Get a life!

I understand BP’s Tony Haywood has his life back now.

In other news, I hear some … folks… are advocating a boycott of BP.

Did it occur to them that BP needs income in order to clean up the mess they caused?  People need jobs?

Is their desire to destroy an oil company because it is… an oil company?

I think people can disagree about how to treat BP, but the fact remains that BP has to clean up the mess, BP needs money to clean up the mess, and people depend on BP for their livelihood.

Will the people who advocate the boycott offer to pay for the cleanup and the lost income?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. ray from mn says:

    Apparently, 40% of BP is owned by Americans.

    And much of its English ownership consists of pension fund. If it makes no money or goes bankrupt, it will be retirees will be among those who suffer most grievously.

  2. Jack Hughes says:

    I saw about 10-15 minuites of the hearings live on Sky, it was not so much a hearing as a ritual sacrifice offered by two-bit congressman to the electorate live on TV in order to get re-elected, as someone who used to want to go into politics it sickened me, “Vanity of vanity, all is vanity.” I’ll take the Habit over the select commitie any day.

  3. sjg4080 says:

    Not to mention Father that BP owns less than 1% of the BP branded retail stations. For the most part, independent small businesses or owners own the retail stations. A boycott of BP gasoline is only taking away income from hard working small business owners. Additionally, BP markets its gasoline to all different retail outlets so one could be filling up at a Valero or Exxon station and still be filling up with gasoline that was refined by BP. It makes no sense to boycott.

    BP has certainly screwed up. Time will tell the culpability of individual managers that might have made the wrong decisions. But this public witch hunt is a disgrace. Laws already exist that will hold BP accountable. This is just a move to allow this Congress and President to force through a renewable energy agenda. To vilify the oil industry that has allowed for and driven the greatest expansion of economic freedom in all of human history over the last 100 or so years is a tragedy. Allow the markets to find solutions to energy needs. If renewable energy sources can be discovered, manufactured, multiplied and made inexpensive, all the better. But to have this agenda forced upon us is as far removed from the purpose of government as possible.

    Additionally, it genuinely appears Tony Hayward is devastated by this accident. Here was a man, whom by all accounts, is a decent, hard working, smart, family oriented person that earned a PhD in geology and was able to advance through the ranks of the company to take it over three years ago. BP’s safety record prior to his appointment as CEO was nothing to be proud of and he was brought in to change the company’s culture which he’s been attempting to do up until this tragic ACCIDENT.

    I’m no defender of big business, but I’m even less a defender of big government and from the actions taken by this Congress and President, I’m more skeptical than ever that anything good will come out of our federal government intervening in this. As I said, BP will be held accountable under existing law for this mess.

  4. Charivari Rob says:

    A good deal of what is BP in the USA was Amoco. So – people, refineries, jobs, etc…

  5. MWindsor says:

    Is their desire to destroy an oil company because it is… an oil company?

    I work for an oil company and this attitude is quite common.

  6. MWindsor says:

    Also, I know quite a few folks that work for BP…in Chicago and Houston. They have little to do with the Brits.

  7. Roland de Chanson says:

    Ego plerumque commendationes de societatibus publicis in sitibus quibus pecuniarum locatarum non refert, at mihi videtur exceptionem faciendam esse quia Pater Z. argumentum praeclarum doctrina Catholica sociali fundatum proposuit.

    BP (NYSE: BP) ad et infra USD28 comparari debet. Ne metueritis de dividendo sublato. Tituli comparandi sunt.

    I don’t generally give out stock recommendations on non-investment sites, but I will make an exception here since Fr. Z. has propounded a good argument based on Catholic social teaching.

    BP (NYSE: BP) is a buy at $28 and under. Don’t be alarmed at the dividend cut. Buy it.

  8. GirlCanChant says:

    I have to admit, when I read the title “Get a Life!” on a Friday night post, I thought you were talking to your readers.

  9. Leonius says:

    I agree with you Father.

    Boycotts have their place to apply pressure to get companies to stop doing something you disagree with.

    In this case what is the aim of the boycott? Its not going to put the well back together again is it?

  10. Teresamerica says:

    These people who are calling for a boycott of BP will only succeed in hurting the livelihoods of hard working Americans. They seem to be responding with knee-jerk nonsensical reactions.

  11. wanda says:

    As others have said, most BP stations are ‘Mom & Pop’s’, no longer owned by BP. I wish the government would let people go ahead with some of their own home-grown clean up ideas, it may be years if they have to wait for the government to do it. I understand that other countries wanted to send help on day 2 or 3, skimmers, etc. But they were told thanks, but no thanks. Makes no sense to me.

  12. doanli says:

    They went after Big Tobacco, now it’s Big Oil’s turn…(never mind Big Government’s own gross incompetence.)

    Repeal the Jones Act for starters, you Bozos in DC.


    Native of the Gulf Coast.

  13. doanli says:

    Jones Act forbids foreign vessels in USA waters…thanks to Unions who happen to be big supporters of Obama’s party.

  14. wmeyer says:

    First, as I think I wrote her in another thread the other day, ignorance of economics seems epidemic in our society, and without knowledge of economics, few have the capacity to reason on these issues.

    Second, I am increasingly convinced that the destruction of BP is a goal for Obama. It can serve as another emergency which they should not fail to use to advantage.

    I cannot think other than that our current administration is diabolically opposed to capitalism. The path they have charted will lead certainly to bleak times for our country.

    For anyone who feels the need to explore economics in a common sense way, I recommend Thomas Sowell’s “Basic Economics”. It is solid and non-technical. And it makes plain the mechanics of economics, sufficient for any rational citizen to see the errors currently being committed.

  15. wmeyer says:

    The Jones Act doesn’t need to be repealed, at least not urgently. It can be suspended, as it has been in the past, when necessary. That can be done by executive order, I believe, and Obama certainly seems to like writing executive orders.

  16. doanli says:

    He should have done it on Day 3 then. Why the wait?

  17. JonM says:

    Jones Act forbids foreign vessels in USA waters…thanks to Unions who happen to be big supporters of Obama’s party.


    The Jones Act forbids foreign vessels from carrying loads ‘port to port.’ The Jones Act contains a provision that in the time of an emergency, the law can be waived.

  18. TomB says:

    This is insanity. I’m going to buy fuel at BP whenever possible.

  19. Brian Day says:

    The Jones Act is properly called the Merchant Marine at of 1920, passed during the Woodrow Wilson administration. Unions may love it, but it was passed as a piece of protectionist legislation in the wake of WWI. The unintended consequences of it was that it killed off domestic shipbuilding in the USA as ships were no longer price competitive on the world market.
    Wikipedia entry

  20. mdsmelser says:

    The “hearings’ looked just like the old Soviet style “show trials”. They were a joke.

    BP execs could not say anything of substance, as everyone has already said they plan to sue them, and hold them accountable for every admission they make. They were carefully coached by their lawyers for good reason.

    You can tell the Libs hate Oil, oil companies, oil employees and management, by the way they speak to them and about them.

    BP was owned and still is owned by almost every major mutual fund practically and many pensions. It would not be smart to cut off our noses to spite our faces with a boycott.

    You are right – someone needs to get a life. Why not try to help stop the leak and clean things up, or donate to the people out of jobs from this (something positive and helpful), rather than do more damage with a boycott?

  21. TonyLayne says:

    People with that particular brand of self-righteousness don’t really think about the consequences of the actions they promote. Consider Christopher Hitchens, who’s wasted interminable airtime and column inches condemning Mother Teresa for accepting money from the Duvaliers when refusing it would have done no one any good. Or think of the people who attack Pius the XII for “not speaking up” against the Nazi regime when it’s well-known that, when the Dutch bishops did explicitly condemn them, they sparked a massive roundup of Jews that included Anne Frank and St. Edith Stein. Zeal can be an admirable quality … but not if it’s unchecked by prudence.

  22. gilisme says:

    My Dear Rev. Fr,:
    No one seems to be concerned about the apparent lack of concern for God’s earthly environment and the souls who reap their livehood in the Gulf, re: British Petroleum, er, BP sorry. Absence of concern for God’s people and earth is apparent showing their lack of concern for our world, the workers there and nil contrition for their gastley (no pun) work. They take enormous profits and take our oil for nothing. The oil is for the “world market” not America. Their greed and lack of proper workmanship is in-excuseable. May Holy God have mercy on BP and please restore our jobs, people’s, and the pristine nature of the Gulf of Mexico. Mea culpea for their greed and prayers for America. Alternative energy is our hope.

  23. moon1234 says:

    Alternative energy is our hope

    Please don’t fall for this line. It is exactly what this administration wants. A page right out of Sal Alinski’s “rules for radicals” Don’t let any good catastrophe go to waste.

    What is the Obama administration doing while everyone is concerned with the BP disaster? Is the administration mobilizing army corps of engineers to stop the oil from hitting land?

    Is the Obama administration bringing in Dutch skimmer ships who have volunteered?
    NO! (At least not for the first 60 days).

    Is the President extorting money from a private company like a facist dictator?

    Is the President trying to pass cap and trade tax increases while using the oil spil as an excuse?

    Is the USA currently provocking IRAN by stopping all of their cargo ships and enforcing a NO IMPORT of gasoline and raw materials to IRAN?

    Keep your eyes open folks. This administration will try and use this disaster to start a war (Which makes people forget about objecting to facist legislation), pass new cap and trade taxes that will kill our economy further.

    Also pray for the people on the coast. Many people are getting very ill from the toxic dispersal agents they are using and the crude that is washing up on shore. Over 100 people are already in the hospital in LA from the toxic effects of the spill. This will only get worse over time. Many people are going to die because of this.

    The current US administration is not interested in containing and cleaning up this problem. They have refused to help build berms. Bobby Jindal, Gov. of LA had to call out his own national guard when the president refused to help. Obama has golfed 6 rounds, attended two concerts and other social events while the people of the gulf states suffer and die. Pray for our country. Pray for our elected representatives on congress to start helping the people on the gulf coast instead of trying to kill BP.

    BP can be handeled in the courts. That is where their trial belongs. The US government needs to get their butts in gear and start helping our fellow citizens on the coast!

  24. ckdexterhaven says:

    I boycotted BP long before this disaster. BP is the reason that Britain released the Lockerbie bomber back to Libya. BP needed Libyan oil, and the highest levels of British government worked with BP and Libya to secure the bombers release. Here’s one small article explaining it:

  25. Cavaliere says:

    I boycotted BP long before this disaster. BP is the reason that Britain released the Lockerbie bomber back to Libya. BP needed Libyan oil, and the highest levels of British government worked with BP and Libya to secure the bombers release.

    Sounds like part of the premise from the last Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.

  26. Brian Day says:


    Did you not read what our gracious host wrote?
    …but the fact remains that BP has to clean up the mess…

    More to the point, the topic at hand is a possible boycott of BP and how it is at odds with the responsibility/ability to pay for the clean-up, not environmental concerns. If you want to talk about environmental concerns, may I humbly suggest you talk about it on your blog.

  27. Peter from Jersey says:

    You may not be right. The evidence against the two convicted for the bombing has been shown to be unreliable See Private Eye magazine. Of course the chance to diversify sources of oil may have helped push the decision along. Who knows with Bliar?

    The way that some US politicians are acting towards BP reminds me of the Ministry of Love (hate) in Orwell’s 1984. Funnily enough we never saw that for the airports whose security failures allowed the 9/11 bombers to wreck their evil.

  28. Others have pointed to similar statistics. For my state (Wisconsin) it has been reported that every single BP station in the State of Wisconsin is a franchise, and not a corporate station. In other words, the stations are typically “Mom and Pop” type concerns. And again (in Wisconsin — other states may be different) because of the peculiar ways our state laws are written, a gas station typically makes only pennies per gallon in profit. The real money is made from the sale of coffee, soda, newspapers, magazines, cigarettes, sandwiches, etc. from the people buying the gas.

    Boycotting the gas doesn’t hurt the “Mom and Pop” concerns — but the loss in profit for all the ancillary items does. And it was not “Mom and Pop” who were guilty of the oil spill.

  29. MaryMaria says:

    As a BP family, please keep us in your prayers, it is very difficult to not take the criticism personally and even though we are hundreds of miles from what happened and had no control at all, we are all still targets of the anger.

  30. Henry Edwards says:

    I do not have a simple answer for any of the complex questions that are being asked. However, here’s a question.

    BP wanted to drill only on the continental shelf at a depth of 5 hundred feet — where the drilling technology is sure and safe, and there has never been a disaster at this depth (so far as I know). As I understand it, Louisiana gave the permission for this drilling, but the federal government insisted that BP drill further out at a dangerous (as it turns out) and unprecedented depth of 5 thousand feet, and this disaster is the result.

    Who then should be responsible for the $20 billion in clean-up costs and liabilities? BP or the government?

    I do not claim the answer is obvious. Only that it’s a logical question, with both moral and political aspects.

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