Class Warfare Blog

September 22, 2016

Sure, We Can Trust Big Oil!

Last night I saw a TV commercial that, I presume, ran locally that was made by an Illinois-based petroleum industry organization. It started with acknowledging the ever louder call to “leave fossil fuels in the ground,” and tried to counter that with pointing to all of the good things petroleum is converted into: fertilizers, life saving pharmaceuticals, plastics and fibers, fire retardants, etc. Then of course, the plea pivoted on to “you wouldn’t want to put all of those things at risk would you?”

Apparently, these sort of “those are nice kneecaps you got there; it’d be a shame if sumpin’ were to happen to them” threats are considered common and effective now. This is also a straw man argument. The call to leave fossil fuels “in the ground” is due to the wholesale burning of those fuels to power moving vehicles and to be converted into electricity, the primary uses that result in carbon dioxide being injected into the atmosphere far faster than nature can deal with it, thus causing the conditions leading to climate change/global warming. No one is criticizing any of the wonderful things that can be manufactured from fossil fuels.

Of course, the commercial has calming music and pictures of farm machines reaping golden grain, smiling children and parents, etc. for the same reason factory farms still use bucolic pictures of Amish farms in their advertising, so I guess we shouldn’t hold that against them.

If one were to look critically at the, say, petrochemical industry, the industry that converts petroleum from out of the ground into “petrochemicals” other than gasoline, diesel, and other fuels, I guarantee you that there is much to find that we would dislike in the way of pollution, but these are small potatoes compared to the impact of the wide-spread, large scale combustion of fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, and natural gas) in our motors and stationary engines. This is not only causing global climate changes faster that we can adjust for them, but is also wasteful in that petroleum burnt can’t be converted into all of the wonderful things the commercial commented on.

Their argument will boomerang if that is the only one they have and it is the only valid one, even though they will mention all of the jobs in their industry that will be “lost” if a “leave it in the ground” policy were to be implemented. But, just like all of the other U.S. workers who have been “displaced” by corporate and government actions, those people will have to find other things to do. Whining about the loss of good paying jobs when the job description is “destroying the biosphere your children will need to survive” is a bit disingenuous, especially when so many other U.S. workers have been gleefully thrown under the corporate bus, just for a better bottom line.

Like the Wells Fargo accounts scandal, these continuing issues completely undermine the Conservatives’ campaign to “remove burdensome government regulations to unleash the power of U.S. corporations.” Clearly that is the last thing we want to do for the segment of our society which willingly does things on a daily basis to poison our environment, disrupt our financial systems catastrophically, and cheat their own customers, all governed by a need to “improve the bottom line.”


  1. If anything, this just shows that if you throw enough money at an issue, and tell enough lies in the process, then double down and lie about the lies, you can have a successful campaign. Much like Trump!


    Comment by shelldigger — September 22, 2016 @ 10:19 am | Reply

    • Before modern marketing introduced us to advertising it was called, naively, “propaganda.” Only later did this become a pejorative term.

      On Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 10:19 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — September 22, 2016 @ 10:40 am | Reply

  2. Excellent


    Comment by Zachary — September 22, 2016 @ 11:58 am | Reply

    • Some targets are too easy.

      On Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 11:58 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — September 22, 2016 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

  3. For all that we could use petro for such as medicines and other essentials, one small family owned oil company could provide the world pretty much what’s needed for these. It’s the consumption of fossil fuels to transport us and commercial goods and electrify for our homes and businesses that consume 90% of the oil, coal and methane extracted from the bowels of the earth and which we can find other suitable clean energy sources for


    Comment by lbwoodgate — September 22, 2016 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

    • Hence their commercial was a straw man argument: hold up a straw man and claim it is real. Actually a lot of petrochemicals are created every year, might require more than one oil company. But it is a tremendous waste just burning the damned stuff.

      On Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 1:43 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — September 22, 2016 @ 9:09 pm | Reply

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