gobble gobble gobble up the oil

I wrote this in response to Kim Stagliano's mention of a brutal case of misjustice in Saudi Arabia (a gang-raped girl got a prison sentence and 200 lashes for being in a car with an unrelated man):

Well, we do have ourselves in a bind. It's easy to sit and stuff ourselves with turkey and lament the brutalness of the crime and punishment, not to mention the constant human rights violations in that part of the world. It's not so easy to do something about it. The world (the US is hardly alone in this) is addicted to oil, and the Muslim countries own a major portion of it. Those are facts.

This reminds me of DUNE, in which one world owns a spice the other worlds must have. Paul got the Emperor by the short hairs and started plucking. So be it with the Saudis, and one can hardly fault them.

I've seen a lot of talk about conspiracy theories and oil, especially when it comes to George Bush. The Bushes may be good businessmen, though not good Presidents--you'll never hear differently from me. But they've no need to skulk about in dark corners when it comes to oil. Our addiction is rampant, and face it, there ain't a goddamned thing we can do about it.

Or is there?

(Brace yourselves for a simplistic version of the Evils of Capitalism.)

We make processors that think faster than anything, or anyone, on earth. Our skyscrapers plunge ever upward, and the human spirit is even clever enough to use airplanes to bring them tumbling down. We snow-ski in the desert and air-condition the tropics. We write and produce art at a rate never before known. The world produces so many cheap goods, I've actually witnessed a friend of mine throwing away an old trashcan instead of cleaning it. We (and not only the Western World) are better informed, better educated, and more aware of our own potential downfall than ever before in the history of humankind.

You can't tell me there's no alternative to oil and gas, the combustable engine, and lead-slicked toys from China. It's out there, somewhere, but capatalists like the Bushs (think Wal-mart execs, only slimier) follow the money, and the money leads straight to us.

I'm a perfect example, even if you don't take my shopping habits into consideration. I own three cars, three snowmobiles, two motorcycles, and one lawnmower. I throw my fair share of crap into the air. In my defense, though, my main car may only get 15 mpg, but unless I'm going up to the lake or make the occassional foray to Kansas, I can barely make it through two songs to get where I'm going. I chose to live where I do (here in friggin' Stepford) because of eventual proximity.

I live just outside Boulder, one of the Kingdoms of Curbside Recycling and Alternative Transportation. I'm intimately aware of the Save The Planet Lifestyle, as well as its ironic, secret sister in the attic, Significant Personal Wealth. I may be able to sleep well at night knowing I go to church, sleep with only my husband, eat organic food, and recycle, but that's about all the benefit I get. My efforts, and the efforts of others, ain't doing a lot of good because the rest of the world is still eating up oil, making new plastic, and slashing rainforest for government-subsidized cornfields while folks like the Bushs are laughing all the way to the bank.

Because capitalism relies on us, the Consumer, and we are addicted, rehab is a losing battle until there is a better, cheaper alternative to our drugs of choice. Can we demand it? I don't believe so. Will our leaders encourage it? I doubt it. It must be born of a greater necessity than rhetoric, politics, or our habits--in other words, we need a new addiction, which may very well be Life itself.

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