● “Flashback: CBS News Anchor Scott Pelley compared global warming skeptics to ‘Holocaust deniers’ — ‘If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?'”
— Headline, Climate Depot, Thursday, May 24, 2012.
● “Danica Patrick makes NASCAR history.”
— Headline, CBS News, yesterday.
One of these things is not like the other.
From the late 1980s until he tacitly declared the “problem” solved at the start of this year, by cashing in his chips for $100 mil from Big Oil, Al Gore loved to compare “global warming” to the Holocaust. In a 2006 article titled, “Al Gore’s Horror Theater,” Jonah Goldberg explored what Gore should have been doing to prove he actually believed such metaphors were true:
Al Gore and his confreres argue time and again that Americans must change their habits and culture to avoid the ecological holocaust. Chief among these changes is for Americans to give up their addiction to driving, or driving “unnecessarily.” Surely a film that teaches young children to love cars is a great moral crime given the supposed moral stakes. Similarly, why isn’t Gore — or anybody else in the Democratic party — denouncing NASCAR? If global warming is the moral equivalent of the Holocaust, aren’t NASCAR races the moral equivalent of corporate-sponsored, televised neo-Nazi rallies? NASCAR creates greenhouse gasses for pure entertainment. Millions of people drive to these races, poisoning the atmosphere, to watch grown men poison the atmosphere even more. Where is the condemnation?
I know I’ll hear from all sorts of angry readers for taking Gore’s position to the extreme. But this has it backwards. I’m merely taking Gore’s extreme position seriously. We have lots of debates over the factual soundness of environmental extremism but nearly none on the moral soundness of environmental extremism. Once you compare a problem to the Holocaust — even remotely — you’ve lost your moral wiggle room. No politician, indeed no responsible person in this country, would endorse a comedic cartoon about genocide, never mind take their kids to it. Give PETA credit. While it repugnantly compares the raising of chickens and cattle to Auschwitz, the organization at least has the courage of its convictions, and protests virtually everything that treats animals as anything less than people.
Environmentalists like Gore who invoke the Holocaust are too afraid to follow through. They want all the credit for denouncing what they consider a moral horror, but they’re unwilling actually to face the real consequences of their rhetoric. I don’t believe global warming is akin to the Holocaust. But if I did, I’d like to think I’d have more courage about it than Gore is showing.
Linking to Jonah’s 2006 article in a post titled “Beware of using Holocaust language,” Betsy Newmark added “But, of course, they won’t be doing these things because it would be political suicide. So, now we know where they draw the line. They’ll talk a good game, but they won’t actually propose anything or say anything that would offend potential voters.
Similarly, if CBS’s Scott Pelley really believed his own rhetoric, he’d use his vantage point behind the 6:30 PM TV news desk to tear into Patrick for the professional race driver’s rampant destruction of Gaia. Demanding that NASCAR racetracks be shuttered. Or calling on the de facto CEO of two of the Big Three American auto makers to order their cars pulled from NASCAR competition. Since Pelley would never make any of those statements, his moral equivalency is a form of, if not Holocaust denial, at a minimum, diminishing the unique evil of the Holocaust in an attempt to score cheap debating points.