|Who built this?|
When is it your fault for what someone else did when they should not have, or did not do something they should have?
Or when is it your fault for what a group you are not a member of did when they should not have, or did not do something they should have?
In the first post of this series I mentioned one of Oil-Qaeda's propaganda streams which blames us for climate change because we bought some of their merchandise:
Oil-Qaeda is also paying media operatives to spread the false notion that all humanity is responsible for addicting civilization to oil, seeking to minimize the greatest crime against humanity in all history (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).(The Psychology of the Notion of Collective Guilt; cf. Victim Blaming: When We Do It and When We Don’t, by Peter Kaufman).
It is not too surprising, then, that some still mistakenly think everyone is equally to blame for the current reality that civilization is in deep trouble (Stockholm Syndrome on Steroids?, 2; Stockholm Syndrome vs. The Ecosystem, 2).
The psychology involved in this has been detailed, and the dynamics of imagined or mythical guilt are well understood:
"... collective guilt is a psychological experience, it need not involve actually being guilty in any sense of the word. This is an important distinction. Indeed, one of the most striking features of collective guilt is that it can be experienced by group members who were not in any way involved in the harm doing ... The essential ingredient of personal responsibility for the harm done can be absent when collective guilt is experienced, although this is an important prerequisite for "being guilty" in the legal sense.(Collective Guilt: International Perspectives, p. 4, emphasis added). When justice is perverted to place guilt on the guiltless, a grave wrong is done.
Feeling guilt for events that an individual is not personally responsible for is possible because people can and do categorize themselves as members of a group ... These theories explain how group membership shapes the cognitions, emotions, and behavior of individuals. From a social identity perspective, the actions taken by the ingroup can elicit an emotional response to the extent that the self is linked with the ingroup. Immoral actions and outcomes caused by other ingroup members link the self to the wrongdoing via shared group identity. People "bask in the reflected glory" of their group when other ingroup members are responsible for successes, and they can attempt to "cut off reflected failure" when other group members' actions harm the ingroup's image ... Because part of people's identity is based on their group membership, the desire to feel positive about their group will frequently result in group-serving explanations for ingroup actions. However, when those justifications fail or become impossible to sustain, people may feel collective guilt to the extent that the ingroup's past actions are perceived as violating the current moral standards of the ingroup."
II. The Law of the Case
Well, it is now a matter of law too, rather than it only being a matter of psychology or sociology.
In a federal court ruling yesterday, a federal judge said it is ostensibly your fault and my fault that damage from global warming is taking place (San Francisco Chronicle).
I downloaded a copy of Judge Alsup's decision in PDF format, so I will be quoting from it.
The judge wrote:
"Defendants have allegedly long known the threat fossil fuels pose to the global climate. Nonetheless, they continued to extract and produce them in massive amounts while engaging in widespread advertising and communications campaigns meant to promote the sale of fossil fuels. These campaigns portrayed fossil fuels as environmentally responsible and essential to human well-being and downplayed the risks of global warming by emphasizing the uncertainties of climate science or attacking the credibility of climate scientists." - (Order, p. 5)(Oakland vs. BP, US District Court N. Dist. of CA, Case No. C 17-06011 WHA & No. C 17-06012 WHA, emphasis added). That ruling means that when we are talking about global warming we are talking about a predicament rather than a mere problem.
"The issue is not over science. All parties agree that fossil fuels have led to global warming and ocean rise and will continue to do so, and that eventually the navigable waters of the United States will intrude upon Oakland and San Francisco. The issue is a legal one — whether these producers of fossil fuels should pay for anticipated harm that will eventually flow from arise in sea level." - (Order, p. 6)
" ... our industrial revolution and the development of our modern world has literally been fueled by oil and coal. Without those fuels, virtually all of our monumental progress would have been impossible. All of us have benefitted. Having reaped the benefit of that historic progress, would it really be fair to now ignore our own responsibility in the use of fossil fuels and place the blame for global warming on those who supplied what we demanded? Is it really fair, in light of those benefits, to say that the sale of fossil fuels was unreasonable?" - (Order, p. 8)
The judge bought into Oil-Qaeda's public promotion of the notion that "the
III. A Brief History of Oil-Qaeda
Dredd Blog has featured many a post on the origin and history of fossil fuel use, pointing out clearly that it started before any of us were born (A History of Oil Addiction, 2, 3, 4, The Universal Smedley - 2, The Peak Of The Oil Wars, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).
Pointing the finger at those who had no choice is like blaming the children of Immigrants for crossing the border improperly (like President Trump's mother did).
All of our branches of government (Administrative, Legislative, and Judicial) have been protecting Oil-Qaeda for way too long now (A Closer Look At MOMCOM's DNA, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Books have even been written about The Harm Oil-Qaeda Has Done.
The previous post in this series is here.