Hummer owners claim moral high ground to excuse overconsumption

Sep 21, 2009

Hummer drivers believe they are defending America's frontier lifestyle against anti-American critics, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Hummer drivers believe they are defending America's frontier lifestyle against anti-American critics, according to a new study in the .

Authors Marius K. Luedicke (University of Innsbruck, Austria), Craig J. Thompson (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Markus Giesler (York University, Toronto) researched attitudes toward owning and driving Hummers, which have become symbols to many of American greed and wastefulness.

The researchers first investigated anti-consumption sentiments expressed by people who oppose chains like Starbucks and believe they are making a moral choice by shunning consumerism. To these critics, Hummers represent the ills of contemporary society. As one extreme example, on www.fuh2.com, people have posted thousands of photographs of middle fingers directed at Hummer vehicles.

They investigated various Internet expressions of anti-Hummer sentiment, but they were equally interested in the ways Hummer owners framed themselves as "moral protagonists" in the ongoing debate over consumer values. They conducted in-depth interviews with twenty U.S.-born and raised Hummer owners and found among these an equally strong current of moralism.

"As we studied American Hummer owners and their ideological beliefs, we found that they consider Hummer driving a highly moral consumption choice," write the authors. "For Hummer owners it is possible to claim the moral high ground."

The authors explain that Hummer owners employ the ideology of American foundational myths, such as the "rugged individual," and the "boundless frontier" to construct themselves as moral protagonists. They often believe they represent a bastion again anti-American discourses evoked by their critics.

"Our analysis of the underlying American identity discourses revealed that being under siege by (moral) critics is an historically established feature of being an American," write the authors. "The moralistic critique of their consumption choices readily inspired Hummer owners to adopt the role of the moral protagonist who defends American national ideals."

More information: Marius K. Luedicke, Craig J. Thompson, and Markus Giesler. "Consumer Identity Work as Moral Protagonism: How Myth and Ideology Animate a Brand- Mediated Moral Conflict." Journal of Consumer Research: April 2010 (published online September 18, 2009).

Source: University of Chicago (news : web)

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RobertKLR
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 21, 2009
What was the point of this article? Was it to fill some space?
NeilFarbstein
2.4 / 5 (5) Sep 21, 2009
its excessive and necessary. Tax them and SUVs until people start conserving fuel.
otto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) Sep 21, 2009
Another straw dog, like fur coats. 4x4 pickups get worse mileage than Hummers anymore, and there are far more of them. You humans just love your symbolism, dont you? It substitutes for the discomfort of rational thought and ambiguous conclusions.
Mandan
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 21, 2009
Two Hummer owners posting above, I see. Ya think?
dmcl
3.8 / 5 (8) Sep 21, 2009
the research tries to answer the question of why a seemingly thoughtful and intelligent person would make a decision to pay big bucks for a vehicle that many others hate. It's another way to send the "I'm stupid enough to by this really big flag" uber patriot message to the rest of us.
Shadouness
5 / 5 (1) Sep 22, 2009
Hnh... as long as the concepts of patriotism, nationalism, religiosity, and such-like exist, there will always be pride and arrogance and personal comfort at the expense of others. Human unity and transcendence of shallow materialism (I don't think that ALL "materialisms" are shallow) will not be achieved. So many of us are so afraid of looking stupid or small, and having the biggest, the most expensive, the shiniest of things compensates for that inadequacy.

One man's gain should not be the cause of another man's suffering.
Velanarris
2.3 / 5 (4) Sep 22, 2009
Quite a few independent studies, funded by non-conflicting interested parties have found that during construction and processing of materials the Hummer is far more environmentally friendly than the Prius. This is mainly due to battery manufacture and the processes and locations where the nickle or lithium is processed.

I disagree with the article due to it's lack of objectivity and sensationalism based upon connotation rather than fact in personality study.
deafgirl01
5 / 5 (2) Sep 22, 2009
I think people who think "If one person have it, then everyone should have it too" attitude are not being very energy efficient either. Hummers are very expensive and not very many people can afford it. Keeping things expensive is a good thing for the Earth. Yet, there are people who believe every household should have a television, internet, phones, electrity, etc. All those things are purely luxury and an energy waste. I've come across people who thinks people out in the country should have internet access as they do with electrity. What next? a access to a grocery store? I'm sorry, lack of modern technologies is part of being out in the country and leaving it to that IS green. A small shelter, water, and some land (for growing food and play) is what people really need to survive.
deafgirl01
not rated yet Sep 22, 2009
Another straw dog, like fur coats. 4x4 pickups get worse mileage than Hummers anymore, and there are far more of them. You humans just love your symbolism, dont you? It substitutes for the discomfort of rational thought and ambiguous conclusions.


those 4x4 are usually used for businesses and hauling heavy things. People don't really drive them everywhere unless it is absolutely necessary. The gas is too expensive. And last I checked, just about every countries have trucks similar to 4x4, especially if they are farmers.
Arkaleus
Sep 22, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
defunctdiety
5 / 5 (2) Sep 22, 2009
You can be Green and for progress and for capitalism and for human rights.

There is FAR more evil in the individuals who seek to misrepresent and POLARIZE the People than in the extremists on either side, which are thankfully a small minority, because the extremists are mostly just misinformed. The Polarizers are the Misinformers and THAT is wholly evil.

Most people are realists. They want to conserve and do good things for the persistence of the planet, but they also want a good life for themselves and their children. They balance the two as best they can, which through education and technology that disparity is reduced every day.

As for Hummer owners, it doesn't matter what their reasons or justifications are. As long as there is a market there will and should be Hummers rolling around. A healthy market will determine if Hummers are have a place or not.
Arkaleus
not rated yet Sep 22, 2009
Seems I've failed to impress you with my last post defunctdeity;

I'm being polarizing because it is in our human interest to sharply assault the conniving green meme.

I say conniving because its principal minds must be intelligent enough to understand the opportunity green hysteria presents to them, and because they have used the method of Lie to draw nearer to this opportunity.

I've observed them from the beginning of the hysterical motion, led by academic zealots who've been crying for statist centralization of the planet for decades. I've heard their petulant and pedantic sophistry force-fed to my younger brothers and sisters, who are then shamed for living and moving so freely. I say damn them and their institutions for betraying our shared trust of Liberty.

To a man of moderate intelligence the notion of paying money to another group claiming they can save men from bad weather is laughable. Even he knows that money is used only by other men, and not at all by nature.
Velanarris
not rated yet Sep 23, 2009
I'm being polarizing because it is in our human interest to sharply assault the conniving green meme.

Being the hero for too long leads you to watch yourself become the villan. Might be a bastardization from a Batman movie, but it holds true.
Arkaleus
not rated yet Sep 23, 2009
I doubt taking a defensive stance against a foreign ideology that seeks to destroy the civil liberties of the West could lead to any sort of villainy whatsoever.

Climate change ideology is not an academic discourse or exercise in science. It's a furious maneuver by groups on the fringes of power to become the dominant force in 21st century politics. Their neo-Marxist schemes find a catalyst in climate-related hysterics.

Globalists have desperately sought a vehicle to power slick enough to overcome the Constitution of America and the traditions of rationalism in other Western societies. Overcoming rule of law and limited government are the keys to establishing the type of government system they most desire.

Of course, only panic and hysteria create the kind of dissonance they need to usurp the free west. They openly explain the fashionable trend in government that "needs" crisis to accomplish anything, so they "create" a perpetual one.
Arkaleus
not rated yet Sep 23, 2009
Those who don't understand the nature of power and those who seek it will not be able to comprehend the activity surrounding the climate change agenda. They will think it is about environmentalism, reinforced by propaganda from those who are aligned with the politics of oligarchy and private power.

Greenism ultimately insures continued wealth and power for those at the top by forcing everyone at the bottom into planned economies, police state containment and population control.

Climate is a red herring, any attempt to make an emergency out of it is preposterous and abuses the public trust we give academics and government. We have seen corrupt governments of the West use the dialectic of crisis to push "solutions" that would otherwise violate law or tradition. Bush used this method extensively to advance an imperial foreign policy and to suppress domestic resistance to his violent and illegal activities.

To hear what these people have planned for us is enough to declare war.
defunctdiety
5 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2009
its principal minds must be intelligent enough to understand the opportunity green hysteria presents to them

led by academic zealots who've been crying for statist centralization of the planet for decades

I say damn them and their institutions for betraying our shared trust of Liberty

It's a furious maneuver by groups on the fringes of power to become the dominant force in 21st century politics


The above is correct for the most part, however I submit to you that it is not these fringe powers who are behind globalization and it's not they making a bid for power. You have spotted the trend but not the villain.
defunctdiety
5 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2009

Globalists have desperately sought a vehicle to power slick enough to overcome the Constitution of America

Greenism ultimately insures continued wealth and power for those at the top by forcing everyone at the bottom into planned economies, police state containment and population control.


Our economy has been planned for a long time. This has been brewing for a long time. It is simply those with most of the power now (politics and bankers, essentially), making a bid for it all. It is government that is trying to swell government. That is the front that must be taken on. Not the green movement. Without big government the green movement is nothing. Certainly we should make people aware of the psuedo-environmentalism mantle (AGW) that the powers that be have taken up to galvanize their attack on freedom and the Constitution. However it is simply big government that must be prevented. With that all else will fall in line with liberty.
Arkaleus
5 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2009
Good points all.

The most threatening aspect of the green movement is that every enemy of individualism and human liberty has quickly learned what hysteria can do for their agenda. They desperately need to overcome the psychological barrier that prevents people from accepting totalitarian rule, and for this they need continual psych trauma on the public. Through the Big Lie and media saturation, they succeed.

Those folks behind the green scene really don't have any true sense of conservation or ecology, they have other pet monsters like population reduction, wealth confiscation and redistribution, social control grids, etc. Through their common hatred of humanity and reason, globalist goblins and Marxist crackpot academics have joined together in their march towards a greener world, one without free nations and about 80% less human life.

The clear and present danger to our lives from a "permanent emergency" government must be understood quickly and rallied against.
defunctdiety
5 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2009
Something I wanted to stress in my reply above, but it got left by the way side, is how important it is to not polarize the People, we are all we have. The realists, the majority in the middle, who are subject to the media saturation and conflicted feelings of wanting to live comfortably while reducing their impact on the environment.

It won't be accomplished through one-sided tirades. Such unilateral demonization of what People feel, and know, is inherently right can accomplish nothing towards the greater good. It is no less of an attempt at control then the Green Monster is using. People have to be shown that you can have both, and you can, and it all starts with individual freedom.

We must rally behind that which People can unite behind without consideration of science or morals or anything but their own strongest personal will and instinct, and that's individual freedom.

The bigger the government the less individual freedom. There is no exception and there is no other way, IMHO.
Arkaleus
5 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2009
Sensible but firm public resistance against a foreign ideology is not without precedent in these United States.

Defunctdeity, if dozens of millions of Westerners have been convinced by their trusted media sources that in order to have a healthy environment we must obey our governments and accept state executorial control over our childrens' lives from cradle to grave, would you think a disaster about to occur in human history?

If so, tell us what novel erratum might be near.
Darkside
1 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2009
Mental! All of you. We are all guilty of poisoning the Earth one way or the other, and just because i have this particular view does not mean i am a reefer toking hippy that wants to off half the world population and make everybody drive round in pedal power buggies! I am not vegan or vegetarian either, i just read a lot of scientific journals on the subject of climate change. If you still believe it's a lie and a conspiracy then you truly are delusional!!!
defunctdiety
5 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2009
If you still believe it's a lie and a conspiracy then you truly are delusional!!!

Of course climate change is not a lie, it's the one inevitable occurrence no matter what humans do, no matter what.

The important thing to realize is that we cannot control the climate, like AGW committees are proposing (limit the global temp increase to 2 degrees over the next five decades?! give me a freaking break!!) if you read a broad spectrum of scientific journals (or if you have any common sense), you should realize that this is complete idiocy and posturing.

We are all guilty of poisoning the Earth one way or the other...

If you truly feel this way, than I hope you actually DO something towards REAL change and not just plant a tree or buy freaking carbon offsets, like AGW theorists want you to do. Change your life, first, and then educate others on how they can change theirs, that's the best thing you can do. Change what you do and how you do it, every day, if you are concerned.
Velanarris
not rated yet Sep 24, 2009
Defunctdeity, if dozens of millions of Westerners have been convinced by their trusted media sources that in order to have a healthy environment we must obey our governments and accept state executorial control over our childrens' lives from cradle to grave, would you think a disaster about to occur in human history?

They haven't. The majority of the western world is disillusioned by the centralized mass media.
Arkaleus
5 / 5 (1) Sep 25, 2009
They are disillusioned but it's still the primary awareness director for the majority of people. Even the smart ones.

Even if they are smart enough to know they are being manipulated, they're corralled into carefully designed areas of awareness anyway. I guess you could call major media a form of mind control, maybe at the very least "awareness control."

In that sense, major media companies absolutely do not report the "news", they instead assist the groups they are allied with by willful misdirection and omission.

We have to remember our greatest enemies aren't other nations, but nation-less groups with hostile ideologies. Their most clever behavior was to simply not provide a name for their groups and ideologies (so devilishly clever!). By this simple omission, they make it difficult or impossible for the public to discuss them or even realize they exist.
Velanarris
not rated yet Sep 25, 2009
Notable exception would be the Bildenbirger(sp?) group.

The world's 120 most powerful men can meet and there's zero news coverage or knowledge of the goings on. I'm sure they're not chatting up their respective golf games.
Arkaleus
not rated yet Sep 25, 2009
Actually the Bilderberg group was "named" by a newspaper reporting on the group's activities. Bilderberg was merely the name of the hotel they first met in. There is no official name for this organization, even to this day.

Groups like these, and the secret societies these men come from are the greatest enemies the free West has.

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