Useful Idiots


© Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace

There is some debate as to whether Russian Leader Vladimir Lenin actually used the term "useful idiots" to refer to communist sympathizers in the US, but there is no doubt that he said, "Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world."

That generation is before us now – not to usher us into communism, but to deliver us from the evils of petroleum and its byproducts. Witness the earnest young people in the photo on this page who, as representatives of Greenpeace, a large, multinational conglomerate, scaled an Arctic-bound oil rig in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to protest the continued extraction of fossil fuels.

One of the founders of Greenpeace, the late Robert Hunter, believed that in order for environmentalism to become a mass movement, it would have to be based on ideology, or as he called it "popular mythology," rather than science, because "not everybody can be a Ph.D. ecologist." As if to illustrate his point, the young climbers on the oil rig in this picture are equipped almost entirely with products made of the substance they despise.

Philips Publishing Group

In addition to the acrylic, nylon and polyester these kids are wearing, we bet they have, within 6 hours of this photo opportunity, availed themselves of petroleum-based products including anesthetics, antihistamines, antiseptics, deodorant, eyeglasses, shampoo, soap, soft contact lenses, sweaters, telephones, toothbrushes, toothpaste, nail polish and perfumes.

While these activists and their handlers fear no US corporation, it should be noted that the largest oil companies in the world aren't found so conveniently close to US Coast Guard rescue helicopters.

For example, we have yet to see a similar protest staged at the world's largest oil producer, Saudi Aramco – by far the largest energy company in the world. Saudi Aramco generates more than $1 billion a day in revenues, but the Saudis, known for swift justice, have so far not been targeted by these trespassers.

Number two in carbon production is Russia's Gazprom. Controlled by the Kremlin, Gazprom's monopoly on European natural gas deliveries provides President Vladimir Putin with the hard currency he needs to project power in the region. In 2013, 30 activists sent by Greenpeace to protest Russian arctic exploration were arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in a Russian prison simply for approaching one of Russia's rigs.

Iran is the third largest producer of oil worldwide, although currently under sanctions, and China is the fifth. Both China's oil exploration and the country's indiscriminate implementation of large manmade islands in the South China Sea continue unmolested by the environmental group.

According to Greenpeace's most recent annual report, the group raised more than $300 million in donations in 2013, up 7 percent over 2012, but it's likely these fresh-faced ideologues won't see any of that cash, as Greenpeace relies on the efforts of volunteers for the dirty work. At press time, Greenpeace had not responded to questions of insurance for the young climbers – specifically, whether Greenpeace carries insurance for the climbers that board the rig at the organization's urging or whether Greenpeace expects the rig's insurance carrier to accept liability for any injury or death to the climbers.


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