The Assault on The Assault on Reason (in reason)

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Al Gore's book tour is a success: He's attracting boisterous protests worthy of a presidential bid. From the right:

Not everyone at the event was a fan of the former vice president. Before the speech started, several members of Freedomworks.org protested Gore's endorsement of regulatory policies, as well as his own energy use.

"We're trying to highlight his hypocrisy in the size of his own carbon footprint, as opposed to other Americans," said Brendan Steinhauser, one of the protestors.

And from the Planet Ork:

Later, during the question and answer session, a follower of Lyndon LaRouche, a frequent but outsider candidate for the presidency, began yelling accusations at Gore before he was escorted away by security. Carla Cohen, the founder of Politics & Prose, a District bookstore, took a minute to respond to the protestor.

"I think that when you yell something like that, it's really an assault on reason," Cohen said.

For those of you who don't live in Washington, the LaRouche crowd swarms outside the Foggy Bottom/GWU metro stop from time to time, and they occasionally send a drone into an event like this.

Friend-of-Reason (and America) Robert Stacy McCain has another report, with more details:

At one point hecklers took over the event, shouting something about "hedge funds" and "genocide in Africa" at Gore as he attempted to take pre-screened questions.

Weak. Did the LaRouchies peak with their heckling of 2004 Nader running mate Peter Camejo? I quote:

"You put Gorgias to shame," he said. "Your sophism is what Plato documented to have destroyed Athens. It's these clever lies and manipulative psychological tricks that the Sophists used to destroy Athens—and you know what I'm talking about."

I want to hear how Gore'd react to that. Or Hillary, for that matter.  (I can guess: "As a mother, Gorgias was very important to me…")

NEXT: Give al Qaeda an Inch...

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  1. Following politics is more fun because of the LaRouchies. I once had one of them ask me if I wanted to “help save the world from the English faggots” as I walked home from class at GWU.

    They also run the best presidential ads. During the 2004 presidential debate, the first commercial break featured a Lieberman ad, a Gephardt ad, and then a LaRouche ad. It featured a shot of a mushroom cloud, and then a still photo of LaRouche with a voiceover, like that Star Trek episode. The tagline was – honest to God – “Vote LaRouche…or DIE!!!”

  2. Al Gore is the Democrat Dan Quail. The big difference is that Democrats pay attention to their Dan Quails.

  3. Potatoe is to Potato as Dan Quail is to Dan Quayle

  4. In a slap fest between Gore and LaRouch, the word ‘reason’ has no place in describing the discourse.

  5. Potatoe is to Potato as Dan Quail is to Dan Quayle

    Tru dat

  6. Conservatives play class war only slightly better than they play race cards.

    BTW, the permits for the tens of thousands of dollars worth of green retrofits Gore has been waiting for came through a couple weeks ago.

  7. What a crappy article from the “independent student newspaper.” They include the assinine criticism (“it’s really an assault on reason”) of the accusations, but not the accusations themselves. The Democrats and the writer of the article obviously think the accusations are stupid, but why not let the reader have the opportunity to judge the accusations?

  8. the best answer to the larouchies is you can’t look at their materials because you’re a huge fan of bertrand russell.

  9. I suppose you could thumb through the pamphlets while humming “God Save the Queen.”

  10. (1) If the best argument you can muster against Al Gore is that he is a hypocrite, then you’ve lost the argument already. Despite the emotional appeal, it’s not a quality argument. The Brendan Steinhauser’s of the world don’t say that Gore is wrong, just that he’s a dick. I’m not sure anybody disagrees with that. At least not anybody I wanna know. Doesn’t mean the guy is wrong in his crusade and it hides real criticisms of Gore’s use of hyperbole.

    (2) I’m not sure what the Quayle-Gore comparison is, but if the GOP doesn’t pay attention to its intellectual lightweights, what is George doing in the White House? I submit that the GOP not only pays attention to lightweights, they elect them regularly. In fairness to Guy, I don’t think I get the comparison he’s going for.

  11. I’m pretty sure Al Gore can come up with a definition of “wetlands” that goes beyond “lands that are wet.”

  12. “LaRoushe” sounds a little French to me.

  13. If Al Gore gave a shit about anyone but himself and believed even a word of what he said about global warming, he wouldn’t live in a 28,000 square foot house or whatever it is. He doesn’t believe any of it, but saying he does rescued him from political oblivion.

    What is really funny and pathetic is this whole “assault on reason” book. First, it is the classic “everyone who disagrees with me is just unreasonable and stupid” argument, which is nothing but question begging. Al Gore is just saying “I am right because I say I am”. But it is really more sinister than that. Al Gore is really arguing that the average person is too irrational to make decisions. Because of this, people should be guided by a Braham class of their betters who are acting on “reason”, which in Gore land means doing everything he and people like him say they should. It is the same crap that came out of the late 19th Century; the idea of a superior class of people who make decisions and run the lives of the inferior populace. Call that class, Aryan supermen, or revolutionary elite or experts, it is the same horrible idea.

  14. Lamar,

    The fact that Al Gore admitted that he shaded facts and exagerated the effects of global warming while making “An Inconvient Truth” and then writes a book decrying the assault on reason and facts is relevent. Sometimes the hypocrisy is so out of control that you just stop listening to someone. It is not so much that everything Al Gore says is wrong. It is that Al Gore is such a rediculous character that nothing he says right or wrong should be of any relevance. If you want to debate global warming, fine. It is just that whatever Al Gore has to say on the subject shouldn’t matter.

  15. Wow, John, you sure finished that book quickly.

  16. From your comment John,
    I can tell that your read Gore’s book.
    I am impressed that you would take the time given your feelings about the man.

    /;^)

  17. John,

    “Al Gore admitted that he shaded facts and exagerated the effects of global warming”

    Without a citation and a direct quote in context, I am afraid I am going to have to accuse you of shading facts on that one. So why should I listen to anything else you have to say?

  18. rediculous exagerated hiperbowlee

  19. John, I know you’ve had more substantive criticisms of Gore in the past, so I’ll let the “Gore’s a hypocrite” fluff go for now. You know it’s not a good argument, right? If a heroin addict is dying on your couch and says, “don’t do heroin,” are you going to tie-off and shoot up because the junkie is a hypocrite?

    On your second point, voters can be irrational. Given the propensity of too many Americans to elect a president based on whether they’d like to have a beer with him, I have to say that those people aren’t that bright. I can understand your worries about class and experts, but at some point the stupid schlocks who make up most of this country should realize that other people know things that they’ll never know. You would never argue about meiosis with a phd in bioengineering, but your “throw out the experts” rhetoric suggests the opposite. The problem with Al Gore is that he isn’t an expert. He’s a celebrity. This is more like arguing the fine points of meiosis with Nick Lachey.

  20. John,

    Criticisms of Al Gore’s exaggerations and distortions is fair game, but you have to admit that admitting to an exaggeration is simply NOT the definition of hypocrisy and that Al Gore’s personal energy usage has nothing to do with distorting facts.

  21. In case John has a different citation, I’ll get the common one out of the way…

    ” Q. There’s a lot of debate right now over the best way to communicate about global warming and get people motivated. Do you scare people or give them hope? What’s the right mix?

    Al Gore.I think the answer to that depends on where your audience’s head is. In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem.

    Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.”

    Now Gore’s phrase “an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is…” may be a clunky, but it doesn’t say what John seems to be accusing Gore of.

  22. That is taken from here
    http://www.deadfishwrapper.com/bradbury_spreads_global_warming_propaganda

    a site that also misconstrues the meaning of the quote.

  23. I “over-represent” myself all the time at the club. They aren’t lies. Don’t worry, it’s ok because those chicks are in Category 5 denial.

  24. Cab,

    was that “at the club” supposed to be “about the club?”

  25. Who knows….I’ve been married for 12 years, I’m just talking shit. Is it “about the club” nowdays?

  26. You wife would be the one to ask if you have been over-representing “the club” I suppose…

  27. “You” = “your” in that last post.

  28. I have her in Category 5 denial.

  29. “Reason” and “Gore”; two words that don’t seem to belong together.

  30. BTW, the permits for the tens of thousands of dollars worth of green retrofits Gore has been waiting for came through a couple weeks ago.

    Just admit it joe, you will do anything to defend Gore, because you are a democrat lackie. You are against the Iraq war, supposedly, but you will vote for a Democrat who supports the Iraq war because you can always justify voting Democrat in your head. You know that Al Gore is only buying those enviornmental retrofits now, because he got called out so horribly about his hipocracy (and even with the retrofits, his carbon footprint is far greater than the rest of us)… you are willing to forgive him and say it is unemportant or irrelevant, because he is a Democrat and you will forgive him for just about anything.

    However, I know many greenie leftists who DESPISE Al Gore with a passion, who think that he is a total hippocrite, that he is exploiting enviornmental issues for political gain, etc. The knee jerk “Democrats can never do any wrong” crowd still love him, but if he actually tries to run for president, that shit is going to bit him in the ass. There are plenty of enviornmentalists and leftists who are not Democrat lackies, and aren’t going to vote for Gore no matter what his blind supporters suggest.

  31. I am a hippocrite.

  32. Rex,

    Just admit it, you will do anything to attack Al Gore.

    There, we’re even.

    Do you have any point, beyond “joez bad, mmm-kay?”

  33. My LaRouchie Story

    by highnumber

    They (used to?) come to State Street every year carrying signs the day after Christmas. (I Chicago State Street has the shops with the crazy decorated windows for Christmas.) They carried anti-immigration signs with way too much text on them. I stopped to read one guy’s sign, finished it, looked him in the eye, and said, “F**k you.” He looked back at me and said in a measured tone, “F**k you, too.”
    The end.

  34. Rex Rhino gets the scoop.

    AL GORE is running for president!!!!
    But can he beat Newt Gingrich?

    Gore will use his large carbon footprint to stomp all over Newt…

    So Gore claims that political dialogue in this country has been come so contentious as to lack any real content…

    This thread sure proves him wrong.

  35. joe, you just don’t get it:

    People hate being lectured by someone who is obviously not practicing what he preaches.

    Gore can yammer on all he wants about green retrofitting and carbon offsets, but the bottom line is, he is a wealthy man living a wealthy lifestyle, telling everyone else they have to make some pretty serious sacrifices. It just ain’t gonna sell. People may be irrational, but they’re not stupid.

  36. Just admit it, you will do anything to attack Al Gore.

    No… If Al Gore promised to end the war on drugs, abolish the IRS, and massively reduce the size of government, then I would vote for Gore in a second.

    The thing is, if Al Gore promised to end the war on drugs, abolish the IRS, and massively reduce the size of government, you would vote for him too, so long as he was running as a Democrat.

    In the same way I despise the Republicans, but I would vote for Ron Paul, I would have no trouble supporting a libertarian running as a Democrat. And if the Libertarians ran a candidate that was a sell-out, I would have no problem voting against the Libertarian candidate.

    I don’t have the blind, us-vs-them Democrat-vs-Republican mindset that you do. I am not caught up in some political football game, so I can vote my conscience. You can’t, because you are too afraid of the Republican winning.

  37. Now Gore’s phrase “an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is…” may be a clunky, but it doesn’t say what John seems to be accusing Gore of.

    I think its weaselese for “I am willing to lie for the Greater Good.” And as a highly paid professional weasel, I know quality weaselese when I see it.

  38. RC,

    How much have you spent on reducing your home’s energy consumption?

    I didn’t think so.

    Stop lecturing me.

  39. “he is a wealthy man living a wealthy lifestyle, telling everyone else they have to make some pretty serious sacrifices”

    And the part where he says wealthy people shouldn’t live wealthy lifestyles is, where, exactly?

    The part where he – the guy who spendsd thousands of dollars every year to reduce his carbon footprint and subsidize green energy – refuses to make sacrifices is where, exactly?

    Assigning beliefs that Al Gore doesn’t endorse to him, and then noting that he doesn’t live by those beliefs, is not a valid foundation for accusing him of hypocrisy.

  40. “Conservatives play class war only slightly better than they play race cards. BTW, the permits for the tens of thousands of dollars worth of green retrofits Gore has been waiting for came through a couple weeks ago.”

    It’s mildly amusing to see the would-be egalitarian Gore buying his way out of an energy frivolous lifestyle while encouraging those who can’t to make substantial sacrifice. Well, not really.

  41. “People hate being lectured by someone who is obviously not practicing what he preaches.”

    People don’t want to listen to anything that might change their cushy lifestyle. You find any leader, anywhere, and we could have a solid case for hypocrisy in less than 20 minutes. Is there anything Gore has done that you think is an A-1, classy move? If not, I submit that you have merely supplanted the “blind, us-vs-them Democrat-vs-Republican mindset” with a blindness of personal hatred or disapproval towards certain political figures. If you base your disdain of politicians based on hypocrisy, that is an irrational base.

  42. Rex Rhino,

    “The thing is, if Al Gore promised to end the war on drugs, abolish the IRS, and massively reduce the size of government, you would vote for him too, so long as he was running as a Democrat.”

    No, I would not vote for a candidate who promised to implement reforms I didn’t believe in. I tend to vote for Democrats, because I tend to agree with the Democratic candidates positions.

    Nice job simplistically assuming that you’re opponent’s core beliefs can be determined by postulating the polar opposite of your own. I oppose the war on drugs; Al Gore DID reduce the size of the government as VP; and I don’t care one way or the other about the IRS.

  43. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.

    I think this is a dangerous assumption. When folks find out the case was overstated they will likely be inclined to ignore everything else the man says. Even the tin-eared ONDCP understands the danger of such a thing. They’ve caught on that folks were ignoring the entirety of their message due to the exaggeration of the dangers of MJ. So, now they are backtracking to try and gain some credibility with regards to honest to god dangerous drugs. I think the hysterical enviros are creating a similar credibility gap.

  44. See, pigwiggle, that was just lame. If you’re going to delve into class warfare, you have to come up with a way that the rich guy is 1) being selfish and 2) doing so in a way that hurts poorer people.

    Mentioning that he is spending money on projects that further the public good fails both parts of that. Spending his own money to make his home more green is “buying his way out of” environmental responsibility? No, it’s putting his money where his mouth is, and helping other people at his own expense.

    My God, how DARE a rich person spend their money in a manner that advances their stated beliefs?!? What’s next, paying out of his own pocket to make the next generation of green power come about sooner? Oh, wait, he’s doing that too.

    Damn rich people, with their spending money on what they want, and stuff! And this Gore guy, spending his money on solving a problem that he could easily use his money to avoid! The nerve of that guy.

  45. “I think its weaselese for “I am willing to lie for the Greater Good.” And as a highly paid professional weasel, I know quality weaselese when I see it.”

    So as a weasel of note gave us this translation, we should take what you say as a lie and read this to mean whatever he meant he absolutely didn’t mean “I am willing to lie for the Greater Good.”

    So, if I get all the twists right on this, then we agree that Gore didn’t say he was willing to lie in the above cited quote.

  46. PigW,

    You are falling into the same trap.
    That is not what Gore is saying.

    He says given two types of presentations:
    1) Those that provide factual information about why it is a problem, and
    2) those that provide solutions,

    we need to have more (i.e. over-representation) of the first type before we can get people to listen to the second.

    For a review of the movie that looks at its accuracy, go here
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=299

  47. Spending his own money to make his home more green is “buying his way out of” environmental responsibility? No, it’s putting his money where his mouth is, and helping other people at his own expense.

    Yeah, now he does all this. I suspect had his hand not been caught in the cookie jar, he’d be telling Tipper to put on a sweater if she’s cold and no, he won’t turn down the A/C.

    Good cripes joe. Just be careful not to knock over the lamps and tables if you’re going to flail around that much.

  48. “Do you scare people or give them hope? What’s the right mix?”

    In other words, what should the ration be between “scary” information about the scope of the problem and “hopeful” information about how it can be solved?

    Gore’s answer was: Go more heavily on the former, so they will listen to the latter. He even says that the “overrepresented” presentation about the scope of the problem needs to be “factual.”

  49. Spending his own money to make his home more green is “buying his way out of” environmental responsibility? No, it’s putting his money where his mouth is, and helping other people at his own expense.

    Really, I don’t care what he does. It’s his money, and he can burn all the incandescent lights in his McMansion 24-7 if he pleases. But it is hypocritical for him to live such a lavish lifestyle, albeit one with nominally reduced energy consumption, while asking others to make real sacrifices. That is, given his proclivity for hand wringing about the working poor, and so forth. For what it’s worth, I support the mindset betrayed by his actions. Everyone should pay in proportion to their energy consumption, and not their means.

  50. “I suspect had his hand not been caught in the cookie jar, he’d be telling Tipper to put on a sweater if she’s cold and no, he won’t turn down the A/C.”

    I imagine you “suspect” a lot of things.

    Back in the real world, Gore had already applied for the permits to install solar panels on his roof and do other work on his home, and was already paying out of his own pocket to subsidize green energy projects, when the “Gore’s big house” story broke.

  51. So,

    Given that the topic of Gore’s book, and the original post was the nature of political discussions in the country, what have we learned with this thread…

    1) The messenger is more important than the message
    2) If you keep your opponents responding to false accusations they won’t be able to address the real issues.
    3) Once false accusations have been shown to be false, repeat them.
    4) rinse and repeat.

  52. I imagine you “suspect” a lot of things.

    Gosh, I suspect that a wealthy man will live a wealthy lifestyle and I get called out on that? Go figure.

    I’m just trying to figure out why a smart guy like you idolizes a politician.

  53. Gore’s answer was: Go more heavily on the former, so they will listen to the latter. He even says that the “overrepresented” presentation about the scope of the problem needs to be “factual.”

    I see. It sounded to me like he was trying to answer some of the criticism about his exaggerations, the 20ft sea rise for example.

  54. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.

    Pick any political goal; pick any politician; this is the means of getting legislation passed.

  55. “Gosh, I suspect that a wealthy man will live a wealthy lifestyle and I get called out on that?”

    No, you suspect that “now he does all this. I suspect had his hand not been caught in the cookie jar, he’d be telling Tipper to put on a sweater if she’s cold and no, he won’t turn down the A/C.”

    which is false. Nice dancing there, though. It totally isn’t obvious that you changed your argument when called on it.

    “I’m just trying to figure out why a smart guy like you idolizes a politician.” I don’t have my dictionary at my fingertips right now, but I’m pretty sure that “idolize” is not defined as “failure to join a braying lynch mob.”

  56. “It sounded to me like he was trying to answer some of the criticism about his exaggerations, the 20ft sea rise for example.”

    A lot less than 20 feet will do a hell of a lot of damage.

  57. Pigw,

    “I see. It sounded to me like he was trying to answer some of the criticism about his exaggerations, the 20ft sea rise for example.”

    Lamar,
    Less than 20 feet will do damage, but that doesn’t address the charge.

    PigW,
    Gore gave qualification to his claim…If the antartic or Greeland iceshelf melted or went into the sea we would see 20 foot changes… which is close enough to accurate.

    He did not provide a time frame, which is an error, in my view, in the way he presented it.

    His claim is not an exaggeration as much as a vague example of the worst case presented out of context.

  58. Nice dancing there, though. It totally isn’t obvious that you changed your argument when called on it.

    No joe, no dancing. He’s a wealthy and powerful politician. ‘Nuf said on the dominance of the ethics and honesty gene in that pool.

    What did I change? Like most non-“little” people, he planned on business as usual until he got caught looking even less believable than usual, all the while scolding everyone else about their wasteful ways and telling them how they need to pony up on the sacrificin’.

    Maybe she should have put those permit applications in a bit sooner if his demagoguing schedule was so full. You know how slow and inefficient those beauracracies can be, eh?

    Gore is a corpulent tool and should be ignored at all times. I just don’t subscribe the to the “our bastard” means testing for chosing a flag bearer. YMMV.

  59. Carrick,

    “Pick any political goal; pick any politician; this is the means of getting legislation passed.”

    Very true.
    It is even the case that libertarians use the same technique to argue against government programs.

    It is a good technique.

  60. JW,

    “What did I change?”

    Sigh. First you asserted that Gore only did these things – spending big money on retrofitting his home, subsidizing green energy projects – in response to the stories about his house. Then, when I pointed out the facts to you, you prtended that your agrument was “a wealthy man lives a wealthy lifestyle.”

    “he planned on business as usual until he got caught looking even less believable than usual”

    Factually incorrect – he started the process before the story, not after, as you asserted.

    “Gore is a corpulent tool and should be ignored at all times. I just don’t subscribe the to the “our bastard” means testing for chosing a flag bearer.” No, you subscribe to the “he’s not our sort of people, dear” means. Nice fat joke, asshole.

  61. “His claim is not an exaggeration as much as a vague example of the worst case presented out of context”

    Leaving the impression that the worst case is a real possibilty that could happen in people’s lifetimes. If that does not qualify as an “exageration” then nothing does.

    The point is not what you think about global warming. The point is that Al Gore is a know nothing political opportunist who has nothing intelligent or relevent to say about the subject. It is not that we should ignore global warming. The point is that regardless of what we do or do not do about global warming, we should ignore Al Gore.

    Lamar,

    Yes voters can be irrational, because people can be irrational. Experts being people are not immune from that irrationality. At least with the Democratic process, the various irrationalities of people can cancel out. The worst thing that can happen is for one person to have all of the power. As far as not arguing with someone with a PHD, well those PHD’s thought eugenics and forced sterilization were a great thing not 100 years ago. Experts enforcing their view of utopia on the masses have been the source of a lot more death and immorality in history than the irrational masses ever have been. Thank you but I will take my chances with the masses long before I will experts run things.

  62. joe…forget it…I shouldn’t have to explain it any more; it’s just not that complicated. If you didn’t get it the first time, that’s not my problem.

    Factually incorrect – he started the process before the story, not after, as you asserted.

    You’re selling, but I’m not buying. Maybe he’s overpresenting the permit timeline.

  63. A lot less than 20 feet will do a hell of a lot of damage.

    Maybe, and maybe not. 20 feet over two millennia would hardly be noticed, 20 feet in a century would be potentially catastrophic. We don’t have a firm grasp of how fast or how glaciers melt. By the by, anyone notice the ~foot rise over the last century?

    He did not provide a time frame, which is an error, in my view, in the way he presented it. His claim is not an exaggeration as much as a vague example of the worst case presented out of context.

    He’s not a scientist, so perhaps we’ll give him a pass on that. If I were to do that in a presentation to colleagues or laymen, I would certainly (and rightly so) get the business. A more cynical person than myself might think it was intentional, given his passion and the perceived gravity.

  64. John

    “The point is that Al Gore is a know nothing political opportunist who has nothing intelligent or relevent to say about the subject.”

    Ah, now we get some substance.
    Thank you.

    I think you conflate two things here.
    Gore is a political opportunist. Agreed.
    That does not make him a “know nothing” with nothing to say on the topic.

    He is, for a political opportunist, fairly well informed on the topic and has stuck to many of the most relevant issues in his campaign.

    “Leaving the impression that the worst case is a real possibilty that could happen in people’s lifetimes. If that does not qualify as an “exageration” then nothing does.”

    You added the “people’s lifetimes” part yourself. As for “a real possibility” – it is within a short time frame. 200 years or so is not that long a time frame when discussing these issues. That’s road-runner-fast in terms of geology.

  65. John, I appreciate your views, but experts already run the place. It is only our culture that abhors intelligence.

  66. Damn, you wonder why people like joe love Al Gore so much? I mean, there are people like Ralph Nadar who actually live a green lifestyle instead of living a super-CO2 producing lifestyle that they buy themselves out of with some bullshit carbon credit scheme. As much as I dislike Ralph Nadar, that guy isn’t some rich elite not willing to make sacrifices… that guy walks the walk. I dislike his politics, but he in no-way-shape or form is a self-out, or a hippocrite.

    The real reason is, of course, that people want royalty. They want a king. They want a god-king in fact. If Al Gore didn’t have 20 McMansions around the U.S., didn’t have a fleet of BMW limos to drive him around, didn’t fly in private jets, and live an opulent lifestyle, he would lose some of the grandeur required to generate awe and subservience.

    If Al Gore actually lived like us poor saps, if he didn’t consume far more resources than every Reason Hit & Run commentor combined, he wouldn’t be proper royalty. If he practiced what he preached, he would lose the respect of his followers, who are looking for a grand figure to worship.

    Fortunatly, while his supporters are looking for a God-King, and can’t imagine why anyone could possible have a problem with that great and almighty Al Gore… He is going to alienate a lot of people towards the global warming hysteria – While global warming is a problem, so it his totalitarian solutions for global warming – So it is for the best that arrogant any hippocritical people like Gore exists. He is the perfect embodyment of how global warming hysteria is being used as a pretense to power.

  67. Pigw,

    “He’s not a scientist, so perhaps we’ll give him a pass on that.”

    That’s sorta where I fall on the errors in his film/book. But, on the whole, it stays closer to the science than most of what I have seen on the topic in the mainstream media.

    Given the sad state of science reporting getting it even close to right is refreshing.

  68. RexRhino: How does a politician’s earnestness make his policies better or worse? It just doesn’t add up. Screw Nader. I don’t care if he lives in a tent, he’s a terrible politician. I realize you hate Gore because he has been successful in getting his message out. Instead of attacking that message, you attack the much more easy and corpulent target, the man himself.

  69. Lamar/RexR,

    I think this sums up nicely

    “In the end, though, none of this matters. This kind of ad hominem back and forth is exactly what Gore’s well-paid conservative attackers want. They want to drag the debate down to this level. It muddies the waters and causes the public to tune out.

    The fact is, Al Gore is not perfect, environmentally or any other way. He does not claim otherwise.

    Nobody is perfect on climate issues. Why? Because our political and cultural system makes it extraordinarily difficult. That’s the issue: changing the system to make it easier to act in environmentally benign ways, and harder not to. That means pushing our leaders — from the neighborhood level all the way up to the federal level — to change public policy. It means pushing them to partner with business leaders to make eco-friendly products, power, homes, and transportation options more easily and readily available. It means pushing them to take a stand, to marshal the American people behind the grand historical quest to put our society on a sustainable path. It means pushing them to lead.

    As I’ve argued again and again and again and again and again and again, the lifestyle choices of any given individual are beside the point. Those who try and fail to be righteous are better than those who are unapologetically wicked. Those who speak the truth and fail to fully live by it are better than those who speak lies. ”

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/8/17/133652/848

  70. “Pick any political goal; pick any politician; this is the means of getting legislation passed.”

    Very true.
    It is even the case that libertarians use the same technique to argue against government programs.
    It is a good technique.

    Standard operating procedure in advertising, most business meetings, and pretty much every political dicussion.

    I need to get your attention before I can sell my idea!

    Just sad to see it in an Oscar-winning “documentary”.

  71. “By the by, anyone notice the ~foot rise over the last century?”

    It’s certainly been noticed in Bangladesh and various islands in the Pacific.

  72. Rex,

    If I was a denialist, I’d be retreating to ad homenims and psychobabble, too.

  73. Weigel,

    “You put Gorgias to shame,” he said. “Your sophism is what Plato documented to have destroyed Athens. It’s these clever lies and manipulative psychological tricks that the Sophists used to destroy Athens-and you know what I’m talking about.”

    I’m wondering if I should start defending the Sophists now. As a preliminary I will note that Plato on a number of occassions significantly misrepresented the views of the “schools” that he argued against.

  74. If I was a denialist, I’d be retreating to ad homenims and psychobabble, too.

    First off, by using the term “denialist”, you are making ad homenim attacks as well… the obvious implication you are trying to make is that if you deny global warming, you are denying the holocaust. If you don’t like Al Gore, you must hate the Jews.

    Second of all, I believe in global warming. In fact, I have made quite drastic lifestyle choices to reduce my carbon footprint… I live in an urban area and only accept jobs that I can walk or use mass-transit to get to. I walk most places. I live in an energy managed building. I eat a vegetarian diet to minimize land usage. And needless to say I do all the small crap like replace my bulbs with CF bulbs, use an energy saving laptop computer for my desktop. My carbon footprint is at least half that of the typical North American, but probably much less.

    So I don’t need power-hungry politicans like Al Gore, or his subservient worshipful lackeys such as yourself, to lecture me. You and Al Gore could care less about the enviornment: you are simply using the enviornment as an excuse to support a vicious totalitarian police-state, while you will continue to do everything to destroy the planet.

    Al Gore supports a wasteful, centrally planned, economy, which will destroy the planet at a rate that modern free markets never could. The real denialists are people such as yourself who are so caught up in a cult of personality that you are willing to imagine away the obvious truth of your own plans to destroy the enviornment.

  75. By the by, anyone notice the ~foot rise over the last century?

    As measured by the tidal benchmark at Port Arthur sea level is about a centimeter or so lower than is was in the 19th century in southern Tasmania.

    I would be curious to see a citation of this ~foot rise. I saw no evidence of it with respect to tidal benchmarks in the Florida Keys in the late 70s. Those were set in the 30s and 40s.

    It’s certainly been noticed in Bangladesh and various islands in the Pacific.

    It has?

    Bangladesh has always been low and like South Florida has always been susceptible to tropical cyclones.

    Like South Florida it’s major problems have been due to population growth. If they were as wealthy as South Floridians they would be just as able to withstand cyclones with the same low death tolls.

    Likewise with the Pacific islands.

  76. By the way, I ain’t saying it isn’t so, It’s just that most references I hear are to sea level rise in the future.

    Both the locations I referred to have very small tides incidentally, so a rise in sea level would show up more than in many other places.

    It’s also possible, even probable, though, that sea level might rise some places and lower in others.

    I am not quite sure how meaningful many of thes numbers being thrown around really are.

  77. Rex–Very good post, it nicely sums up things I’ve been trying to say for a while without the same clarity. Besides, a good smackdown is what we all come here to see.

    subservient worshipful lackeys

    Otherwise known as fetishists.

  78. I would be curious to see a citation of this ~foot rise

    the references therein

  79. “the obvious implication you are trying to make is that if you deny global warming, you are denying the holocaust. If you don’t like Al Gore, you must hate the Jews.”

    Holy Gobsmacking Chain of Illogic, Batman! I used the term “denialist,” because it combines “denial” (what the people do) with “-ism” (an ideology). The term refers to people with an ideological predisposition to denying global warming. That’s quite a little walkabout you went on there, though. Jews, yeah, that’s it.

    “You and Al Gore could care less about the enviornment: you are simply using the enviornment as an excuse to support a vicious totalitarian police-state,”

    Uh, yeah, and we’re UNDER YOUR BED! No way anyone who votes differently from you could have honest motives, or believe in civil rights. Nah, supporting a public-sector response to global warming can only possibly be understood as a Trojan Horse for my efforts to become the next Beria.

    “…while you will continue to do everything to destroy the planet.” EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING!

    “your own plans to destroy the enviornment.” Where’s my cynaide emitter? Bwah hah hah hah hah haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!

    Look, can I just take one of your mimeographed sheets, and read it while I walk from the train station to my office?

  80. Al Gore–“We have a problem that we need to address. The problem is grave but we have conquered problems like this before. We need to use new technology and innovation.”

    Right wing–“AHGHGHGHGH!!!!! He’s going to take away our cars!!!!!!!!!!”

    Al Gore–“No, I’m saying we need better cars that address energy and environmental concers.”

    Ring wing–“OWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!! He’s telling me how to live! Typical socialist!”

    Al Gore–“I’m advising policy here. I’m not saying individuals shouldn’t use energy. That would be unrealistic. I use energy myself but there are ways to do so that I think lead to better solutions and I wish our policymakers and corporate CEO’s would give them more immediate consideration.”

    Right wing–“YIPES!!!!!!!! Look…he has a big house and uses energy. HYPOCRITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Al Gore–(sigh)

  81. Thanks, pigwiggle.

    Another source I find did in fact give a range of 10-25 cm (4-10″)

    Wikipedia says about 20 cm (8″).

    Ok, that’s about a foot. 🙂

    Not sure how much parking the Jimmy’s gonna help. Doing something about how people build in coastal zones might be worth looking into though.

    Oh, and how much should go to coastal development in the way of direct and indirect subsidies too.

  82. By the way, David, this was one of the best H&R posts in quite a while. The “As a mother…” bit was particularly chortleworthy.

  83. Looks like some Environmentally Concerned folk here need some carbon credits. Well, the Montag Carbon Credit Card Program has plenty of credit to sell!

    Step right up folks.

  84. Look, can’t we just all agree that Al Gore is a hypocritical, self-admitted liar who is trying to advance his big-government statist agenda by pandering to a whackjob theory — that the earth is growing warmer almost entirely due to human-emitted greenhouse gases and not normal climatic cycles that can be curtailed by unilateral draconian government regulation and intervention that ignores the fastest-growing economies like China and India, and that there won’t be any unintended consequences to such intervention?

    Now, was that so hard?

  85. “Look, can’t we just all agree that Al Gore is a hypocritical, self-admitted liar who is trying to advance his big-government statist agenda by pandering to a whackjob theory — that the earth is growing warmer almost entirely due to human-emitted greenhouse gases and not normal climatic cycles that can be curtailed by unilateral draconian government regulation and intervention that ignores the fastest-growing economies like China and India, and that there won’t be any unintended consequences to such intervention?”

    Sure, just as soon as we can agree that you are more informed than 99.9 percent of the world’s scientists.

  86. Look, can’t we just all agree that the GOP is suddenly running as fast as they can from the fruits of their last 40-or-so years of “labor?”

    When it becomes patently obvious that the corporate greedheads who’ve funded their wallow at the political trough pollute so wantonly that it actually begins to have a measurable, obvious-to-any-sentient-being affect upon the climate we share?

    You’d run too, wouldn’t you?

    Can’t we just agree that calling paying attention to our impact on the climate a “whackjob theory,” or even better, “a wasteful, centrally planned, economy, which will destroy the planet at a rate that modern free markets never could” is just the pathetic death throes of a party and a philosophy as dead as the KnowNothings?

    Short version = GOP, your 15 minutes are up. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

    Now, was that so hard?

  87. Dave said: “Sure, just as soon as we can agree that you are more informed than 99.9 percent of the world’s scientists.”

    Ummm, the latter part of my statement concerned economics and politics, not climate science. But I take it you disagree with the U.S. Senators who voted down the Kyoto treaty by 95-0 or so because even the most collectivist of them — including Senator Gore — couldn’t bring themselves to vote in favor of destroying our economy and moving those jobs to unregulated countries like China?

    cazart said: “When it becomes patently obvious that the corporate greedheads who’ve funded their wallow at the political trough pollute so wantonly that it actually begins to have a measurable, obvious-to-any-sentient-being affect upon the climate we share?”

    Can’t we all agree that people who use the phrases “corporate greedheads” are probably not libertarians? Can’t we further agree that if they label climate scientists who’ve published in peer reviewed journals, or anyone else who regards the statist PC notion du jour as perhaps a wee bit questionable in at least some of its particulars, as “non-sentient-beings”, that perhaps they define “non-sentient” as “anyone who doesn’t think exactly like me”?

  88. 100% of scientists, Dave. 100%.

    😉

  89. Sorry dude, but we’d be in fine shape under Kyoto. A decade of lots more alternative energy investment in this country, not abroad. And your nightmare scenario of jobs outsourcing to China (and India) already happened all by its free market self without any help from Kyoto.

    So now…

    “Ummm, the latter part of my statement concerned economics and politics, not climate science.”

    That’s your excuse for ignoring a debate on the first part? It’s pretty simple:

    99.99% of scientists disagree with your assessment that warming is due to “normal climatic cycles.” Why should I believe you instead 99.99% of scientists?

    And please don’t refer me to a website. Just give a couple of facts that would cause 99.99% of the world’s scientists to change their minds.

  90. “But I take it you disagree with the U.S. Senators who voted down the Kyoto treaty by 95-0 or so because even the most collectivist of them — including Senator Gore”

    Gore was veep when Kyoto was negotiated, not a senator. Also, Kyoto was never submitted for ratification, so it was never voted up or down–a “sense of the Senate” resolution is what you’re talking about.

    Don’t let facts get in the way of your rant, however.

  91. Dave says: “Sorry dude, but we’d be in fine shape under Kyoto.”

    Ummm, so why did it get defeated unanimously in the U.S. Senate, with even Al Gore not voting in favor of it?

    Then Dave says: “That’s your excuse for ignoring a debate on the first part? It’s pretty simple:

    99.99% of scientists disagree with your assessment that warming is due to “normal climatic cycles.” Why should I believe you instead 99.99% of scientists?

    And please don’t refer me to a website. Just give a couple of facts that would cause 99.99% of the world’s scientists to change their minds.”

    Some facts:

    First, the dissenters among scientists are not 1 out of every 10,000 scientists. You pulled that 99.99% figure out of your arse.

    Second, the climate change report that recently came out placed an 80% confidence level on their main thesis — so the Human-Induced Global Warming theory is not of the same order of certainty as, say, the Theory of Gravity or the Theory of Evolution.

    Third, as recently as the 70’s, climate scientists were fretting over a new ice age, including many of the scientists you include in that bogus 99.99% figure.

    Fourth, even if, for the sake of argument, we stipulated that what a majority of climate scientists claim were completely true in all its particulars, it doesn’t follow that a socialist takeover of government via control of industry will work, or even not fail spectacularly like pretty much every other attempt to impose socialism. The global warming argument I outlined has to be true in every single particular, otherwise what Al Gore is proposing is a bad idea.

    Fifth, the planet Mars is also warming and losing its ice cap. The only common factor between Mars and Earth is that they are warmed by the same sun.

    Sixth, if you polled climate scientists with this question, “What percent of climate change do you attribute to human-induced carbon dioxide releases versus all other causes, including natural climate fluctuations, methane gas releases by cattle, paving of roads, etc., you would get answers all over the map. Answering this question would require accurate computer climate models that, when run backwards, predict the Little Ice Age, the Medieval Warm Period, and every other significant historical climate change. And no scientist currently has a computer climate model that can do this. If you don’t know what are natural fluctuations, then you don’t know what percent of changes observed are due to human influences.

    I could go on and on, but if you feel with absolute certainty — OK, 99.99% certainty — that the socialist economic and political regime that Al Gore wants to implement will work and not have unintended consequences that would be objectionable to libertarians and pretty much everyone else, you’re talking about a religion, not science.

  92. It’s late and no time to respond to all now but one thing… I’m sure you’re getting 80% from somewhere, but the most recent IPCC Fourth Assessment Report reads:

    “The world’s leading climate scientists said global warming has begun, is very likely caused by man, and will be unstoppable for centuries…”

    “The phrase very likely translates to a more than 90 percent certainty that global warming is caused by man’s burning of fossil fuels.”

    “That was the strongest conclusion to date, making it nearly impossible to say natural forces are to blame.”

    By the way, are you really doubting even it were 80%?

  93. “Ummm, so why did it get defeated unanimously in the U.S. Senate, with even Al Gore not voting in favor of it?”

    Jesus, how many goddamn times does this need to be said? Al Gore was not a senator when Kyoto was being negotiated in 1997. He was elected vice president in 1992, remember? In fact, Gore symbolically signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998. Please stop repeating nonsense.

    And it was not “defeated.” Clinton never submitted it for ratification.

    By the way, if you don’t like Gore’s “socialist economic and political regime” (he’s in favor of workers controlling the means of production?), I’d love to see your reaction to what we will have to do in the future if we don’t do anything now.

  94. Dave says: “It’s late and no time to respond to all now but one thing… I’m sure you’re getting 80% from somewhere, but the most recent IPCC Fourth Assessment Report reads:

    “The world’s leading climate scientists said global warming has begun, is very likely caused by man, and will be unstoppable for centuries…”

    “The phrase very likely translates to a more than 90 percent certainty that global warming is caused by man’s burning of fossil fuels.”

    It was 90% at one point, then they changed it to 80% certainty. Maybe they changed it back again to 90% — dunno. Gee, it someone said it was “very likely” that a gun was unloaded, that in fact they were 80% certain it was unloaded, and after a few minutes of reflection they said no, let’s say they were 90% sure it was unloaded — would you play Russian roulette with that gun if they offered you $10,000? I sure wouldn’t.

    Then Davc says: “By the way, are you really doubting even it were 80%?”

    80% certainty means they think there’s one chance in five they’re wrong. 80% certainty is, in courtroom terminology, “reasonable doubt”, and cause for acquittal.

    I don’t know how old you are. Perhaps you have no institutional memory of the 70s, when the consensus among climate scientists was that another ice age was imminent. I remember visiting Mt. Rainier in the 80s and 90s, when they had a big government sign up showing how the glacier you were looking at had grown, and how it was an indication of a coming ice age. That sign is now gone, but I guess the replacement global warming sign is on back order.

    Brooklynite says : “The Kyoto Protocol was not “defeated.” Clinton never submitted it for ratification.

    Will you quit nitpicking and admit the obvious: a 95-0 vote against the protocol means that not a single U.S. Senator of either party agreed with it, and that Clinton wasn’t going to submit for ratification a treaty that was unanimously opposed, and that maybe, just maybe, when a partisan body that can’t hardly agree on anything unanimously agrees that a treaty is bad news, that there’s a remote, tiny possibility that it does in fact suck? And yeah, Al Gore didn’t vote on it because he was Vice President — my bad. Doesn’t change the big picture that Kyoto sucks.

    Did I mention that Kyoto sucks? If not, my bad.

    And if we don’t, in a blind panic, immediately let the statist politicians dictate what cars we can drive, if any, and how much energy we can use, and how that energy can be generated, and let other socialist bad things happen — as a libertarian, I can live with that. Industrialization has been going on since the 1800s — where’s the rush?

    I don’t trust Al Gore — he’s as much as admitted he’s lied to us about the threat of global warming, and he’s not living the lifestyle of someone who actually believes what he’s saying. Not that anything I say is going to sway your unshakeable religious belief that the effing sky is falling, and we must implement statist countermeasures NOW.

  95. Face it Democrats – your afraid of losing in 08 and think that recruting Al Gore is the only way you can win it.

  96. And it was not “defeated.” Clinton never submitted it for ratification.

    …which was the administration that Gore was a senior member of.

    Remember, if you’re going to take the credit for good things you had nothing to do with, you get the blame on the flip side too.

  97. We have a high standard of proof when it comes to global warming. A majority (or supermajority) of scientists isn’t enough to convince us that climate change is a real threat. Too bad we didn’t have such a high standard of proof for weapons of mass destruction.

  98. jh,

    I take your point about the 1970s, but only to a certain extent. Your reasoning seems to be that scientists aren’t always right about things… that is true. But in this case, climate technology has advanced exponentially and the world’s scientists are much more united now than then.

    Which brings me to this question… what do YOU believe? You’ve written quite a bit about why we shouldn’t destroy our economy to solve climate change, and I certainly understand you don’t trust Al Gore. I get all that. But I don’t quite understand what you yourself believe about climate change. So I would pose these two questions to you:

    1) Do YOU believe climate change is happening?
    2) Do YOU believe it’s harmful to us and to future generations?

    These are NOT questions about what we should or should not do about it. Let’s avoid that part of the debate for now (I’m not sure myself, BTW).

  99. JH wrote:
    “Perhaps you have no institutional memory of the 70s, when the consensus among climate scientists was that another ice age was imminent.”
    This is a myth. Not that there was a general public belief that scientists belived this, but that there was any kind of actual scientific consensus about any immenant ice age. The Immenant Ice Age Myth was a construct of Newsweek et al based on the taking out of context/misquoting of only two peer reviewed climate articles. There have been no peer reviewee climate science articles clearly supporting this notion.

    http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/

    There are however quite a number of peer reviewed climate science articles with the assertion that humans are probably warming the earths climate with greenhouse gasses.

    “Fifth, the planet Mars is also warming and losing its ice cap. The only common factor between Mars and Earth is that they are warmed by the same sun.”

    Care to talk about the factors Mars has which aren’t in common with Earth, but also govern Mars’ climate? Like a More varied orbit…did you know that in 1998 when the Solar Max hit, Mars’ southern Hemisphere was at the height of the southern summer; and incidentally, Mars was at Perihelion that season (mars axis has a steeper angle than the Earth too, making the poles more exposed); and that it’s orbital variation resulted closest Perihelion in a looong time. How about them dust storms too, altering the color and thus albedo of Mars.

    All that is important because the average luminosity of the Sun hasn’t changed much over the past several decades. That’s right, the change of climate on Mars, and the change in climate on Earth has nothing to do with each other, nor the non-changes in the sun. Now Stop with the nonsense already.

  100. Nicely done Sam-Hec

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