Public Comment

Oil Company Advertisements and the Propagation of Malaise

By Jack Bragen
Tuesday December 20, 2011 - 07:28:00 AM

In recent advertisements in their attempt to gain control of people’s opinions, the oil companies have reached a new level of brazenness. They have now come out and said, in a straightforward manner, that we ought to be in favor of more oil exploration and of the use of “oil sands” in Canada, which is actually a nicer way of saying “oil shale.” It would be a strip-mining of large areas of wilderness to get the oil contained in the rock. They would like to see the public approve of more offshore drilling. 

Their ads claim that they are on the forefront of solar and of other alternate forms of energy. This is like saying that the coyotes are on the forefront of the egg laying chickens nearby. 

When the oil companies do research of alternate, advanced forms of energy, it is only for the purpose of obtaining a patent that will block anyone in the future from using that technology. The oil companies oppose alternate forms of energy because they are a threat to their ability to continue profiting from oil. 

For example, this hasn’t happened, but let’s say someone invents a device that will conveniently and safely extract atomic energy from hydrogen fusion. This advancement will provide limitless, clean energy with minimal repercussions to the environment. Such an invention would spell the end of most other forms of energy. Furthermore, the supply of hydrogen can’t be regulated, controlled or sold for profit. This is because hydrogen can be easily extracted from water. Your middle school science teacher probably demonstrated it for you. Such an invention would spell the end of 99 percent of the profit generating activity of the oil and energy companies. 

In reality, the oil and energy companies oppose solar power, because you can not profit from something available to almost everyone, the sun. If you can climb a ladder, you should be able to set up your own solar panel on the roof. It won’t entirely eliminate your need for electricity or motor fuel, but it will put a dent in it. If people invested in solar across the US, we could eliminate the need to invade, or buy oil from, countries in the Middle East. 

The oil and energy companies want you to go into a mode of apathy and surrender. They do this by promoting the idea that you are helpless to do anything about the energy situation in the US, and it is hopeless to try anything. These emotions will prevent you from getting on that ladder and installing solar panels on your rooftop. One of their chief weapons that they use is to confuse your thought processes by bringing up alternate forms and claiming “We’re already working on it.” In fact, they are already working against it, and they need you to vote for the candidate who espouses more offshore drilling. 

When President Obama brings up “clean coal,” (a term which is an oxymoron intended to deceive people) it indicates that to an extent he is on the payroll of the energy giants. This might explain the three year delay in pulling the last of our troops from Iraq. US citizens need to move ahead despite the cold feet of Congress and the President. If there were another grassroots movement that resembled the “occupy” movement, only directed at energy independence, it might end the chokehold that big corporate energy has on all of us. It could all start with the good example of one concerned citizen.