Is Gore Crying Fire In A Crowded Theater?

June 2nd, 2006 10:46 AM

My pal Henry Payne has the definitive cartoon on the Al Gore movie.

Reviewing "An Inconvenient Truth" for the American Spectator, James Bowman doesn't really discuss the film as film, but does scold Gore for making no attempt to engage the public on the question of how much drastic emission-limiting regulations could help, and how much they would cost:

As to how much of a difference we can make, he gives us none of the science on that point. Bjorn Lomborg's calculation that the implementation of the Kyoto accords, the great shibboleth of the global-warming lobby, would at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars a year only postpone the temperature rise over the next century by six years may be wrong, but Mr. Gore never mentions that calculation, let alone demonstrates its error...

Most importantly, the question of cost is treated with a scandalous lack of seriousness. Indeed, the very idea that there could be any cost, any trade-off between American or world prosperity and an environmentally clear conscience is described as a "false choice." Handsome Al at his most engaging stands grinning before a comic graphic of a scale. On one side of the scale are piled up gold bars, on the other side -- planet earth. Would we sell our whole planet for any number of bars of gold? Of course not! Where would we live? See how easy it all is? You'd have to be a moron not to understand it.

Talk about false choices! This is just another way of saying what he says at the beginning of the film: that global warming is a moral, not a political matter. That means that it's an easy choice for decency to make -- and that anyone with a different view of the matter must be, like the man who defeated Al Gore in 2000, either a moron or a villain. The weird thing is that global warming is in a way one of those non-controversial issues that don't rise to the level of politics -- except that the automatic consensus it gives rise to is not on behalf of any plan to do anything about it but is rather in favor of ignoring it. There was a reason, after all, for the 95-0 Senate vote against ratifying the Kyoto Accords during the Clinton years. Not many issues attain that kind of unity, but the unity against Kyoto tells us that endorsing a Kyoto-style trade-off would be in the American market tantamount to political suicide.

No wonder Gore steers clear of the hard questions! That's why he calls it a moral rather than a political issue. He doesn't actually want to do anything, he just wants another excuse for showing what a smart, caring, environmentally virtuous person Al Gore is. No, Al. Global warning may or may not be a moral issue, but it is undeniably political as well.

This is why the utter lack of serious questioning from network morning show hosts is so frustrating. What a classic liberal outcome -- liberal is lauded for his enormous brain and bleeding heart, but he is not asked to explain how on Earth he would actually stop the world-ending crisis he's promoting without sacrifices. They didn't even ask him to endorse the Tom Friedman $3.50-per-gallon floor for gas prices.