There is a higher standard than capitalism
Oh, how I detest having to sound like a hyper intellectual whose column is meticulously researched, and who presumes to possess absolute authority on the infinitely complex issues he so proudly resolves to his own delight in a small town newspaper. How many times do we have to be reminded that this is the opinion page, not the accumulative human history of every fact ever recorded in 600 words page. But I try.I promised you another column today about the delightful topic of the extinction of homo sapiens (that’s human beings for those of you in Hirschdale). However, I received so many great comments on last week’s Grasshopper Soup about gas prices and other boring topics (such as the average American citizen) I decided to break my promise and do some splainin (thats explaining, for you English aficionados). I’d rather talk about self-awareness, non-attachment and self-sacrifice, but, like one of my readers pointed out, those topics are taboo, if not entirely foreign, to most modern day, self-image educated, everybody gets an ‘A’, hoodwinked-into-entitlement-by-socialists Americans. My criticism of oil companies, in the context of my last column, was partially contingent upon the potential increase in gas prices just in time for the Memorial Day weekend. It didn’t happen. They dodged my bullet, for the time being. But that’s beside the point. The point is, they can make prices lower if they want to. No one is a slave to capitalism and market conditions. At least, I don’t think so. The fact that demand went up over the weekend, and prices didn’t, may prove my point. But they have all summer to squeeze more money out of us for our greedy pursuits. We’ll see what happens.Another main point of my last column, which I did not adequately emphasize, was the fact that gasoline is a major cost of doing business for a lot of small businesses, like snow plow operators (Yes, I know it’s not snowing now, or is it?), truckers, taxi drivers and others who work hard and struggle to stay afloat financially. They can’t get ahead with, and don’t deserve the added expense, of continuously rising gas prices.We could sit here until hell freezes over discussing profit margins, gas taxes, supply and demand, America’s lack of oil refining capability due to environmentalist obstructionism, or how many bicyclists and backyard mechanics use gasoline to clean greasy bike and car parts and never come close to the real truth of the matter.If you research the evidence, or lack thereof, concerning oil company price gouging and profiteering you will find enough to support the charges against big oil and just as much to exonerate them. Much of the plethora of facts, articles, charts and graphs pertaining to the debate on oil companies is unintelligible to anyone but the most experienced accountants anyway. For every document you can show me that justifies your point of view I can show you a half dozen that support mine. The same can be said of every issue under the sun. All we are left with is opinion.It is also worth noting that the oil company execs who testified before Congress last year, or thereabouts, were excused from doing so under oath. That means they were free to say whatever they wanted without risking perjury charges further down the road. Cozy.The average American may be a slithering, gluttonous, self-serving, uninformed, overly domesticated ignorant whimp, but they are still viable human beings, though some Native American shamans may vehemently disagree with that hypothesis. There is no denying that we are a major part of the problem when it comes to the price of fuel. Our level of gasoline consumption, not to mention that of most of the earth’s raw materials, clearly convicts us of greed. Oil company suits are equally contradictory creatures, and equally obligated to hold themselves to a higher standard than capitalism. Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, experienced ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 25 years.
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