Schlumberger & Why You Need The People You Hate

It’s pronounced “Schlumbergzhay.”

If you’ve ever lived in Houston, you know the company. It’s a French oil services firm with a massive Houston operation. The company has been in my lexicon since childhood; I had friends whose parents worked there. It was only later that I had reason to begin to study the company, and what I found reminded me of how incestuous industries can be. It’s actually a comforting thing.

Schlumberger is even bigger than Halliburton but seems to have escaped the mass-market hatred that makes up the anti-capitalist bloc of the Left; perhaps it has a better marketing team. In any case, it’s huge and wealthy.

Another institution that defines Houston is The Menil Collection, a beautiful museum with a world-class collection of Surrealists, Modernists and African art. It was launched John de Ménil and Dominique de Ménil, heiress to the vast Schlumberger collection.

Dominique and John began collecting art in the 1940s. When they moved to Houston, she instantly became the art and cultural doyenne of record. She was frustrated by the lack of arts in Houston, and began promoting art at the Contemporary Arts Museum. Their legacy lives on in the beautiful museum they built to house their collection, and their thumbprints are all over the city.

Without Schlumberger’s money, the citizenry wouldn’t have this extraordinary (and free) museum to enjoy.

I like to think that those people who hate oil and oil companies probably don’t know that the free access to truly world-class art was made possible by the oil companies. The cause and effect of money remains a mystery to them.

Progressives need the people they hate. But capitalists, and people who embrace technology (ie, oil drilling equipment), don’t need the people they hate. They’re content to be left alone to do what they want to do.

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  1. Oh, I’m so glad you went to the Menil. Isn’t it just amazing that we have this FOR FREE here in Houston? I think it’s truly a treasure and I think I need to visit it again!

  2. I’ve thought about this “needing who you hate” thing a lot, as I’ve watched the attack ads for the campaigns. I’m not going to issue the standard “It’s both sides” caveat, by the way – it probably is, but I’ve only been seeing Democrat ads lately, by chance or design, so I can only comment on them. It’s the same ol’ same ol’ over there on the Left – BIG OIL, BIG BANKS, WALL STREET… but I side with YOU! They can’t help themselves with the class warfare and appeals to envy and bitterness. They say the country is angry, but man, this stuff sure don’t sound cheerful to me.

    • Cara Ellison says:

      Well, what does the right attack?

      I’ve never seen an ad that says, “Obama supports allowing babies who survive abortions die.” That would be an awesome ad, btw, but it doesn’t exist. Still, it’s a good example of needing who you hate, because the right DOESN’T NEED ABORTION TO SURVIVE.

      The right wants lower taxes. The right doesn’t need big taxes (which become welfare checks) to survive (usually). The left does because they can’t survive in a competitive marketplace.

      The left needs Wall Street, Big Pharma, and Big Oil. They need them desperately. Like the guy who was all about Peak Oil, I just have to wonder if he drives, does he wear sneakers (the soles of sneakers are made from petroleum), does he use Vaseline (petroleum), does he mow his lawn (need petroleum for that) etc etc. He *needs* the thing he hates.

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