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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My kind of hypocrisy

Is better than the other kind.

A short (Twitter) debate on the subject of hypocrisy

Herewith, a long-past conversation between me and another party (I'll call her the Adversary) on Twitter:

Third Party:
.@Peoples_Climate @RobertKennedyJr @CherylHines @RachaelEHarris marching for @Waterkeeper

@christianhebel @RobertKennedyJr @Peoples_Climate @CherylHines how big is ur carbon footprint on private jets, multiple compounds, limos?

Do other celebs get a pass because they DON'T express concern about climate?

Limo liberals leaving giant carbon footprints but slamming everyone else have zero credibility.They r just too stupid 2 see it

Translated, I guess that means "yes," they get a pass. Interesting logic for a lawyer.

It's one thing to express concern while being a fraud. Silence probably best from the hypocrites. DiCaprio is a climate fraud

But, sounds as if you're good w/ silence from everyone on this issue. Or, disproving science by claiming celeb hypocrisy?

I'd rather silence from the idiot celeb faux activists than hear their inane and hypocritical comments. Silence can be golden

Thx, yes, got that, also that you're dodging the question. Think about it sometime when you have a few minutes.


A (very) simple thought experiment

I've been thinking about this exchange recently, for a couple of reasons:

1) The inability or unwillingness of the other party to respond to my point is pretty typical of the few debates I've had about climate change on Twitter (I generally try to avoid these, on grounds that they're a waste of time, as this example ... exemplifies).

2) Hypocrisy seems to be such a favorite accusation from those on the right. I suppose that is because it is so handy, especially on climate change. If you're going to say anything about that issue, you need to first prove that you are perfect (i.e., you're basically a net-zero-emissions person). That's almost impossible, so by definition, any celebrity calling for action is clearly a hypocrite. You took a bus to New York City for the 2014 Climate March? Stay home and stop using fossil fuels, you hypocrite!

I propose in response the following thought experiment:

Let us consider Celebrity A, who has the audacity to tweet that climate change is a serious problem and that action is needed to deal with it, and Celebrity B, who tweets only about his upcoming movie. Otherwise, Celebrity A and Celebrity B act exactly the same--they have similar houses, vacations, autos, etc.

It probably goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: 

          I prefer Celebrity A. 

And that's true even if Celebrity A is actually endorsing climate action as a way of attracting more fans, some of whom may go to see her movie. She's a celebrity, and hundreds or thousands of people are going to listen to what she has to say, and many of them will take it seriously, especially if it validates their own personal views or actions.

So, thanks to Al Gore, Leo DiCaprio, Daryl Hannah, Sarah Silverman, RFK Jr., Bill McKibben, and others who have been willing to use the glow of their celebrity to cast more light upon this most pressing issue of our time.

So what's the other kind of hypocrite?

Several sources I consulted say "hypocrisy" is a synonym for "mendacity" (lying). So when a politician lies about climate change and knows or should know better, that's the other kind of hypocrisy. One of my personal favorites is Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the Chair of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. After finding out last Election Night that she'd be the new chair due to Republicans taking a majority in the Senate, she called climate change a real problem, then said a recent volcanic eruption in Iceland had emitted the equivalent of 1,000 years worth of emissions from all of Europe's autos and manufacturing. Totally bogus, of course, but who needs to get basic facts straight in order to perform their responsibilities to the American public on an issue of overwhelming importance?

That's the kind of hypocrisy I cannot abide.

1 comment:

  1. Great post!

    ...but who needs to get basic facts straight in order to perform their responsibilities to the American public on an issue of overwhelming importance?

    Facts, like the dangers of climate change, have no basis in our current reality to those whose only interest in in continuing to make money off things like oil.