The Outlaw Life

This weekend I got nostalgic for Melbourne. So I went to visit the nearest prison. It’s not an active prison (like Melbourne). It’s the old Wyoming Territorial Prison here in Laramie. It’s where the famous outlaw Butch Cassidy spent 18 months serving a sentence for stealing a $5 horse.

Life outside the law can be hard. But if the law is unjust, do you have an obligation to be an outlaw? If your compliance to illegal mandates perpetuates them, when do you stop complying? I’ll come back to those philosophical questions in a moment. But first…

Someday the pandemic will end. But it will quickly be replaced by a ‘climate crisis’. And many of the ‘emergency’ measures put in place to control you during the pandemic will be used again. Only this time, it will be to reduce your carbon emissions, ie: the carbon footprint of the food you eat, how many miles you can drive, or carbon scores for your online shopping.

It’s all very depressing. And I may be wrong. But from an investment point of view, it may turn out to be very good for nuclear energy. For example, the British government announced plans to build 16 mini-nuclear reactors across the country. It’s part of the goal to ‘zero-carbon’ electricity generation by 2035.

The United Nations is hosting a climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, later this month. Thousands of delegates will fly there on planes powered by jet fuel. There, they will discuss what freedoms you and I are permitted to have in the coming years — and what foods we must give up (like red meat) — to save the planet from destruction.

They’re going to have to talk about nuclear power, though. Any serious and realistic discussion of clean, cheap, and reliable electricity has to involve nuclear. That is troubling for some of the climate change activists. The idea that an existing technology is the solution to the problem — rather than taking everyone back to 19th century living standards — doesn’t require a revolution.

And that’s what some of these climate change people want — a revolution where they’re the ones that get to make the decisions and YOU have to do what you’re told. It’s always about power with these sociopaths. And I don’t mean electric power.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has helpfully put together a little brochure on the role of nuclear power in achieving ‘net-zero’ emissions. You can read the pompous tome here. Australia isn’t mentioned in the report at all. But uranium is.

The report argues that more investment is needed in new nuclear plants. But it also says the world’s existing plants require additional investment and refurbishment. And since most of those plants use uranium as their nuclear fuel, Australia is going to play a part in a ‘net-zero’ world even if the country never builds a nuclear plant of its own.

Australia is the world’s third-largest producer of uranium (behind Kazakhstan and Canada). It also has one-third of the world’s known uranium reserves. It’s not exactly the ‘Saudi Arabia’ of uranium. But now it’s an interesting policy question at the state and federal level. Why?

Because Australia has recently announced it will operate nuclear-powered submarines. The technology will come from the US and the United Kingdom. And the reactors on the boats won’t be fuelled or maintained in Australia. In other words, no investment will be made in domestic nuclear infrastructure.

Can the Australian Navy pull it off? Probably. The US and the UK have been operating nuclear boats for decades. And there are no plans for Australia to generate any nuclear power for civil purposes. Why bother building a domestic nuclear industry (with all the specialist knowledge, training, and engineering that implies) if you can buy your refined fuel from Singapore and you have plenty of gas and coal to burn?

In fact, I learned today that the 1999 Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act actually prohibits nuclear power generation at the Federal Level. There IS a research reactor at Lucas Heights near Sydney. But by law, nuclear power generation is illegal in Australia.

Which brings me back to Butch Cassidy. History paints him in two colours: a Robinhood of the West on one hand, a domestic terrorist on the other. Of course, they didn’t have terms like ‘domestic terrorist’ back in the late 19th century. But Butch, the Sundance Kid, and the rest of the ‘Wild Bunch’ robbed banks and trains with guns.

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I’m sure that was terrifying for anyone getting robbed, even if Butch was said to have helped out ranchers and farmers everywhere he lived with money and assistance where he could help. When he wasn’t stealing horses and rustling cattle, he lived, by all reports, a quiet and peaceful life. He wasn’t particularly violent — which is a departure from the Hollywood portrayal of the wild west and gunfighters.

Still, he lived outside the law and he went to prison for it. But when I walked through the old Wyoming Territorial Prison this weekend, it didn’t look that bad. The prisoners could walk outside. In fact, that’s how many of them attempted to escape, by scaling the walls when no one was looking.

Melbourne’s 258 days of lockdown — courtesy of warden Dan Andrews and his henchman Brett Sutton — seem draconian by comparison. A nightly curfew. Travel restrictions. And now, compulsory vaccination or second-class citizenship where you are denied ‘freedoms’ that others have.

Here’s a red-hot tip: it’s not a freedom if the government can take it away. The greatest trick Devil Dan ever pulled is getting people to think your rights are something the government gives to you. If they give them, then they can take them away — now, tomorrow, or whenever they want.

The Andrews government first declared a state of emergency — and effectively suspended the rule of law in Victoria — on 16 March 2020. I remember because I was in Melbourne at the time, celebrating my birthday with a dour drink at a bar downtown that would soon have to close. It was a dark day.

It’s gotten darker since. The Victorian parliament shamefully passed legislation allowing the government to extend the state of emergency past the original six months. That ‘emergency’ expires on 16 December. Part of returning to ‘normal’ means easing restrictions, as will happen later this week.

But here’s a word of caution: the longer you comply with unjust suspensions of your natural rights, the worse it will get. Devil Dan will be back with new punishments for new crimes. And by then, you’ll be outside the law because the law will govern everything. Don’t ever let them do this again.


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Dan Denning,
Editor, The Rum Rebellion

PS: The Bonner-Denning Letter is co-authored by Fat Tail Investment Research founder Dan Denning and legendary investment writer and publisher Bill Bonner. It connects the dots between markets, politics, and history as one of the only macroeconomic, ‘top-down’ newsletters in Australia. For a big picture perspective on the past, the present, and your investment future, click here for details on how to subscribe.

Dan Denning is the co-author of The Bonner-Denning Letter.

Dan was a founder of Port Phillip Publishing back in 2005, which quickly became the leading publisher of its kind for independent financial research and insights. In 2014 he left to head up Southbank Investment Research in the UK. Dan is also the author of the 2005 book, The Bull Hunter. Today, he’s based in his home state of Colorado. Each Monday in The Rum Rebellion you’ll get Dan’s unique contrarian thinking to provide insights you won’t find anywhere else.

Dan Denning’s belief in free markets, sound money, personal liberty, and small government have underpinned everything he’s done during his 23 years in the financial publishing industry.

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