A brief biography of Bradley stated,
Robert Bradley worked at Enron for 16 years. As director of public policy analysis for his last seven years there, he wrote speeches for the late Ken Lay, Enron’s CEO, who was convicted in 2005 of fraud and conspiracy. Dr. Bradley is also founder and CEO of the Institute for Energy Research of Houston, Texas, and Washington, D.C. He frequently writes and lectures on energy, political economy, and corporate governance. He is currently completing his seventh book, Edison to Enron: Energy Markets and Political Strategies, the second volume of a trilogy on political capitalism inspired by the rise and fall of Enron.16 years with Enron, coupled with subsequent research on the failure of Enron may not have have provided Dr. Bradley a deep understanding of the role of nuclear power in future energy systems. Bradley is not interested in technology. His view of the energy future is based on a sort of hero worship of capitolists, preached by Ayn Rand. Bradley wrote,
Readers of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, which so notably portrayed the American businessman as a hero, may well be wondering what to say about it all. They should say: Ayn Rand was right. She comprehended business in its highest and lowest forms. . . .Thus Bradley offers a form of Libertarianism that is heavily influenced by Ayn Rand's thought. There are other forms of Libertarian which Rand appeared to have criticized. Rand stated that she would prefer voting for comedians Bob Hope, the Marx Brothers or Jerry Lewis than for the 1972 American Libertarian Party. She described
Libertarians are a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people: they plagiarize my ideas when that fits their purpose, and they denounce me in a more vicious manner than any communist publication, when that fits their purpose. They are lower than any pragmatists, and what they hold against Objectivism is morality. They’d like to have an amoral political program.And while Rand regarded some businesses people as heros, many received her scorn:
In my new book, I glorify the real kind of productive, free-enterprise businessman in a way that he has never been glorified before. I present him as the most heroic type of human being, more so, in a way, than Howard Roark. But I make mincemeat out of the kind of businessman who calls himself a “middle-of- the-roader” and talks about a “mixed economy”—the kind that runs to government for assistance, subsidies, legislation, and regulation (Michael Berliner, Letters of Ayn Rand, pp. 441–42).Needless to say, Ken Lay of Enron was the sort of businessman who talked
about a “mixed economy”—the kind that runs to government for assistance, subsidies, legislation, and regulation . . .At least in Bradley's world view.
Liberalism is not an ideology the term refers to a complex set of ideas that are not entirely coherent. There is no clear boundary between liberalism and libertarianism. Liberalism focuses both on human freedom and on the creation of an environment of personal opportunity. A few Libertarians understand the kinship between libertarians and liberals, but most often Libertarians view Libertarianism as a form of conservative ideology. The followers of Ayn Rand for the most part should not be considered quasi liberals. Real Liberals, and liberal leaning libertarians are supporters of science, but Rand's ideology, which stresses hyper individualism, is not sympathetic too or supportive of science.
Bradley has found his capitalist hero in the person of Charles Koch, a successful businessman who heads a $100 billion a year private business. Koch, his brother David Koch, and Bradley are all bitter opponents of climate science, with the Koches bank rolling much of the right wing attack on science. Thus we have the Koches who are in the energy business in total denial concerning the challenges and opportunities of the future energy business. Charles Koch controls the Libertarian Cato which through Cato "scholar" Jerry Taylor is in the anti-nuclear propaganda business along with Greenpeace and the Serra Club. Taylor claims,
Taylor also stated,
Why is it risky to build nuclear power plants? Because new nuclear projects tie up more capital for longer periods of time than its main competitor, natural-gas fired generation. Nuclear power makes economic sense only if natural gas prices are very high. Then, over time, the high initial costs of nuclear power would be offset by nuclear power’s lower fuel costs. Moreover, as noted by Moody’s in an analysis published in July of last year, there is uncertainty associated with construction costs, regulatory oversight, technological developments that might reduce the cost of rival facilities, and the ability of utilities to recover costs and make a profit over the lifetime of the plant – a risk tied up in the economic prospects of the region being served by the plant. And those risks have been increasing, not decreasing, as time has gone on.
Taylor also stated,
Nuclear energy is to the Right what solar energy is to the Left: Religious devotion in practice, a wonderful technology in theory, but an economic white elephant in fact (some crossovers on both sides notwithstanding). When the day comes that the electricity from solar or nuclear power plants is worth more than the costs associated with generating it, I will be as happy as the next Greenpeace member (in the case of the former) or MIT graduate (in the case of the latter) to support either technology. But that day is not on the horizon and government policies can't accelerate the economic clock.
Many free market advocates support nuclear because it costs less to generate nuclear power than it does to generate electricity from any other source (save, perhaps, hydroelectric power), thanks to nuclear's low operation and maintenance costs. However, someone has to first pay for - and build - these plants and the rub is that nuclear has very high, upfront construction costs ranging from $6-9 billion. By contrast, gas plants cost only a few hundred million dollars to build and coal a couple of billion depending upon the capacity and type of plant.
Fortunately the Koches are not going to be running the business that carries their name for much longer. Charles is 75 and David is 70. How much longer they can stay at the helm of a $100 billion a year business is open to question. As it is they are potentially causing enormous damage to the future of society by their sponsorship of the climate change denial industry, and efforts to ignore the potential benefits of nuclear power.