Walter Russell Mead dissects the failure of Al Gore

I had heard about a two-part article Mead wrote examining why Gore is a poor leader for the environmental movement, but I only now read it.  It is well worth your time.

Part I

Part II

My favorite quotation from Part I, which goes a long way to explaining the green failures:

Consider how Gore looks to the skeptics.  The peril is imminent, he says.  It is desperate.  The hands of the clock point to twelve.  The seas rise, the coral dies, the fires burn and the great droughts have already begun.  The hounds of Hell have slipped the huntsman’s leash and even now they rush upon us, mouths agape and fangs afoam.

But grave as that danger is, Al Gore can consume more carbon than whole villages in the developing world.  He can consume more electricity than most African schools, incur more carbon debt with one trip in a private plane than most of the earth’s toiling billions will pile up in a lifetime — and he doesn’t worry.  A father of four, he can lecture the world on the perils of overpopulation.  Surely, skeptics reason, if the peril were as great as he says and he cares about it as much as he claims, Gore’s sense of civic duty would call him to set an example of conspicuous non-consumption.  This general sleeps in a mansion, and lectures the soldiers because they want tents.

What this tells the skeptics is that Vice President Gore doesn’t really believe the gospel he proclaims.  That profits from his environmental advocacy enable his affluent lifestyle only deepens their skepticism of the messenger and therefore of the message.  And when they see that the rest of the environmental movement accepts this flagrant contradiction, they conclude, naturally enough, that the other green leaders aren’t as worried as they claim to be.  Al Gore’s lifestyle is a test case for the credibility of his gospel — and it fails. The tolerance of Al Gore’s lifestyle by the environmental leadership is a further test — and that test, too, the greens fail.

I’ve noted before that Mr. Bookworm’s greenism fails when we’re on vacation and someone else is paying the energy bills for his daily demand for two or three fresh bath towels.  I have no problem with being cheap.  I’m cheap, and therefore I conserve energy.  I’m also cheap on other people’s behalf — I think its dishonest to save my money on electricity, but to waste someone else’s.

The greens have wrapped themselves up in a mantle of moral superiority, and that’s a tough garment to wear all the time.  Their problem is that when they periodically cast that rigid mantle off for their own luxury or convenience, it’s pretty clear that they consider themselves so superior, they don’t even need the garb of moral superiority.

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  • Gringo

    suek@#95
    Taylor Bean. link
    Here is another take on Taylor Bean
    http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2011/06/30/bean-counters/ Taylor Bean

  • Danny Lemieux

    No cooling in the last 10 years, Zach.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Oops! I meant no warming in the last 10 years. There has been cooling, though. Just as predicted by solar cycle activity.

  • Charles Martel

    Danny, Zach has authorized me to make this reponse on his behalf:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/globalwarming/ar4-fig-3-17.gif

    Ha!

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Danny Lemieux: I meant no warming in the last 10 years. 

    2010 tied with 2005 for warmest year on record. 2000-2010 was the warmest decade on record with ten of the eleven warmest years (the other being 1998). 
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110112_globalstats.html

    Climate changes are swamped on a short term basis by natural cycles, such as the  El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation. However, if you look at the graphs, it’s quite clear that the lower troposphere has been warming. This doesn’t show that the warming is caused by human activity, though. However, cooling of the stratosphere is a signature of the Greenhouse Effect. 

  • Danny Lemieux

    Zach, you and ABC keep referring back to the NOAA as if it is a font of integrity. NASA and other science-based government organizations have become corrupted political organizations  (James Hansen being the most visible and egregious example of this). 

    Here’s a take-down of NOAA’s surface temperature data:

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/the-bias-of-the-noaas-national-climate-data-center-ncdc-under-the-leadership-of-tom-karl-and-tom-peterson/

    Similar takedowns have been been done on their other data. 

    Don’t be so gullible. You believe the NOAA’s pronouncements because you want them to be true. Learn to think for yourself.

  • suek

    >>Learn to think for yourself.>>

    Danny. That’s _so_ unscientific.

    Don’t you know you have to be a _scientist_ before you are qualified to think for yourself??

  • Danny Lemieux

    Good point, suek. Good thing I am a scientist.

  • suek

    Ok…so you – Danny – may be allowed to think for yourself. However, your statement was an imperative directed at Zach. Zach is _not_ a scientist. Therefore, Zach should _not_ be allowed to think for himself.

    Or is that a scientific conclusion? Don’t want to get in trouble here. Not that’s it’s a danger – abc has assured me that I don’t think scientifically, so I guess it’s ok…

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Danny, Z hasn’t been authorized by the government to think for himself. A hasn’t been authorized by Krug to do that either.

  • Charles Martel

    I was going to say I hate to say this, but I really don’t at all: Zach has run out of ammunition. He just keeps repeating himself, much like abc has been doing the past few days. The old cliche about instanity (actually, I think it’s just simple neuroticism) “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” certainly holds true here.

    No matter how erudite or academic their assertions, real life is showing what a fool’s errand their fanatical devotion to Lord Keynes  has turned out to be. They’re now in the position of the doctors who killed George Washington:” Let’s drain just a leetle more blood and he’ll be cured!” Or in this case, “Let’s take money our grandkids will have to pay back and spend it on paying off all the Democrats in Congress. That’ll kick-start the economy!

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Danny Lemieux: Here’s a take-down of NOAA’s surface temperature data:

    Pielke Sr. is upset because his papers, while being published, are being ignored. His skepticism about surface measurements have been substantially answered in Menne et al 2010, and satellite measurements have confirmed the overall warming pattern. Yes, he thinks he’s right. That’s the nature of the scientific enterprise, and why there are always outliers. But even assuming the claim that NOAA has been corrupted, along with NASA apparently, that doesn’t explain why such disparate scientific groups, from Brazil to China, have reached the same conclusion. 
     

  • Danny Lemieux

    The problem, in this case, is the corruption of the data collection sites, which has more-than adequately been documented. As they say in analysis – garbage in, garbage out!

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Danny Lemieux: The problem, in this case, is the corruption of the data collection sites, which has more-than adequately been documented.

    Satellite data confirms that the troposphere is warming while the stratosphere is cooling.

  • Charles Martel

    Danny, I norice that Zach won’t touch James Hansen. Get’s in the way of the narrative, I guess.

  • abc

    Danny likes to take issue with my statements, but he provides no counter-evidence.  No wonder he only likes to post comments on conservative site where he doesn’t need to.  Everyone believes without evidence what he does, so no citation required.

    i don’t roll that way.  If my sources and facts are wrong, like those regarding the surgeons that falsified data to claim safety on Medtronic devices that wasn’t there, then tell me why it is wrong and provide an authoritative source to back it up.  If you cannot, then YOU ARE PRESUMPTIVELY WRONG.  And even if the fellow conservatives here living in the same little fantasy bubble believe your claim without evidence versus mine with, you are still wrong.  Just in the company of other wrong people.  Got it?  Otherwise, there is no point discussing stuff if you have a reality that is impervious to facts.  It’s like talking to a brick wall.  Very boring and not at all productive.

    Suek wants an explanation on the budget.  The reason why you cannot cut spending only and balance the budget is because almost no Americans want only 40% of the government that they are now receiving.  Politically, it is a non-starter.  And proof of this is that no conservative has actually presented a budget that seeks to balance the budget with just spending cuts.  Even Paul Ryan didn’t do this, and he was criticized for this (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/169d6ec6-653e-11e0-b150-00144feab49a.html#axzz1QtyTvkHQ).  Actually, the very harsh Ryan Plan, which still cannot balance the budget, but which is politically unpalatable for americans, highlights that tax rates will need to rise, as Wolf points out in that very insightful FT piece.

  • SADIE

    It’s like talking to a brick wall.  Very boring and not at all productive.
     
     
    So…why do you bother?

  • suek

    >>Suek wants an explanation on the budget.>>
     
    No, I asked you for an explanation of your statement.
     
    >>You cannot cut spending without raising taxes in order to close the deficit>>
     
    To put it another way, if you find yourself in debt, you can certainly reduce your expenses even if you don’t have a pay increase.  It would be nice for everyone to be able to simply expect that as they buy more “stuff”, and bigger houses that they could tell the boss and the boss would just increase their paycheck.  Trouble is, it doesn’t happen that way.
     
    My statement was that you can cut spending, whether the deficit is being closed or not.  You might have to raise taxes to close the deficit, but cutting spending is entirely independent of that action.
     
     

  • Charles Martel

    SADIE, I thought the same thing to myself. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, is he?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    If it is boring, A, you can just go away. It’s not like we’d miss you.

    You keep coming back, though. Why is that, exactly, A?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Suek, people like Z were told that if taxes were cut, the Left would implode due to lack of funds to pay off the bribed factions. That would result in societal and economic chaos. So Z has no choice but to tax more as he spends more.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The fact that A here doesn’t know any Americans that want a 40 or 90% reduced government… really says a lot about what kind of social circle A here is part of.

  • SADIE

    Why bother?

    My best guess is that the alphabet fellas are narcissists or possibly crave the attention they do not get in their personal or professional lives.  What I cannot abide by is the ‘holier than thou’ snide remarks that permeate abc’s comments. Note the escalation in tone below:
     
    “And even if the fellow conservatives here living in the same little fantasy bubble believe your claim without evidence versus mine with, you are still wrong”

    z- group is always polite, controlled and much more robotic.


    “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde

  • abc

    Sadie, nice Wilde quote.  I assume that applies to me.  Here’s another quote:  ignorance is bliss.  No wonder you’re happier when I am not highlighting the conservative misinformation.

    Suek writes:

    “My statement was that you can cut spending, whether the deficit is being closed or not.  You might have to raise taxes to close the deficit, but cutting spending is entirely independent of that action.”

    What is the point of cutting spending or raising taxes if not to close the deficit?  We have a huge budget problem, and you are pretending as though cutting spending or raising taxes has nothing to do with it.  This is a strange argument.  Most people look at the problem and conclude that one needs to cut spending AND raise taxes.  Obama’s administration is reported to be targetting one-third tax hikes and two-thirds spending cuts.  But the GOP wants only spending cuts, but this will require cutting programs that the vast majority of the country wants and would take tax hikes to support. So politically, it is non-starter to pursue what the GOP is pushing for.  Given that you are making these strange arguments, it’s now clear why they can do this.  When voters are this clueless it is easy to continue to big lie–that we can spend like Europe and tax like developing Asia.  Thanks for doing your part.  Grover Norqvist is elated.

  • SADIE

    Here’s another quote:  ignorance is bliss.
     
    Here’s mine: You must be the most blissful person on your block.

  • Charles Martel

    Can Martel call ‘em, or what? As I noted earlier today, abc is, like clockwork, in one of his Sneer States. These usually last two days.

  • SADIE

    I used to take Midol when I had PMS. Of course, in the stone age when I had PMS there were no computers. My sneering had an limited audience.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Sadie, I find A more amusing than Z, simply because Z is all too predictable. A actually has real emotions, which flare up based upon his personal profile. There’s something to be said for human melodrama as an observation-sport.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    What is the point of cutting spending or raising taxes if not to close the deficit?

    Democrat and Leftist power base will be eroded and destroyed if too many cuts are made in the federal budget. For it is the federal budget the Left uses to pay the bribes required to sustain Leftist operations on a national scale. You won’t be told about this secret in the onion layer, A, until you’ve been promoted at least 5 more ranks in the LEftist hierarchy. So don’t feel bad about being in the dark for now.

    Z’s emotions are also predictable. But I find they are tedious even when I observe their presence. Z’s emotions sound more like religious dogma. There’s fervent belief… somewhere around there, but their eyes don’t see the same reality that I see.

  • Charles Martel

    SADIE, speaking of sneers. . .

    abc’s fixed facial expression, the sneer, reminded me of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Schneerson. Years ago I came across a photograph of him, surrounded by his students and followers. He was faintly smiling and his face glowed. The men around him were portraits of exhiliration. His radiance had enfolded them and they were immersed in that warm moment. 

    It was such a wonderful photo to stumble upon. And remembering it now is a reminder of God’s gift to me that, even in the middle of unpleasantness, such as dealing with the abcs of the world, I know there is consoling beauty and grace.

  • Danny Lemieux

    ABC pouts, “Danny likes to take issue with my statements, but he provides no counter-evidence.  No wonder he only likes to post comments on conservative site where he doesn’t need to.  Everyone believes without evidence what he does, so no citation required.”
     
    ABC does not realize that Danny Lemieux’s response to statements equivalent to “water is dry”, “water runs up-hill” or “AGW is correct because Paul Krugman says so” is not to waste time looking for citations in rebuttal but rather to note simply the error of ABC’s false premises and wild leaps of logic (e.g., “nonsense!”), comfortable that the large majority of people who visit this blog (97%, in fact…a consensus!) get it.