Bravo for the letter Annie Philp and Maggie Nattress sent to the editor in the Feb. 15 issue of the South Whidbey Record. Right sentiments. Well written. Powerful language. Bravo!
The phrase that got to me is “The greatest guilt is placed upon those who plunder these fuels from the earth, refine and transport them.”
Our society seems to have evolved into a “blame the user” default in all manner of areas. I share the letter writers’ sentiments as regards carbon footprints, climate change and disdain for the banks that invest in the petroleum producers and distributors. Their alibi is they are only providing what people want to buy; that the societal problems come from “people who start the car, use the plastic and turn up the thermostat.” Never mind that it causes irreparable damage, and in this instance, leads us toward existential damage in ways that affect us all.
For me, I see the same attitude prevailing with suppliers in other areas of my personal activism. Guns, for example—the manufacturers “bear no blame, because it is people who pull the trigger.” Social media providers; they say “…we provide the platform, it is the people who misuse the communication, who bully, who create bots.” And it goes on and on, example domains are drugs, electromagnetic devices, etc.
Annie and Maggie raise larger questions that every provider of a product or service should ask themselves:
Do we have responsibility for misuse overuse or bad use of our products and services?
Should we design, and rigorously test our inventions so they inherently resist misuse, overuse, bad use?
Should we support rules and regulations that cater to public well being as well as private profit?
Are we no longer allowed to just go our way, invent and grow, and let the consequences take care of themselves?
Or, biblically, are we now “our brother’s keeper”?
My answer to these questions is YES, YES, YES, THAT’S CORRECT, and YES. We long ago entered the era where the actions of any are likely to affect us all.