Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hypocrisy

Ilya's post brings to mind an important, albeit pernicious, undercurrent in political discourse today: hypocrisy or the other side of the coin, authenticity. Al Gore is proven to be a hypocrite, he comes nowhere close to approaching the carbon neutral lifestyle that he advocates for others. So he is a typical limousine liberal. That said, what of his views. This is ultimately the important point, what are the merits of the argument. Liberal commentators have for years bludgeoned Rush Limbaugh or Newt Gingrich or other advocates of "family values" for their hypocrisy. Newt Gingrich for one left his wife while on her death bed for one of his staffers, thus constantly referred to as a "first rate political intellect and fifth rate personal character". It is quite easy in these instances to resort to ad hominem attacks, literally taking it to the man. But what of the merits of their arguments? Do we take it to the man because we find that easier than challenging the premise of their arguments or the resulting conclusion? I suspect the answer is yes.

1 comment:

A Green Cowboy said...

I suspect the answer often may be yes, but not as a rule.

On the idea of returning to the merits of the argument, instead of the merits of the messenger; I disagree with part of Ilya's last post, where he concludes with Schweizer's words that Gore should at least make some effort, given that he is asking us to radically change our lives.

Radically? That is a strong word.

There are many simple, easy choices you can make to reduce your environmental impact without greatly affecting your lifestyle. Buy soaps and detergents designed to degrade quickly, and that aren't petroleum based. Cut back on lawn chemicals. Recycle. Turn off lights, reduce heating and air conditioning. Be more careful with letting the faucet run while you brush your teeth or do the dishes.

I could go on and on...as Ilya has pointed out, minor changes such as these will surely not add up to a sustainable society. But the point is, it is relatively easy to make some minor changes (mostly in mindset - little of your material ways have to change) and achieve some minor progress. This should happen in concert with effort towards major changes.