Al Gore’s Failures

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 28 2011 @ 6:20pm

Reihan Salam argues that Al Gore's brand of environmentalism paves over genuine concerns about green policies:

Like Al Gore, I believe that anthropogenic climate change is real and that it poses a serious threat to the future of humanity. But I also recognize that transitioning from carbon-based energy will be painful. As small and mid-sized coal-fired power plants shut down across the United States in response to new environmental regulations, the costs of replacing that capacity will be front-loaded. Utility rates will rise considerably, particularly in coal-dependent battleground states like Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Missouri. There’s a good case that this is a price worth paying. And perhaps there is somehow some way to guarantee that middle-class families won’t bear the brunt of this transition. Perhaps the rich won’t spend or invest less if they are called upon to pay for it. Who knows? But it is easy to see why middle-class voters might be skeptical.

Walter Russell Mead, meanwhile, attacks Gore for his carbon-heavy lifestyle:

I am not one of those who thinks him a hypocrite; I think rather that he shares an illusion common amongst the narcissistic glitterati of our time: that politically fashionable virtue cancels private vice.  The drug addled Hollywood celeb whose personal life is a long record of broken promises and failed relationships and whose serial bouts with drug and alcohol abuse and revolving door rehab adventures are notorious can redeem all by “standing up” for some exotic, stylish cause. These moral poseurs and dilettantes of virtue are modern versions of those guilt-plagued medieval nobles who built churches and monasteries to ‘atone’ for their careers of bloodshed, oppression and scandal.

I get really bored by these personal attacks, especially when they serve to dismiss rather than engage the broader issue.