 1930's that will spark this rebellion in full. and we already know that thanks to the work of the historians, it is at the new deal that the rise of the postwar conservatism takes root. largely in reaction to franklin d. roosevelt's policy on labor. but i argue in the book that we need to also understand just how
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central oil and texas oil is to this movement. the revolt intensified, therefore, in the 1930's and especially the 1940's. partly in response to new deal policies, trying to curtail some of the excesses of east texas at and the chaos. but also in reaction to u.s. oil's shift abroad. which was encouraged by the secretary of interior, pictured below on the right. unable to tap faraway pools, frustrated by washington's investment in a foreign instead of domestic production, wary of ofernationalist projects development, and feeling abandoned, independent oil responded politically. instrumental in his counteraction was j. howard pew, whose muscular faith fueled values, all of the traditions of his father, not an uncommon story here. the son of a man who was almost
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driven out of business by standard in western pennsylvania. jay howard assumed the seriousness of his father. one senator once quipped, a senator who did not appreciate him, that he not only talks like an affidavit, he looks like one. he was a serious-looking fella, with some bushy eyebrows. this was a man who preached a sermon at the company's christmas party every year, insisting on why you had to use the king james version. a smart conservative, serious businessman and christian. and as a result of sunoco's rootedness in texas, its first kind of leverage would come, and saving the company would come from moving to beaumont almost immediately. and it would take a foothold there. it would then have a big hold of east texas. so even though it was based in pennsylvania, sunoco would the square dealer
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as opposed to the new dealer, the square dealer, family-run companies of east texas. so jay howard pew kind of assumed the role of wildcat political warrior naturally. what were some of the initial political victories? and here will take us to the present moment in the next few minutes. how does the spirit of rebellion manifest itself in a broader political moment? some of these pivots are hidden ones in our history. a first victory for the pews and the wildcaters of east texas and texas as a whole was their dissension and protest against the proposed anglo american petroleum agreement, which was ckys ased by harold i a way for the federal government to align with the british and large oil companies to really kind of take new steps in a
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postwar period to manage the pools and the drill sites that were coming online in the middle east especially. he saw himself as being one of the leaders of this coalition. but, and as he saw, too, this was an attempt to further the internationalist oil ambitions and the civil religion crude that were shared. thanks to those who used the media that they owned, and were considerable, to stir up opposition to the agreement, this would be a failed attempt. the plan would place the american petroleum industry under the bureaucratic control of the federal government and expose it to foreign interest. as a result of this protest which made its way into washington, roosevelt would shelve it, and truman would kill it a short time later. a second victory, it becomes a state. because of their alliances and the need to mandate and work only in arab/muslim oil
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producing states, the majors could not move into israel. to,so who does israel turn lead by a number of oil executives with american oil experience? they would turn to the independent of texas. the independents from texas would welcome the opportunity and often, with their bibles in hand, would travel to the holy land to use scripture to hunt for crude. it would be a frustrating journey at first, but this is one that continues for many independent oilman. and strengthening once again this relationship with israel. pew would have other means of promoting his politics. one would be the formation in 1948 of the pew charitable trust, and especially the own trust within this. which was in his words, "to acquaint americans of the values of the free market, paralyzing effects of government controls, and the interdependence of christianity and freedom." again, nothing subtle.
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the third victory, and key victory to getting us closer to what happens in the 1960's and 1970's, culminating in 1980, is the tidelands controversy. and this is going to arise when truman seizes the control 10 miles offshore oil leasing, not just in texas, but also in california and along the coast in louisiana. this would lead to a revolt of unprecedented nature among independents. and they would fight back. they would fight in 1948 on behalf of the dixiecrat party. we know about the issue of race and civil rights and how that sparked strom thurmond's alternative to the democratic party. but the fight for tidelands control was also important as well. more importantly, it would lead to 1952 and the work of wildcaters and their allies in the church.
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especially evangelicals in the southwest. especially evangelical preachers like the emerging star evangelist billy graham, who at this very juncture would make dallas his second home and would make first baptist his church membership. perhaps likely part of his reasoning. but it would be this alliance of an emerging evangelical movement, which again, we know the political outcome of to some degree, and wildcaters that we come see the revolt really to fruition in 1952. a rally of churches and oil associations behind the eisenhower ticket. not just rallying behind the ticket, but in the case of billy graham being instrumental in wooing dwight eisenhower to the republican ticket. the result would be an eisenhower victory on a platform of handing that control the tidelands to the states.
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and this was a very valuable commodity, much of the leasing was funding public education in texas. again, so the fight for control of tidelands was also a family values political issue. forging this alliance that would have lasting effects. and you might be wondering what this is. this is billy graham's evangelistic ministry that started a movie company. his first movie produced was "mr. texas." the second movie was "oil town usa" based in texas. celebrating the potential of the wildcater should he come to christ and personal salvation to use that wealth and those riches to promote the gospel that billy graham preached to large audiences throughout the world. what were some of the next steps beyond this? pushnabashed evangelical for petroleum would continue.
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in 1964 many powerbrokers within this emerging block through support behind barry goldwater, which caused liberal critics to rail against extremist in the oil fund the political right. but for independent oil churchmen like pew, there was no question who was on the wrong side of the spectrum, rockefeller republicans. besides conjuring up bad memories of one family's near destruction of another substance, rockefeller also registered with pew as the face of a coercive system of centralization and compromise that have long threatened to emasculate his profession and the country's beliefs. i know much about rockefeller, pugh wrote privately, he is the worst person to become president of this country of ours. so put a republican in as president might nelson who supports all the evils that have brought the country, would be the most tragic thing that could
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happen. they gave pugh great pleasure the acceptance speech trumpeted the wildcat ethic. i would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and let me remind you that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. having defeated their archrival, they assumed control of the republican party. they continued to build economic empires. oil production and refining centers designed to secure oil reserves for the continent. one of the most progressive was the great canadian oilsands project, in 1960 by jay howard pew in partnership with the evangelical premier of alberta at the time, whose friendship was shared thanks to billy graham. so kind of a triangulation of politics, religion, and oil. in 1952, poew would invest $250
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one million. this would be the largest private investment of its kind in canada at that juncture. 54,000 acres out of which they wanted to draw oil. the project began in 1964, at least it was christened. and in 1967 the opening ceremonies was a great celebration full of prayer and singing, almost like a revival. this venture combines drama and science. man against nature. bearing the risk of large financial resources. great canadian oil sand stood at the tribute to man's inventiveness and determination to overcome the obstacles of nature and the signal that the dawn of a new age arrived. richard nixon would rely on the same system of support to win his victory in 1968 and 1972. his vision was tightly attuned to the religious topography of the oil patch.
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through his ties to billy graham and sunbelt-based ministries, he gained access to the aspirations of an ascendant force that would soon redefine the american landscape. indeed, the energy crises of the 1970's would empower this southwestern based evangelical and oil movement and republican right. on one hand, the global ruptures of the decade and the struggles of major oil companies to handle opec and the quest by arab oil to nationalize their industries undermined the multinational corporations in the civil religions of crude that rockefeller once stood for. on the other, the prosperity gospel that had captured the southwestern oil patch mindset in the 1930's now bloomed on a national stage, propelling the evangelical movement phenomena that was associated with as a whole into the national consciousness.
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famously of course one magazine declaring 1976 the year of the evangelicals, as well as oil-funded superstructures of education and church ministry. like oral roberts here in tulsa. all symbolizing the rise of this oil-fueled evangelical movement. which was really by this point, the beating heart of wildcat christianity. meanwhile, evangelicals purchased books that gained the energy crisis on u.s. reliance on muslim controlled oil. alliance created by the rockefeller center contrary prophesies the end of the world was imminent because washington had forsaken the interest of values of independent oil. among the most popular author of such books is john, based right here at dallas theological seminary, who wrote for a sprawling national audience. is 1970's text armageddon, oil in the middle east crisis, reached millions of viewers. he channeled his end times angst against environmentalists who made america dependent on non-christian others.
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were americans able to tap oil to -- in alaska, underneath southwestern soil and the shale deposits of colorado and wyoming, he asserted they might yet survive another day. pairing premillennialist understanding of time with fears of peak oil, arab, muslim control of oil in the threats of israel and the kind of american power, evangelicals in the southwest, oil and church associations forcefully sold the message that it was the patriotic independence of u.s. oil patch that could save america from the dependence of foreigners and from its slide into godlessness. ing oil warriors did not just want revival, they wanted to bring their fuel and family values to the white house. jimmy carter would feel the effects of that ambition. to be sure, and as historians have emphasized, social politics looms large as well. carter supported people's rights
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and women's rights. evangelicals,led who by 1979 had come to see jimmy carter as anything but evangelical. independent oil men were among those who led the fight of social conservativism. with jay howard pew now deceased, it was up to other wildcaters to bankroll the cause. the junior hunt had the crusade for christ, which proposed a one billion venture to proselytize and sponsor a christian apologist, whose 1979 manifesto sparked evangelical's antiabortion crusade. but not much triggered hunt in his rage more than carter's energy politics. the president supported the e.r.a. and abortion rights. it infuriated them. but carter's crisis of confidence speech was equally damming in their eyes. carter bemoaned the nation's high energy consumption.
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the attack on oil in moralistic terms was the final straw. over the course of the next over the course of the next year, ronald reagan inflamed their anger with his hard-driving quest for the presidency. running on the slogan "let's make america great again," he won the hearts and minds of the american oil patch. when he announced his candidacy, it is no program to say simply use less energy. malaise had no place in reagan's vocabulary. exuding the audacity that the oil patch embrace, he mingled kingsreachers and petro promising them the nation would be great again as soon as washington's bureaucrats let rugged while is open up new frontiers and pioneers raise -- god-fearing pioneers raise their children in communities calibrated to the morals of their past. the structure of the wildcat christine, it's oil-funded
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mega-churches and pastors would welcome his family values winage improve key to his in reagan would reward his 1980. supporters by making one of them his secretary of the interior. in this role, pentecostal james watt would see to it that evangelicalism's long-standing fears of encouragement on the resources would find policy outlets. and in the spirit of the hadhwest while qatar's who rs had begun their fight against the new deal order by confronting an interior secretary of a different ilk he promised to restore the oil patch you headlong worked it -- to the people who headlong worked at as theirs. although watt's career in washington would be short, the wildcat revolt would continue to strengthen in the 1980's and beyond right to today. each step forward would mean a step back for the dreams like william eddy. rising frustrations of opec, festering worry about liberal
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drifts in energy policy, heightened tensions with iran and suspicions that americans , turn to foreign oil in 1940 was at the root of the oil shortages in the 1970's intensified the anxiety the elites used to undermine the rockefeller vision. by the 1980's with saudi arabia now sole owner of aramco, the moral alliance disbanded. dying, ones dead and could say that the american century and the twin pillars of international oil and religion had succumbed. of course, there are other signs including the persian gulf war. and the remapping of oil interests and american confidence in the middle east. today, it is very clear the exceptional authority he proclaimed is no longer america's to enjoy alone. that highlights irony in play.
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outr oil ambassadors went into the world to educate people in the fantastic possibility of the black stuff helped supr other theology-- spurs other myths of exceptionalism. one could consider it the wildcatters day in the sun. we are putting american energy first, pence proclaimed in midland, while touring an independent company. with echoes of reagan, he heralded the three pillars of american greatness and promised that developing them will make america great again. it is a familiar refrain, one that j. howard's peers would recognize. at the same time, the picture of the oil patch as static is misleading. as much as i've emphasized two
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of the 20th century's carbon created other gospels legacies as well. recent battles over energy and environment have exposed dissent over the efficacy of the wildcat imperative. evidenced in children of the wildcat gospel and the oil patch rallying against the keystone pipeline and the alberta oilsands. one young evangelist among them for the carbon free gospel states simply. "many people see the pipeline as a political or economic issue but i see it as a moral issue." another proselyte promises a power shift brought on by revival on behalf of the planet. in yet another ironic twist, joining the rockefeller brothers to finance this anti-alberta protest is the pew charitable trust. the proud creation of howard pew
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is now under attack from another of his institutional legacies. finally as much as wildcat religion continues to possess ws, oil'sts and peer effects on spiritual health are being debated and the cried. is oil and gas really of god? one thing remains consistent with the past -- and it is a dynamic that president jimmy carter's rightly perceived in his 1979 speech. that energy debates in this country are as animated by competing worldviews of the here and now and the thereafter. and waging them is the moral equivalent of war. thank you. [applause]
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we have a few minutes for questions. >> thank you very much for your talk tonight. one comment, one question. the comment, it was the event of the new london school explosion, by the way, i'm a registered professional engineer in the state of texas. it was that one event that the state legislature implemented the licensing of engineers that designed and built public infrastructure. that was another outflow from that one tragic event. dr. dochuk: thank you. >> the question i have is my grandfather grew up in east texas on a farm. at that time, the farm boys were flooding from the farms to longview and kilgore to work in
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the fields. and quickly, the parents, the mothers particularly, reeled the boys back in because there was such a massive loss of life and limb in that type of occupation. luckily, i'm here because he migrated from there into dallas during the depression, left the fields to come here to find safer employment. was there anything in your research that talked about trying to reconcile religion with this extremely dangerous work? dr. dochuk: great question, great point. thanks for that story, too. and certainly, i've brushed over an effort to show how enchanting this oil boom was, it was devastating and people knew from the get go that was the flip side to this. and i could have gone on about that. first of all, those who went to kilgore and longview did not always get jobs. the labor pool was quickly saturated and they found
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themselves in food lines. that did not necessarily line up with the prosperity gospel. and, of course, the destruction of lives is just profound. i write in the book of other instances that pale in comparison to new london but almost on a daily basis opening up your newspaper and hearing of somebody else falling off, killing themselves or impaling themselves. i guess what i would add to that is, even the down side, the dark side of the oil boom, even the bust cycle, ultimately reinforced this kind of religious world view that came to expect the calamity. not necessarily welcoming it, but expecting it as part of the new reality. pentecostalism. why would it flourish? it is the sense of the supernatural workings of god in a crazy environment with rich potential. but it is also a gospel of healing.
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healing services and healing revivals would spread throughout the oil patch for this very reason, to let average people handle the grief and handle the bloody bodies that were around them on a regular basis. so, thanks. yes? >> my grandfather worked -- [inaudible] texas. [inaudible] dr. dochuk: right. >> [inaudible] he lost his toe and had to go to the hospital. it cost $500. [inaudible] so, he went to fort worth. theound the owner of drilling company and threw him
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out the window. [laughter] a tough guy. dr. dochuk: oh, yeah. for sure. >> [inaudible] >> [laughter] >> thank you very much for your talk. this may be a basic question, but could you talk about what was driving this? what was the biggest? was it the use of the heating oil, vehicles? you talked mostly about the supply side but what about demand? dr. dochuk: early on, it is mostly aluminum. it changes over time. as the whale industry dies in the mid-19th century, there needs to be alternatives. oil would come to represent that possibility. lubricants for machinery. by the turn-of-the-century,
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fuel, of course, and that would be the famous churchill turning the british naval fleet to oil rather than coal which comes with a whole host of geopolitical strategies that will lead to the 20th century of war. and then, of course, the automobile in the 1920's and the 1950's with the dawn of the hydrocarbon age and the age of freeways and rapid expansion of suburbs. of course, during war, fuel of all kinds. as much as pew hated harold, he loved getting those federal contracts during world war ii. sunoco produced, refined, i think, more high quality aviation fuel than any other company. matching if not beating standard oil of new jersey big thank you,
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government, for those contracts and that allowed pew to come out of the war all the better positioned to have an influence. so. yes? >> [inaudible] >> [inaudible] i recently finished rachel madow's book "blowout/" have you read it? dr. dochuk: this question comes up often. i should probably just sit down and read it. [laughter] >> i was going to ask you to comment because i'm sure she has read your book as part of her research but she further connects the dots of big oil with the far right but also into countries that are not democratic because, where people have a voice, they make them reduce their margins to clean up
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after themselves, etc. dr. dochuk: thanks. good question. well, i hope she's read my book. i have been at a few of these talks where it is like, you have to send her your book. i have sent her my book. if you have direct access, maybe send her an email. obviously, she is on the mark. and what you heard today and will read through the book is you know, i think, how to put it, giving these subjects at all levels somewhat the benefited of -- benefit of the doubt, trying to show through the textured detail of description narrative of just how oil has certainly been a destructive force globally. and these same companies have done great damage, something that rachel maddow highlights and rightly so. but i'm trying to explain in a
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broader historical context just how people were willing to take on those costs, even at a personal level, or what were their motivations their intent. , and i highlighted, i am not trying to be, to romanticize this, but i highlighted a few individuals whose work for international oil companies stemmed from profound personal convictions. and they certainly wrestled with the muddiness of middle eastern politics. in fact, william eddy would die in the 1960's a very bitter man because he saw the american government shifting course from this moral alliance toward support of israel. so, he saw how this region was erupting. he grappled with the fact that he was partly responsible for bringing oil to this region or building an apparatus. so, yeah, that is the dark and very important facet of this story. and i'm glad rachel maddow has told it. and i will go read her book and see if she told it well.
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[laughter] >> time for one more question if there are any more. >> do you envision -- do you envision an addendum to this book with the so-called, uh, singularity of producing our own oil? do you ever see? dr. dochuk: hopefully, there is an addendum. the addendum will include fracking and some of the more recent, you know, i declared the american century over the way i see it. but of course, after another fear of peak oil in the early 2000's, there is plenty of gas and oil now, and american energy independence is secured more than it was before. that would be one aspect of it. the ways in which, you know, alternative energy sources are going to perhaps be expanded on account of the same kind of entrepreneurialism we see in the
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wildcatting epic of yesteryear. there might be other ways in which this unfolds. certainly, the large national companies, the scale now of oil, on a global scale and the politics of that is also going to become, and saudi arabia and aramco, saudi aramco now the most profitable company in the world. all of these are things to watch in the coming few years. but, honestly, i've enjoyed my time in oil. i'm not sure how much more time i will spend. i did being in texas. on my next topic, i have to find a way to come back. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] >> that obviously concludes our event. i would remind you there are books available outside and darren will be available to sign them. thanks again for coming.
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