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Admiral Rickover energy speech 1957

From arguably the greatest engineer of the 20th century and maybe the greatest military hero of the Cold War.


Worth a read, among other things about the road not taken.

6 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Admiral Rickover energy speech 1957

Interesting read and I copy this from near the end of the article

Life in crowded communities cannot be the same as life on the frontier. We are no longer free, as was the pioneer - to work for our own immediate needs regardless of the future. We are no longer as independent of men and of government as were Americans two or three generations ago. An ever larger share of what we earn must go to solve problems caused by crowded living - bigger governments; bigger city, state, and federal budgets to pay for more public services. Merely to supply us with enough water and to carry away our waste products becomes more difficult and expansive daily. More laws and law enforcement agencies are needed to regulate human relations in urban industrial communities and on crowded highways than in the America of Thomas Jefferson.

Certainly no one likes taxes, but we must become reconciled to larger taxes in the larger America of tomorrow.

I suggest that this is a good time to think soberly about our responsibilities to our descendents - those who will ring out the Fossil Fuel Age. Our greatest responsibility, as parents and as citizens, is to give America's youngsters the best possible education. We need the best teachers and enough of them to prepare our young people for a future immeasurably more complex than the present, and calling for ever larger numbers of competent and highly trained men and women. This means that we must not delay building more schools, colleges, and playgrounds. It means that we must reconcile ourselves to continuing higher taxes to build up and maintain at decent salaries a greatly enlarged corps of much better trained teachers, even at the cost of denying ourselves such momentary pleasures as buying a bigger new car, or a TV set, or household gadget. We should find - I believe - that these small self-denials would be far more than offset by the benefits they would buy for tomorrow's America. We might even - if we wanted - give a break to these youngsters by cutting fuel and metal consumption a little here and there so as to provide a safer margin for the necessary adjustments which eventually must be made in a world without fossil fuels.


Like Nostrodamus....without the need for murky interpretation

Straight up, spot on forecasting. Unbeleivable. Thanks so very much nox..this one is going to take wings from this perch.


Makes one simply ache for leaders and public figures of this level of ability and articulation.


A couple of snips that should hit home for anyone:


"I believe it would be wise to assume that the principal renewable fuel sources which we can expect to tap before fossil reserves run out will supply only 7 to 15% of future energy needs. The five most important of these renewable sources are wood fuel, farm wastes, wind, water power, and solar heat.

Wood fuel and farm wastes are dubious as substitutes because of growing food requirements to be anticipated. Land is more likely to be used for food production than for tree crops; farm wastes may be more urgently needed to fertilize the soil than to fuel machines."


How'd that work out?




" The disposal of radioactive wastes from nuclear power plants is, however, a problem which must be solved before there can be any widespread use of nuclear power."


1957 ........Another one that subsequent generations heeded and took care of properly, no?




If anybody hasn't taken the time to read this, I'd strongly encourage it. File it along with Ike's Farwell Speech.


Re: Like Nostrodamus....without the need for murky interpretation

I don't get emotional real easy but I did tear up at Rickover's grave in Arlington.


A great (Jewish) American, the likes of whom we've not seen since.


Wiki bio


Re: Like Nostrodamus....without the need for murky interpretation

A pretty stiff dose of reality thus likely to not engender much discussion.


Re: Like Nostrodamus....without the need for murky interpretation

Yeah...those cemetaries. We were in Boston a few weeks ago. Get there at least once a year to see family. Lots to do there, but have done enough of the tourism, "freedom trail" thing that we are always looking for something new to do. Found a naval museum up on the 3rd floor of Fanueil Hall that a person could spend a week in.


But the one sure to always be repeated is a stop by at the old downtown cemetary where so many important early revolutionary and republic forging figures are entombed. I take a couple of small rocks from  here in MN along to place on the tombstones of Sam Adams and Tom Paine. Gets me every time.