At least, that's the headline as I would have written it given the chance...
"I'm reee-atch bee-atch!"
- J. Stephen "Swine" Simon, Exxon Mobile
Seriously though, after listening to the top 5 oil execs of Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, ConocoPhilips and Chevron snub their noses at the Select Committee on Oil Prices and Energy Independence (the best reporting on this can be found at www.democracynow.org), it's hard not to feel like our so-called elected representatives aren't really the folks in charge.
"Politicians are there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice...you don't. You have no choice, you have owners." - George Carlin
For the most part, I tend to view the central function of contemporary governments in industrialized nations, as an enforcement agency for property rights. The majority of written laws and corresponding judicial system revolve around this premise.
True, on occasion, the 4th estate finds a juicy story exposing the injustices perpetrated by our corporate rulers upon poor working folks, the corporations back off, and we all celebrate how the system works. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/apr/02/walmart.us)
The problem though, is the system itself. And, to that end, what I find disturbing is that while the people at the end of the economic ladder are already the first to be suffering the fallout from record high oil prices; no one, at least not the Select Committee on Oil Prices and Energy Independence, seems to be interested in challenging the premise of cars and our dependence on 24 hour electricity itself.
It is a difference between starlit skies and streetlight pollution; the enormous spatial requirements of a car culture vs. the humble spatial requirements of bicycles; the flush toilet vs. the composting toilet; the noise of lawnmowers on Sundays vs. drought resistant landscaping; the reliance on written laws, courts, police, and punishment vs. encouraging autonomy and public trust.