Sunday, March 04, 2007

Defending Gore

In comments below, "Frank Dugas" concludes that because I defended Al Gore against a specific second-rate piece of journalism, I am obliged to defend him under all circumstances. Why Dugas thinks that I don't know. But I hate to make a guest to the site look silly, so I will play along.

Gore has taken a beating over the last week over reports that his house uses way more electricity than the average house. The charge is not that Gore wastes energy, but that he is a hypocrite for urging others to save.

I'm not too interested in the question of how big a polluter Gore might be. Supposedly, he buys green energy and carbon offsets. Arguably, his use of electricity in the pursuit of persuading others to quit using so much is electricity well spent. But others can take up those arguments.

Let's focus instead on hypocrisy, a trait that appears to be part and parcel of modern life. Jesus told the rich man to go and sell all he had and give it to the poor. But few rich people who claim to believe in Jesus follow that advice. Warbloggers praise war to the heavens, so long as other lives are at risk. Dedicated greens drive cars to get to wilderness. Shop America first believers spend their dollars buying Chinese-made goods at Wal-Mart. I criticize the consolidated beef industry but munch on Big Macs. We all bear our little hypocrisies.

Where along that spectrum does Gore fit? Not much worse than average, I suspect. I wasn't the only viewer of "An Inconvenient Truth" struck by how modest the proposed solutions appeared to be compared to the enormity of the problem. Gore never asked much more of anybody than that they turn off lights when not in use, support green power and ride a bicycle when feasible. Indeed, Robert Samuelson has credibly argued that nothing we are likely to do about global warming is likely to help much.

Compare Gore's hypocrisy to that of global warming skeptics who seem to believe that they can burn as much energy as they want so long as they refuse to acknowledge that there's any problem. Like all of us, Gore has to answer for the difference between what he claims to believe and what he practices. But will those who foster willful ignorance get off any easier?

UPDATE: Wulfgar has much more here and here.

UPDATE 2: Asked about Ann Coulter's "faggot" bomb at CPAC, Sean Hannity responded:

You know, no other person is responsible for what a person says except that person. And so, if they have a problem with what Ann Coulter says, blame Ann Coulter. You can't blame somebody else for what she said. So I didn't see it.

Hannity, of course, loves to berate Democrats and liberals by demanding that they defend the remarks of other Democrats and liberals. It's one of his major rhetorical devices. That's hypocrisy in big boots.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out who Gore 'buys' carbon offsets from. And what good are those offsets anyway?

By the way- did you know it's getting warmer on Mars too? Must have been that probe we sent?