This radical idea comes from John Michael Greer on his blog in a piece titled: Facing the Deindustrial Age
Thus it's one thing to try to find some way to power today's industrial system with renewable sources while leaving intact the structures of everyday life that give our civilization its extravagant appetite for energy. It's quite another thing, and much closer to the realm of the possible, to use renewable energy to meet the far more modest energy requirements of an agrarian society. Especially in North America, restating the question in this way opens up immense possibilities. Very few people who live on this continent, for instance, have noticed that it's only our energy-wasting lifestyles that keep us dependent on imported oil -- with all the unwelcome economic and political consequences that brings. Even 35 years after its own Hubbert peak, the United States is still one of the largest producers of oil on Earth. If the average American used only as much energy per year as the average European, America would be exporting oil, not importing it. Only our insistence on clinging to the dysfunctional lifestyles of an age that is passing away keeps such an obviously constructive goal off the table in discussions of national energy policy.
I will repeat the money line for emphasis: If the average American used only as much energy per year as the average European, America would be exporting oil, not importing it.
Of course, cutting consumption is not the only thing we should be doing. We should be adding renewable energy sources as fast as they can be manufactured until only the most basic transportation needs are powered by oil. If we limit the use of fossil fuels to powering airplanes, we probably have enough to last quite a long time.