Roger L. Simon

Al Gore as the new Babbitt

What fascinates about Al Gore is not – as this article from the Chicago Sun-Times shows so clearly – that he is full of hooey when it comes to his global warming “scientific” pronouncements. It is that so many people believe him and that he is more popular than ever.

As so much has changed in our society, fuddy-duddy “liberalism” has become the most conventional or, dare I say it, conservative of belief systems. It’s almost as if the novels of Sinclair Lewis have been resurrected in our times with Al as Babbitt or Elmer Gantry – actually a bizarre contemporary combination of the two. We have a public, most of which does not have any serious or formal scientific training in climatology – listening to the opinions of someone who may have even less. Our media, of course, is equally bourgeois and conventional in its simplistic response to his Alness, simply accepting what even the most normal inquiring mind would delve into on a more sophisticated level. But you won’t find that in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Instead we got non-stop applause replete with endless Nobel Prize speculation.

Besides being ridiculous, this Babbittry is finally anti-environmental. Any reasonable person should be concerned about the environment. Any reasonable person should be concerned about conservation. But turning global warming – anthropogenic or otherwise – into a self-aggrandizing personal crusade replete with constant misrepresentation of fact is reactionary and ultimately dangerous. Our environment is a serious matter, not a cause upon which to resurrect a floundering career.

UPDATE: Didn’t realize Maggie’s Farm beat me to the punch way back in February.