Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Peak of Sanity - 5

Infinite supply of oil is a myth?
In this series Dredd Blog has been exploring the history of massive errors that civilization made long ago, through "captains of industry" and government, when they addicted civilization to non-renewable dirty oil (see The Peak of Sanity - 3).

An addiction which has been polluting the environment in many ways ever since (see A Closer Look ...).

The Dredd Blog System has honed in on the history of climate science as well, and has also mapped the struggle that has ensued once the private oil empire and climate-science-environmentalists collided ideologically (see e.g. The Exceptional American Denial).

Regular readers know that we even contemplated the issue of criminal culpability (see Is 'Insanity' A Valid Defense To Ecocide? - 3) for those who are perpetuating global warming induced climate change.

Additionally, this blog has taken up the issue that psychological issues are also important factors for society to contemplate (see MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact - 5) in terms of the oil addiction equation.

In today's post I intend to focus and clarify, to some degree, by again advancing  both criminal and psychological avenues that should be pursued, depending on the particular facts and actors involved.

We begin with the traditions that our nation considers when it is contemplating the notion of criminal culpability:
We define as having criminal intent any person who calculates that there is a definite possibility their actions will result in harm to others.

Equally, we define as criminally negligent anyone who is aware that an individual is likely to harm others but who ignores the situation.

In the not-too-distant future will politicians who intentionally ignore global climate change, or who obstruct action to implement conscientious policies to prevent deterioration of climate conditions, be deemed criminally negligent?

The scale of death and destruction resulting from global warming may potentially exceed losses due to genocides and world wars.

We need discussion of legal and moral accountability for gross negligence when it comes to destruction at this level.
(Huffington Post, James O' Dea). There are two bases that could support criminal culpability on the part of the intransigent movers and shakers in the dirty oil industry.

First, there is little doubt that the oil barons hold tight rein on the expertise involved in finding oil fields then extracting oil:
The Texas oil patch exports expertise worldwide. If the Russians or Indonesians need an assessment of oil reserves, they pick up the phone and call Houston or Dallas. The horizontal drilling and fracking techniques that have revolutionized gas recovery came out of Texas.

The employment and knowledge base is broad and deep.
(Dallas Morning News). Under our laws, then, they are held to a higher, professional, specialized standard because they have an expertise that gives them distinct advantage, know-how, and control.

Secondly, as the reality of global warming induced climate change became more and more certain, some of them acted criminally by covering up the grave dangers that would arise as a result of increasing green house gas release, and other pollution, into the only biosphere we have which is necessary for civilization's existence and health.

Some oil industry scientists, such as Marion K. Hubbert, circa 1950, also advanced the formula and theory for "peak oil", indicating that even though oil usage and addiction was increasing, oil reserve quantity was going to reach a peak, then production would level out, then decline (see A Peek At The Peak Oil Catastrophe).

That would eventually end up as a disaster for civilization unless alternate sources of energy, such as solar, wind, and other renewable resources were developed for serious, widespread use (see A Methanol Economy Way Out of Here - 5).

So, how did the private empire, the 1% oil barons, react and behave when they were confronted with the dangers that their dirty oil imposed on civilization?

The dirty oil barons of ExxonMobil, during the era of longtime CEO Lee “Iron Ass” Raymond, formed and funded the climate science deniers, and had so much power that they could control nations (see MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 2):
ExxonMobil had, in fact, self-consciously invested in the dissemination of doubt about climate change. Under Lee Raymond, ExxonMobil had persistently funded a public policy campaign in Washington and elsewhere that was transparently designed to raise public scepticism about the science that identified fossil fuels as a cause of global warming.
(Private Empire, by Steve Coll, p. 184). They were exhibiting either criminal or psychopathic behavior and proclivities, or both.

Consider the incredulous realm of the psychopath and how utterly dangerous that mental problem would be in the context of Ecocide:
The psychopath is callous, yet charming. He or she will con and manipulate others with charisma and intimidation and can effectively mimic feelings to present as “normal” to society. The psychopath is organized in their criminal thinking and behavior, and can maintain good emotional and physical control, displaying little to no emotional or autonomic arousal, even under situations that most would find threatening or horrifying. The psychopath is keenly aware that what he or she is doing is wrong, but does not care.
(When You Are Governed By Psychopaths - 2). Knowing that millions of people will be harmed if something is not done about global warming induced climate change, but not caring, is the behavior of a psychopath:
What distinguished the corporation's activity during the late 1990's and the first Bush term was the way it crossed into disinformation. Even within ExxonMobil's K Street office, a haven of lifelong employees devoted to the corporation's viewpoints and principles, an uneasy recognition gathered among some of the corporation's lobbyists that some of the climate policy hackers in the ExxonMobil network were out of control and might do shareholders real damage, in ways comparable to the fate of tobacco companies. The more it went on, and the more Greenpeace and other activist groups exposed ExxonMobil's more clandestine investments, the more it became clear that the corporation was taking on risk. If ExxonMobil were ever judged in a courtroom to be cooking science to appease Raymond's personal beliefs about warming issues, it could be devastating.
(ibid, Private Empire, p. 184-185). However, when another CEO took over the reins of ExxonMobil, the private empire then admitted that global warming induced climate change was real.

That is a mitigating factor because of, among other things, the potential that they would become less destructive and psychopathic than they had been under the Raymond stewardship, which was leading toward a bad place legally (see A Case of Big Oil vs Climate Change) and therefore was financially endangering the private empire.

That apparent honesty under the new CEO can't necessarily be said about other dirty oil baron corporations, because vast amounts of money are still being spent by oil patch to deceive the public (see "Heartland Institute" at Thin Ice) and note:
As record-breaking floods, fires, and drought affect more regions of the world, the risk of not just more loss of life but massive and sustained loss of life becomes statistically inevitable. How any one of us responds to the risk of harm to others defines whether we are morally clear or morally clouded. Here is a simple analogy about our moral and legal responsibility for taking risks:
You take little Jenny to school and you are met by the principal who says his electrician tells him the school's electrical wiring is old and faulty and there is significant chance it will overheat in places and cause a fire. The principal, who has no expertise in inspecting wiring, says the electrician doesn't know what he is talking about. Any school official or parent who knowingly sent their child into that school would be held criminally negligent if it caught fire.
The same is true for climate change; we have to make morally coherent choices based on the information currently available to us if we don't want to be held accountable as accessories to what may be the crime of the century.
(ibid, Huffington Post, James O' Dea). So, will the denialism be dealt with by psychiatrists designing and fashioning therapy, or by criminal courts fashioning criminal punishment, or both? (see The Startling Accuracy of Referring to Politicians as 'Psychopaths', The Atlantic; and see Toxins of Power Blog).

Note that George Monbiot wrote:
"Yesterday was August 28th 2012. Remember that date. It marks the day when the world went raving mad.

Three things of note happened. The first is that a record Arctic ice melt had just been announced by the scientists studying the region. The 2012 figure has not only beaten the previous record, established in 2007. It has beaten it three weeks before the sea ice is likely to reach its minimum extent. It reveals that global climate breakdown is proceeding more rapidly than most climate scientists expected. But you could be forgiven for missing it, as it scarcely made the news at all.
When your children ask how and why it all went so wrong, point them to yesterday's date, and explain that the world is not led by rational people."
(His piece is in the Guardian). Another writer has touched upon the subject of this series too:
Dr. R.H. Flutes: "A lie here and there is not a good tactic. Consistent lying is the best course of action because it is seamless... a lie leading to a lie. It is not unlike a well-written piece of music. Fluid. Coherent. And best of all, it makes us feel good."

And then I asked, "And you have no reservations about the idea of lying to millions and millions of Americans and the morality of deception?"

And at that moment I have to be honest with you, the doctor upon hearing my statement began to laugh so hard he doubled up in his chair. It must have been over a minute before he composed himself.

And then he said: "We are a nation of sugar freaks. Give us something that satisfies us for a few minutes at a time and we will forgive and forget everything. We have virtually forgotten about the Iraq War. The thousands upon thousands who died. The chaos. The instability in the region. Over 2 trillion of our dollars down the drain. Our young men and women killed, wounded. Where is the outrage? Most Americans don't even know what happened or care. And why don't they care? Good lies. Constant lying. Consistent lying. A lie that flows into a lie that flows into a lie."
(Barry Levinson, The Age of Insanity). Another author explains this serious problem in our culture:
We’re in the midst of a lying epidemic, according to James B. Stewart, author of Tangled Webs: How False Statements Are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff.
(America's Lying Problem). You might also want to review the Dredd Blog post The Dredd Philosophy is The Dread Truth where we discuss an attempt by congress to make certain lies illegal, which was struck down by federal courts as an infringement on First Amendment free speech territory.

Facts are the only ways to solutions, the lack of fact is the way to problems.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

1 comment:

  1. Accord: "As we’ve seen, unless there’s a specific advantage for him, a psychopath never admits to being wrong, to doing wrong, to having wronged anyone. Whatever he does wrong to others–cheating, lying, manipulation, hurting them emotionally and physically–he manages to project blame on the victims and on those around them." Link