In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s next role he is a take-no-prisoners crusader out to bring down the world’s top oil companies for first-degree murder! The clock is ticking—but not for a doomed planet, rather for a career in irreversible decline.
As sad as the above story line is, it would probably be more interesting as a bad film than the real-life drama the former A-list actor is trying to conjure up. In a recent story in Politico, Schwarzenegger claimed that more than a half century ago U.S. oil companies knew their product would become a mass killer. The star of the Terminator series says oil companies are guilty of “first degree murder” and they should have countless millions of dollars taken from them for their crimes.
Doesn’t it seem like climate crisis activists are having a secret contest to see which of them can say the craziest thing and appear wildly unhinged before someone from the mainstream press says, “Come on, you’re kidding, right?” If there is indeed a contest, the top prize is still up for grabs. The reporter from the Politico didn’t challenge Schwarzenegger’s lunacy. As we’ve come to expect, the publication printed the story as if it were totally legitimate. I’ll let you pause here for a heavy sigh.
Before I get into the detail of the steroid king’s wackiness, let’s be clear about why Schwarzenegger made his claims at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin. Arnold’s time has passed. He knows it, but these old entertainers never want to let the spotlight fade. More importantly, Schwarzenegger still needs to redeem himself for being a serial sexual abuser on the movie set back when he was a big star. Now that the #MeToo movement is outing all the gropers, molesters and rapists in Hollywood, Schwarzenegger is trying to insulate himself from those who would remind the world that Arnold, too, was one of the bad guys. Several women accused Schwarzenegger of sexual abuse at the end of his first campaign for governor in 2003. That was 15 years ago! Just imagine how many women would have come forward if the #MeToo awakening had taken place back then.
With Arnold facing what could be a resurfacing of old and potentially new allegations he had to acknowledge his “mistakes,” which he faithfully did. And then, to buy himself some immunity, he needed to erect a terrible villain and promise to terminate said villain. Does this strategy sound familiar? It should. When Harvey Weinstein got caught with his hands on the cookies he immediately proclaimed he would spend the rest of his days working to destroy the National Rifle Association. It was the weirdest of non-sequiturs. Nobody bought it, because, well, it was preposterously stupid and everyone knew he was the villain. Schwarzenegger is calculating he won’t suffer the same fate as Harvey because Arnold was once a big, lovable star and Weinstein was just some old, creepy guy who had a famous name.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to the meat of Schwarzenegger’s argument. Actually, there is no meat or potatoes for that matter, just a puff of cotton candy. I could douse his “argument” with a fire hose, but who has the time, and I don’t need it. I’ll just give it a few trigger pulls from a squirt gun and watch it turn to a pink stain on Arnold’s shoes (next to the steroid stains, of course).
Schwarzenegger told Politico, “The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill.” That’s funny, when I was in high school in the 1970s I remember scientists being all worked up about the coming Ice Age. I guess the evil oil companies were a lot smarter about abrupt climate change than scientists back in those days. Can you imagine if oil companies had told everyone that global warming was coming in spite of the fact that scientists were saying the opposite? That would have been fun to watch. Actually, it wouldn’t. Back in the good old days people loved oil more than anything because they knew it was refined into the go-go juice that made their really cool cars super fast. People were actually paying attention to real problems back then (such as Vietnam, the Cold War and the threat of Nuclear War) when they weren’t having fun in their Mustangs, Corvettes and El Caminos.
Getting back to Arnold’s claim about those killer fossil fuels, perhaps his publicist could recommend that he read any number of books that explain how oil, natural gas and coal have lifted billions of people out of poverty, freed most of us from hard labor, cleaned up our land, air and water, created enormous wealth and doubled our life spans. Alex Epstein’s “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” would be a good start. (I realize it’s highly unlikely Arnold has actually cracked a book in the past thirty years, but, hey, lets give him the benefit of the doubt.)
Arnold wants us all to know that drilling for petroleum is, “…no different from the smoking issue.” He says, “The tobacco industry knew for years and years and decades that smoking would kill people, would harm people and create cancer, and were hiding that fact from people and denied it.” Arnold really does need to get better writers. These two issues couldn’t be more different.
The only reason people smoke is because they like it and anybody with half a brain has to know breathing in smoke is going to become a health issue after a while. Conversely, we drill for oil so the world actually works. That’s just a little bit different, isn’t it Arnold? Liquid fuels made from oil make up well over 90 percent of all transportation—the defining feature of the modern world. We use oil and natural gas for, oh, I don’t know, EVERYTHING! Petroleum is not just used to make, transport and dispose of EVERY product, it’s actually in nearly EVERY product! I’m not going to give you examples because EVERYTHING pretty much sums it up. I’m not kidding. Google it.
Our genius, Mr. Schwarzenegger, wants to encourage people to look to “alternative fuels and clean cars.” Psssst. Hey, Arnold. There is no viable alternative to oil for transportation and there is no scalable replacement for oil and natural gas for lightweight plastics, lubricants and about a zillion products. The “clean car” you imagine is an electric car powered by… electricity. That electricity is generated mostly from natural gas, coal and nuclear (which would exist without fossil fuels). And, the car itself, from the tires to the paint to the cloth interior and dashboard, is made from oil and/or natural gas. And, oh yeah, the road is made from oil too.
Hey, Arnold, it’s time to drop the steroid needle and walk down Sunset Strip. As difficult as you are making it, there are still a few people out there who remember you as that fun and lovable entertainer. Sign a few autographs and go away. Please, just go away.