Klimahysteriet i aftagende

Diverse — Drokles on August 31, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Rex Murphy ser i National Post Al Gore’s tendens til vredesudbrud, som et tegn på at klimakampen er løbet tør for gas

For those who have a wish to hear the grating sound of a man distempered and frustrated that the cause for which he has given at least a decade of his time, the “greatest moral challenge of our time,” is lost, I recommend listening to Al Gore as he was captured during an address at an Aspen global warming conference two weeks ago. It is a revelation.

Mr. Gore is not a happy Jeremiah. You hear him on the tape near rage, repeatedly shouting “bulls–t” over the arguments of his critics. He raves about conspiracy - a rebirth of the tactics of the dreaded tobacco industry of a few decades back. He blames “media manipulation” for the refusal of people to take up his gloomy summons. He hisses at “volcanoes and sunspots” as having much or anything to do with climate. “Bulls–!” he cries over and over - perhaps it’s the methane content that has him mesmerized with the word. Listen to this aria: “They pay pseudo-scientists to pretend to be scientists to put out the message: ‘This climate thing, it’s nonsense. Man-made CO2 doesn’t trap heat. It may be volcanoes.’ Bulls-t! ‘It may be sun spots.’ Bulls–t! ‘It’s not getting warmer.’ Bulls–t!”

Can a person win the Nobel Peace prize twice? I surely hope so, for this is the E=mc² moment of our green time.

It is not a pretty display. The question the sorry little rant calls up is whether, in its way, this temper fit was a signal that the great global warming crusade, that has had such a sweet run for the last decade or more, is finally over. Has it run, so to speak, out of gas?


…[O]ne can skip the globe and find almost everywhere that govern-ments, staring at the reality of recession and financial anxiety, have given up on their vague projections of green economics. Where is President Obama, who promised that on his accession “the rise of the oceans will start to slow and the planet begin to heal?” - surely the most fatuous declaration in the history of politics. Well, he appears to be giving speeches every second day, but none of them feature the retreating oceans or our healed planet.

In fact he’s been tooling around in a $2-million bus oblivious of the carbon costs, and there simply hasn’t been any signal that his White House is giving the great Gore crusade anything but the barest of rhetorical support. If there were any political value to ardent greensmanship, surely a President who is floundering on the economy and sinking in the polls would have grabbed that raft with a passion.

But there isn’t anymore.

Her sammenligner Al Gore i en god tone, klimaskeptikere, som i hans verden er benægtere, med racister.

Men Al Gore er også udtryk for andet end sin egen ubehagelige person og en klimakamp, der er i opløsning. Walter Russel Mead diagnosticerer i American Interest via Al Gore på fremragende vis en del af de snakkende klasser dragning mod enhver tids gode projekt.

The serial rise and fall of these vacuous civil society movements and the peculiar grip they exercise over the minds of some otherwise intelligent people is an important subject: why do so many people who want to help solve global problems waste so much time and money and, sometimes, do so much harm?  Is there some way to harness that energy and idealism to causes and strategies that might do more good?  What does the repeated rise and fall of clueless but well educated and well placed enthusiasts teach us about the state of our civilization and the human condition?  Are there ways we could nip these Malthusian panics and idealistic feeding frenzies in the bud?  Is there some way we could teach future generations to be a little smarter about politics and power so that the 21st century, which is going to have plenty of serious problems, might spend less time chasing mares’ nests?

More than that, the former vice president’s troubles don’t just reflect his personal ideas and limits.  Gore’s errors are exemplary: by studying where he goes wrong we can see how a substantial section of our ruling elite has lost its way.  Al Gore is steeped in the Blue Social Model that I’ve been posting about; his social imagination has been so molded by modern American progressivism and the liberalism of the late 20th century that he literally cannot conceive of solutions in any terms the conventional center-left wisdom doesn’t make room for.

The trouble and even the tragedy of Al Gore is that he comes at the tail end of this tradition; he is a living example of what you get when a worldview outlives its time.  He presses the old buttons and turns the old cranks, but the machine isn’t running any more.  The priests dance around the altar, the priestess chews the sacred herbs, but the god no longer speaks.  Like President Obama watching a universal healthcare program that he thought would secure his place in history turn into an electoral albatross and a policy meltdown, Al Gore thought that in the climate issue he had picked a winning horse.  Judging from his Rolling Stone essay he has no idea why the climate movement failed, and no clue at all about how he could re-think the issue.

“Climate of Denial,” Vice President Gore’s “Rolling Stone” essay is not, I am sorry to say, very useful as a guide to resuscitating the environmental movement.  It is largely reduced to the classic loser sandlot complaints: the other side didn’t play fair, they had bigger kids and the refs were biased.  Al Gore seems to want the climate movement to behave like the French Bourbons: to forget nothing in the way of grievances — and to learn nothing about how to do better next time.

But if “Climate of Denial” doesn’t teach us how environmentalists can have more success, it does help us understand what’s wrong with Mr. Gore.  The essay begins with one of his earliest childhood memories when young Master Gore (as southern boys from the better white families were then still addressed) was taken to a professional wrestling match at the Fork River Elementary School gym in Elmswood, Tennessee.

The boy was perplexed: the wrestlers seemed to be really fighting, but the whole thing somehow seemed scripted.  Worse, the referees weren’t doing their jobs.  When the bad guys hit the good guys with a metal chair, the referees were somehow not paying attention, but when, as Gore puts it, “the good guy — after absorbing more abuse and unfairness than any person could tolerate — committed the slightest infraction, the referee was all over him.”

For Gore, this is an eerily accurate representation of the current state of the climate debate and indeed of our society as a whole: the bad guys (Big Oil, coal companies, Republicans) commit all kinds of lies and infractions, and the crooked referee as played by the press only has eyes for the rare and venial slips of the good guys — the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri and of course the former vice president.

It is likely that Mr. Gore has no idea just how much this passage reveals about the limits of his social vision and political understanding.  For one thing, then and now Gore misses the point of professional wrestling as popular entertainment.  Among other things, professional wrestling works as a kind of folk satire — and well meaning progressives and professionals like Mr. Gore are among its targets.  The clownish referee represents exactly the well intentioned bumblers who seek to arbitrate and rationalize the endless competition between the good and the bad guys.  It is the way much of the working class looks at ivory tower intellectuals, nanny state do-gooders and what in Mark Twain’s day people could still call “the old women of both sexes” who fussed self-importantly around like New York Times editorial writers, levying moral judgments and thinking they were accomplishing something.

In other words, the referee in a professional wrestling match strikes a chord in popular culture in part because he is a representation of the class which sets itself up in our society as the arbiter and judge: the professional elite, the expert and the chattering classes.  The referee at a wrestling match is a populist portrait of the FCC, the NLRB, NPR, the New York Times editorial board and everyone else who does exactly what Al Gore would like to spend his whole life doing: judging mankind impartially and ruling them well.  The referee is part of the entertainment who is funny in part because he thinks he is above the fray.

Al Gore thinks of himself as a friend of the common man and a tribune of the people against the selfish and wicked elites (the bad wrestlers hitting the poor good guys with those horrid metal chairs); he wants to be an honest and competent referee in the wrestling match, bringing decorum and order and fairness to an anarchic sport.


Al Gore is not wrong to see that the media is changing into something that feels more like professional wrestling than like the hallowed network news broadcast in the Cronkite era.  The public at large increasingly sees journalists as entertainers rather than arbiters.  “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” play this for all it is worth and increasingly the myth of the objective journalist is yielding to the idea of the engaged party frankly promoting an agenda.  Mr. Gore may deplore this transition and yearn for the days when a handful of senior newsmen told the country what the news really was; millions of Americans don’t want to go back.  They don’t think Dan Rather can be trusted and they feel that a news show which has a clear and even entertaining bias is more interesting and perhaps even more honest than one which cloaks itself in pretentious but questionable claims to authority and objective truth.

The tradition of politics and public service that Gore knows and believes in — a powerful government run by well educated technocrats and gentlemen protecting the masses from dangers they do not understand and which they cannot overcome on their own — periodically comes under attack from Jacksonian populists.

The most common thing that people who do not like Al Gore’s politics say about him is that they find his speaking method “condescending”.  He often comes across like a middle school teacher trying to make a complicated point clear to his class.  He likes his students; he wishes them well — but he is the adult in the room, the honest referee at the wrestling match, and the kids need to do what they’re told.

Og den dynamik kunne man også beskrive i Danmark, blandt mondæne socialister og anstændige borgerlige af Radikalt tilsnit.

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