The Pushers’ Excuse

excuses Crude oil is not the only pollutant gushing faster than usual into our biosphere these days.

Check out the copious flow of op-editorializing to the tune of “If BP Is Evil Then So Are We All.”

The core thesis of this familiar crapola is the claim that “we demand the oil they are forced to take these sorts of risks to get.”

This, of course, is the same excuse you get from elite war criminals and drug dealers.  It’s purpose is also the same: to prevent careful thinking by spreading the blame to everybody and therefore nobody.  “The people demand ___.  I merely give them what they want.”

But is it anywhere close to true that “we” — meaning all of us, co-equally — have had and do have the same degree of control over the sources of our collective oil-appetite?  Or have “our” corporations, working on behalf of their primary beneficiaries, seized and retained effective command over the large-scale political and economic decisions that determine the petro-intensity of modern life?

I am presently completing a book that argues that the latter is where the body is buried.

But, either way, this is a question that needs real asking and honest answers.

To instead burp out faux-thoughtful poses like “I couldn’t help but wonder how much I should hate myself, too” is to foreclose, not raise, the question, the debate, and, if it’s true that unequal wealth and social power exist, the realistic answers and remedies.

If you care about what’s going on, falling for rote, sponsored verbal gestures of self-blame is actually worse than not thinking at all.

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[…] I said over at The Consumer Trap, in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, there is an uncontrolled gusher of […]

10 years ago

Fine points, of course, but at this stage, “realistic answers and remedies”? We should not “foreclose” them, by any means, but I’ve been reading around in search of a good one or two for a decade or four, for even the remotest possibility of one of those A or R’s, and I couldn’t come within a continent of either.
Yet by the thesis of social reality being controlled by huge, extremely well-funded and connected elite corporations and their reinforcements across all social institutions, why should we still look within ourselves or a few pockets for “realistic answers and remedies?”

10 years ago

Thinking of elite war criminals using this “pusher’s excuse” (“the people demand X, I merely give them what they want”) makes me think of Nazi doctors doing “medical experiments” on people and writing in their notes, e.g., “Subject screams when immersed into acid.” The concerned doctors then theorize that people must have an innate, inborn “human nature” to scream and conclude that, regrettably, they (the doctors) have no choice but to immerse people into acid in order to allow their (the subjects’) “human nature” to express itself. Immersing people into acid, then, has nothing to do with the monthly paychecks… Read more »

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