The Corner

What the Oil Industry Should Learn from the NRA

David Deming explains today in the WSJ how oil industry executives undermine the moral legitimacy of their enterprise, thereby weakening their position in policy debates. This is an important — but hardly new — observation. For well over a decade the industry has been aware of polling and focus-group data showing that efforts by individual companies to enhance their “green” image may improve the public perception of individual firms, but do nothing to improve public perception of the industry, and may even make things worse. An ad that trumpets one company’s environmental record may remind viewers of the industry’s environmental failings. And, in the end, it is public perception of the industry, not individual firms, which influences public policy. In any event, Deming’s ultimate advice is sound:

If the fossil-fuel industry were willing to change, they could become the most influential political lobby in the U.S. Three things are necessary. First, absolute solidarity. Second, an in-depth knowledge of the environmental movement. Third, fossil-energy companies have to seize the moral high ground. Providing 80% of the energy that sustains human civilization is nothing to apologize for.

Jonathan H. Adler — Jonathan H. Adler teaches courses in environmental, administrative, and constitutional law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More