Let the scapegoating begin!
As the physical world collapses around us, it will become a popular sport to find people to blame. I’ve already seen a blog that suggests that cell phone using, latte sipping, SUV driving, spandex wearing soccer moms are the problem.
Or, the problem is the people who drive BMWs or some other car or who live in the suburbs or who have lots of babies or who are pregnant. It is most definitely NOT industrial civilization or the capitalists running the whole system and the various institutions that support them. Those people are merely offering services or products, and to suggest otherwise is, in a word, divisive.
Purity tests are of no interest to me. I’ll stipulate that I’m guilty of over consuming, just like all of the other middle class Americans. The fact that America’s economy is based upon consumption is an explanation, not an excuse.
Scapegoating has a very long tradition and is the real sport of kings. Popular scapegoats have been anyone who is the other, who is different, who stand out in a crowd.
Considering that we’ve only experienced the tip of the climate change iceberg, and considering how bad it’s going to get, it alarms me when I see scapegoating going on by people who really ought to know better. The people that accept that climate change is real, who understand lag times and feed backs, are a minority of aware people in a world of people who don’t have time to know or who don’t want to know.
I too want to place blame. So when Common Dreams had an article called “The 90 Companies Killing the Planet” I thought that was a good start. The writers point out all but seven of the companies listed are energy companies.
They couldn’t just do a neat little alphabetized list, of course, so I had to stick to the investor owned section, and was surprised by several omissions (more on that later). The amount of money these guys are making is nothing short of obscene. And their websites all dutifully have tabs on sustainability and corporate responsibility. Dig a little deeper and you find that the same names show up on various boards. BloombergBusinessweek has a very interesting button that shows relationships. Let’s just say it really is a small world.
Never mind that these are the guys funding ALEC and other PACs. Never mind that these guys have lobbyists writing laws for those poor politicians who are too busy fundraising for their next campaign to actually do their jobs. Never mind that wars have been fought at the behest of these guys.
Some of the notable omissions include huge corporations like Coca-Cola, Nestle, DeBeers, Alcoa, Cargill, Dow Chemical, GE, Monsanto, for instance. Banks, of course, are never held to account.
Recently, people who don’t look similar have been allowed into the clubhouse, but don’t worry, they think similar and that is all that matters. They are few and far between, but look at the whole of the C-suites and you’ll find the tokens.
It is so much better for the people pictured when we fight with each other over who is more to blame, who is more pure, or whatever.
It would be so much better for us if we could stay focused on reality and proportion and realize that, no matter what we as individuals do, the US Military is still the largest consumer of oil, and that, no matter how long or short our showers, industry and agricultural still consume the vast amounts of water.
But we don’t.