*Note – we changed the content on May 11th based on advice from a social change leader urging that we should be less confrontational, and more collaborative. This was the advice:
I think framing John Raymond as a bad person who needs to have his money removed from him is not a angle that readers can get behind, since he is just doing what ambitious capitalist Americans do. Let’s face it, if most Americans were in John Raymond’s shoes, they would have done the same thing. The argument would be that John Raymond’s son or daughter will have to do differently, as our world cannot continue having this economic system that it does. And if Raymond loves his children, he will change his ways NOW since we do not have time to waste. So instead of us preying on John and taking things from him, framing it as John giving to the world by changing his ways because he loves his kid might be a better tactic.
John T. Raymond is the son of Lee Raymond, who have may have done more to exacerbate the climate emergency than any one person.
John, who through his father became an fossil fuel magnate in his own right, is a great example of unearned and massive birth privilege.
And because he is in the business of fossil fuels, the wealth he “owns” was made at cost – through the climate crisis – to those in the future. The cost of much of his family’s wealth could be the death of millions.
John T. Raymond is great example of the climate trolley problem, recently covered in Newsweek. What if you could save millions by engaging one man? You can. John. T Raymond is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, money made by externalizing costs and risks on others.
That money could be used to reform the way we create families, moving from parent focused modes that isolate us to child-centric modes that unify communities, which would be the most just and effective response to the climate crisis.
It could reduce emissions in a massive way, and relocate children – while arming them with resources – to safety. This change could unfold in ways that impact billions of at-risk families over time.
That move is not just reducing emissions, but readying future generations for the worst.
This will save millions of lives, and end policies that are irrefutably racist and ecocidal.
And because families come first, this unique reform limits John’s property rights (capturing the costs his wealth foisted on others). We are just, before we own justly. We have a right to engage him on this issue of unpaid costs, and the need to cover climate reparation, because governments cannot assign rights in derogation of our being – at constitutional level – free and equal. What I just said has been subject to multiple positive peer reviews, and some have tried to hide it because of what this truth could do.
There are baselines for assessing costs and benefits, including when we use currencies like freedom, but all would have to start with how systems of obligation – like the laws that protect John’s wealth – actually include the persons they impact in the allocation decision-making process. Are they actually constitutive or obligatory, or attenuated from their subjects? The particular laws that protect John’s wealth do not fare well when scrutinized. They are based on creating lots of people for shopping malls rather than ensuring minimum levels of development in each person to ready them for town halls. Freedom comes in reversing that basic form of disempowerment.
One could argue that the positive law entitlements described in the first link of this paragraph must control in the absence of agreement otherwise, but unpacked that boils down to doing what the government – the men with guns – says, because it is the government. But that, as a reason, is the opposite of the ideal of American freedom.
This is all beyond liberalism or conservatism. We might equally target the lead at the New York Times – Joseph Kahn – for his role, his use of power, in holding up the family system that created John’s wealth.
Justice means more freedom for all.
TAKE ACTION: Contact John here through his agents, and urge him to do the right thing, or find and reason with him lawfully and peacefully in person and we will publicize your bravery. Free persons will limit and decentralize the influence others have over them (including climatological influence) by physically constituting just communities, relative to a neutral baseline like a restored climate and nature, such that we are not interfering with the freedom or relative self-determination of others.
John, using some of his wealth to give back to future generations and reorient what we mean by being free, could lead in this regard.