Monday, November 12, 2012

Dirty Energy and the "Monolith" Theory of Power

Most people think there's not a whole heck of a lot we can do to stop the dirty energy companies from destroying our climate.  These corporations have all the political power and all the money.  We can keep asking them to be "nice" and quit using all their power and money to stop any progress on climate change, but by now it's pretty obvious they have no intention of doing that.  So they are, in our imaginations, a monolith, huge and indestructible.  

But that's a myth, and it ignores how power really works.  Power, at least political power, is held by men who are actually extremely dependent upon legions of other people.  Take the Koch brothers.  They're just a couple old guys with a lot of money.  Chances are if you were challenged to fight either one of them mano a mano, you'd decline because you'd know it wouldn't be a fair fight and you'd look silly beating up an old guy.  

But we think of them as incredibly powerful!  Their power depends upon thousands of people helping them out.  The people are willing to do it because the Koch brothers pay them, but consider their employees in Wichita, Kansas, and also in Oklahoma, and Texas.  This entire area has suffered through two consecutive summers of devastating heat and drought.  Surely these people are troubled by a nagging realization that climate change is no hoax.  And surely they know people in their communities who are not employed by Koch Industries but who they see going through extreme hardship because of the drought.  

At some point these people are going to realize they're working for the bad guys.  At that point some of them may not be quite as gung-ho about doing their jobs.  Koch Industries might then have a problem on their hands because their system isn't working as efficiently as it had been, it'll hurt their profits, and they'll be forced to reconsider their opposition to climate legislation.

So next time you think about the dirty energy corporations, don't think of them as powerful, think of them as incredibly dependent and needy.  Then think of their enablers.  That's who we need to win over!



No comments:

Post a Comment