June 29, 2011

" This general sleeps in a mansion, and lectures the soldiers because they want tents"

In an astonishingly well-written take down of Al Gore, Walter Russell Mead destroys any credibility Gore may have had.  A classic.

First he deals with his character, The Failure of Al Gore Part One

Gore has the Midas touch in reverse; objects of great value (Nobel prizes, Oscars) turn dull and leaden at his touch.  Few celebrity cause leaders have had more or better publicity than Gore has had for his climate advocacy.  Hailed by the world press, lionized by the entertainment community and the Global Assemblage of the Great and the Good as incarnated in the Nobel Peace Prize committee, he has nevertheless seen the movement he led flounder from one inglorious defeat to the next.  The most recent, failed global climate meeting passed almost unnoticed last week in Bonn; the world has turned its eyes away from the expiring anguish of the Copenhagen agenda.
--
But you cannot be a leading environmentalist who hopes to lead the general public into a long and difficult struggle for sacrifice and fundamental change if your own conduct is so flagrantly inconsistent with the green gospel you profess. If the heart of your message is that the peril of climate change is so imminent and so overwhelming that the entire political and social system of the world must change, now, you cannot fly on private jets. You cannot own multiple mansions. You cannot even become enormously rich investing in companies that will profit if the policies you advocate are put into place.
----
IBut 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.

Then Mead takes on the incoherent strategic vision of the Greens inThe Failure of Al Gore Part Two

Gore’s failures are not just about leadership. The strategic vision he crafted for the global green movement has comprehensively failed.  That is no accident; the entire green policy vision was so poorly conceived, so carelessly constructed, so unbalanced and so rife with contradictions that it could only thrive among activists and enthusiasts.  Once the political power of the climate movement, aided by an indulgent and largely unquestioning press, had pushed the climate agenda into the realm of serious politics, failure was inevitable.  The only question was whether the comprehensive green meltdown would occur before or after the movement achieved its core political goal of a comprehensive and binding global agreement on greenhouse gasses.
--
The global green treaty movement to outlaw climate change is the most egregious folly to seize the world’s imagination since the Kellog-Briand Pact outlawed war in the late 1920s.  The idea that the nations of the earth could agree on an enforceable treaty mandating deep cuts in their output of all greenhouse gasses is absurd.  A global treaty to meet Mr. Gore’s policy goals isn’t a treaty: the changes such a treaty requires are so broad and so sweeping that a GGCT is less a treaty than a constitution for global government.  Worse, it is a constitution for a global welfare state with trillions of dollars ultimately sent by the taxpayers of rich countries to governments (however feckless, inept, corrupt or tyrannical) in poor ones.
--
The dream that the menace of global warming will cause humanity to overcome its ancient divisions and unite in a grand global coalition is sophomoric.
Rising CO2 levels will not cause the world’s governments to accept and enforce international policing of the most intimate details of their economic lives.  If the menace of nuclear war can’t create world government, the menace of global warming won’t do it either.
--
The green movement’s core tactic is not to “hide the decline” or otherwise to cook the books of science.  Its core tactic to cloak a comically absurd, impossibly complex and obviously impractical political program in the authority of science.

One more part still to come.

Posted by Jill Fallon at June 29, 2011 12:20 AM | Permalink