Rick Perry Has a Genius Solution to Preventing Sexual Assault: Fossil Fuels

“When you have the light that shines, the righteousness…”

Bill Clark/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Thursday offered a new, off-kilter rationale for supporting the expansion of fossil fuels in Africa: the prevention of sexual assault. His line of thinking appeared to center on the power of fossil fuels to generate light—presumably with lightbulbs?—and the false notion that sexual assault only takes place in the dark.

“When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts,” Perry said, referring to incidents of sexual assault. “So from the standpoint of how you really affect people’s lives, fossil fuels is going to play a role in that.” 

“I happen to think it’s going to play a positive role,” he continued.

Lightbulbs, of course, can be powered by all sorts of electricity sources. In fact, there’s a race on right now to power the vast number of off-the-grid communities across the African continent using inexpensive solar panels that don’t require the massive infrastructure build-out of a traditional grid.

Perry’s bizarre claim came during an Axios/NBC panel focusing on the Trump administration’s energy policies. During the same discussion, the former Texas governor also asserted that the “science is out on” on man-made climate change. 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate