Monday, March 26, 2007

Even if Gore's a Hypocrite, He's Still Right

From today's Wall Street Journal:


Writing on FindLaw, Columbia law professor Michael Dorf comes to Al Gore’s defense — sort of.

papers

Dorf says critics who call the former vice president a hypocrite for living in a massive, energy-gulping mansion while bemoaning global warming may be on to something: “Making a 10,000 square-foot home more energy-efficient is a little like driving oneself to work in a hybrid gas-electric stretch limousine,” he writes.

He also doubts carbon offsets fully exonerate Gore or other gas-guzzlers, comparing them to papal indulgences: “In Catholic theology, sinners could reduce or eliminate their time in purgatory by repenting and earning ‘indulgences’ from the Church. … Forgiving the sins of the contrite is one thing; accepting bribes for a ticket to heaven quite another. If every person on Earth has a moral obligation to reduce his or her contribution to global warming, then Gore’s donations to green technology do not expiate his sins.”

But Dorf commends Gore for supporting the one thing that he thinks really might make a difference in the fight against global warming: a tax on carbon emissions. “When you drive a car, you pay for the cost of producing the gasoline but not for the cost to the health of the planet from the greenhouse gases it emits. You externalize that latter cost to everyone else, and as a result, you pay too little for gasoline and drive too much.” A carbon tax would solve that problem, Dorf writes.


Here's the entire article, worth a read. Regarding the deafening right-wing chorus denouncing Gore's hypocrisy, Dorf says, "If this criticism is meant to somehow discredit the film's central claim that global warming is an extraordinarily serious crisis that demands urgent action, then the skeptics are deliberately confusing the issue." I have not even seen an attempt to explain how the evil of Gore's hypocrisy can be quantified, let alone how the quantity of the evil he thus generates offsets any units of good he is producing.

Is the bar for hypocrisy one of zero-tolerance? Put another way: must Al Gore eat grasshoppers and honey, and travel by foot clothed in sackcloth and ashes in order to maintain credibility?

4 Comments:

Blogger sexyretard said...

No Germanicus, the standard is not zero-tolerance. I do not expect Mr Gore to reuse rain water, or even drive a hybrid.

The question is, if we are doing so much to harm the environment, and what we do really matters and is screwing up the earth, isn't Al Gore an EVEN BIGGER ASSHOLE for engaging in the very behaviors that he suggests are ruining the earth.

I see only two possibilities

1-Al Gore doesn't really believe that humans are causing global catastrophe, and therefore does not live by his own propaganda. So, he treats the environment like Bill Clinton treated religion, or

2-Al Gore is deliberately engaging in luxurious living at the expense of cute little otters and polar bears and should be fined or put in prison or something for willfully jeopardizing humankind by his malfeasance.

I'm going to say it again as it bears repeating, I agree with about 60% of Gore's ideas. I love the idea of alternative energy, encouraging public transportation, mercury lights which use less power, tax incentives for hybrids, special taxes on SUVs, etc. However, he wants us to accept items like the Kyoto Protocol that will most certainly impact the way we live our lives, while at this exact moment, he refuses to make many sacrifices of his own.

So, no, Al Gore is not wrong because he is a hypocrit. Al Gore is a total asshole because he tells me I have to save the environment while jetsetting between his three large houses unnecessarily (in a private plane, perhaps?)

8:58 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

To put it another way, I am fine to accept that we should do as Al Gore says, but we should publically call on him to make better choices, if he is going to presume to be a political leader of any kind.

Would you listen to an Anti-Semite named Adolf Zuckerstein?

9:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"Would you listen to an Anti-Semite named Adolf Zuckerstein?"

That might be the only anti-semite I would listen to!

9:38 PM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

Retard: "the standard is not zero-tolerance."

And then: "we should publically call on [Gore] to make better choices."

Since you're the one making fine distinctions AND calls for action, maybe you could be a little more specific. Gore's a hypocrite for using all that electricity and having several houses; yet you don't require him to reuse rainwater or drive a hybrid. Yet wouldn't these be just the sorts of "better choices" you claim we should call on him to make?

I do not contend that Al Gore is not a hypocrite, just as Jesus did not contend that the woman about to be stoned by the Pharisees was not guilty of adultery (John 8:1-11, where he tells them, "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her"). But it seems to me that the purpose of that great New Testament story is to train our critical eye on ourselves and our own behavior. (It is also clearly a lesson in forgiveness.)

It's the classic slippery slope. If the way Al Gore's actions contradict his words rankles you, then YOU should become a vegan and wipe your ass with a washcloth.

8:43 AM  

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