The Failure of Al Gore Part Three: Singing the Climate Blues
Published on: July 1, 2011
show comments
  • Randy

    Gore could be helped immeasurably if he understood we’re living in a postmodern era, not a modern one.

  • Paul B.

    I hope there is part 4, 5, and 6 – can not get enough of Prof. Mead Gore-ing the elite. A presumed typo: “They don’t see civil servants as selfish and apolitical experts who can be trusted to regulate and rule … ” Guessing you mean “unselfish.”

    Paul

    • Walter Russell Mead

      Interns are being flogged as I write.

  • Oblio

    Excellent stuff, Mr. Mead. You have captured the ethos of the progressive Southern gentry in a few deft brushstrokes.

    But I wonder where that leaves you, or where it leaves me for that matter. To be effective, what do they need to do? What transition in thought or action is required? Or is it just time to go away, whatever that means, and as if individuals would consent to that?

  • A great read. Your interpretation of Gore and how his thinking relate to the American scene, and the break of the Global-Warming movement as its unrealistic premises became evident is fascinating.

    I’m not sure to what extent this also applies to the rest of the world, where the fall from grace of the Global-Warming movement is very evident. My sense of this is that outside the US Gore was not perceived as a leader but more as a good-to-have promoter of the “cause,” with the cause itself being taken over, gradually, and defined, gradually, by more Socialist-leaning activists. To those activists Gore was always more “tolerable” than a leader. Useful to the cause or, more bluntly, a useful idiot.

    If you look at “Greenpeace” today, for example, it looks less-and-less like a “save the planet” organisation and more-and-more like a “let’s get those capitalistic bastards” kind of thing, directly attacking “dark side” companies as part of a “rebellion” and calling to stop blood covered Barbie from killing the tigers for their fur.

    Part of this is, of course, that while slowly melting, the hard-core activists are taking over the plant, but the crowding out of more moderate activists, mainly interested in preservation and correction (rather than a revolution) has been going on for quite a while.

    Comment: It seems that with “They don’t see civil servants as selfish and apolitical experts…” you might have meant “They don’t see civil servants as unselfish and apolitical experts…”

  • Michal

    Gore represents the “bourgeois revolution”. His opposition represents the “petit bourgeois counter-revolution”. The latter seem to be in the ascendancy at the moment.

  • Boritz

    The moniker “progressive” is thus shown to be completely inappropriate as these are the people who, like Gore, find it impossible to progress or even recognize the need to. The label was adopted as a matter of convenience when ‘liberal’ reached a threshold level of discredit, but these folks are indeed liberal and not progressive.

  • WigWag

    Wow, who knew that the estimable Professor Mead was also an expert in psychology? His insights into Al Gore’s personality and the factors from his childhood that molded the Vice President are truly marvelous.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed that in part 4 of his Al Gore series Professor Mead will delve even deeper into the recesses of Gore’s psyche and share with us some of his revelations about how Gore’s infantilized relationship with his mother turned him into the man he is today. Perhaps after that Professor Mead can join New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd (who is even more obsessed with Al Gore than he is) and write an expose on how Gore’s oedipal urges turned him into the “girly man” Mead and Dowd both obviously think he is.

    Given how sophisticated his analysis of the factors that drive Al Gore has been, I am keeping my fingers crossed that this won’t be the last of Professor Mead’s psychological portraits. Considering his fascination with Jacksonian populism, who could be a better candidate for the Professor to psychoanalyze than Andrew Jackson himself.

    After all, like Gore, Jackson was a man of the South; he may have been born in Lancaster County, South Carolina (also the home state of Professor Mead). His father died when Jackson was a young child and he claimed to have been brought up on the plantation of an uncle; historians think that Jackson may have lied about this. Certainly with the death of his father and Jackson’s lies about where he was born there is literally a bonanza of interesting information around which Mead could craft his psychological profile.

    To make it even better, Jackson founded the political party that Al Gore served. Despite the fact that they were both Democrats, Jackson, the populist leader, is remembered for among other things, being an advocate for slavery and exiling thousands of Native Americans to Oklahoma. Gore, the liberal, is trying to save the world in other ways. Perhaps Professor Mead’s psychological profile can explain how two men with so much in common had such a different outlook on the world.

    I hope that if Mead does decide to reward his readers with “Gore Part 4” or “Andrew Jackson Part 1” that he will carefully consider where he publishes it. His blog would be a fine place but what worries me is that Mead has made a habit of publishing his pieces in journals that good old-fashioned typical Americans never read. That would be periodicals like “Foreign Affairs” or “The Wall Street Journal.” My advice would be that Professor Mead should consider publishing in a periodical that the average American is likely to actually look at. “Rolling Stone” comes to mind immediately as one good possibility.

  • Yahzooman

    Your description of our “hero” as a condescending middle school teacher is spot on.

    I’ve always thought of Al Gore as a neurotic Easterner … someone right out of Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall.”

    In fact, here’s the description of him …

    Annie Hall: So you wanna go into the movie or what?
    Alvy Singer: No, I can’t go into a movie that’s already started, because I’m anal.
    Annie Hall: That’s a polite word for what you are.

    Blue State know-it-all’s never go into a movie once it’s started. They also argue with strangers over the meaning of the film while exiting.

    Annoying little [annoying people].

    Here’s an inconvenient truth: Al Gore is the planet’s Chief [annoying person].

  • Observer1

    Outstanding. Truly outstanding, Mr. Mead. This essay deserves a place in your (certain) book containing your favorite essays in a couple of decades. This one is truly a “keeper.” Happy Fourth of July, sir.

  • RoentgenWarrior

    Thank you Mr. Mead for this brilliant series. Your insight into, and your deconstruction of, Al Gore and the Global Green movement is profound. Your conclusion in Part II has, I am certain, escaped almost all honest AGW proponents, and should be required reading within all U.S. High schools. Those less than honest proponents, the communists/marxists/statists who have hijacked the green movement and used it as a vessel to advance their ideology, have suffered a deservedly massive blow. I cannot help but think that the suggess of the protagonists in the hollywood epic Armageddon would have a greater chance of success in their aims than the global AGW movement. Thank you again for one of the most enjoyable reads of the year.

  • MaxMBJ

    Great piece. On the wrestling metaphor it seems to me that Gore sees himself as the hapless, honest good guy(s) when in reality he’s the clueless ref.

  • Anthony

    “What does the repeated rise and fall of clueless but well educated and well placed enthusiasts teach us about the state of our civilization and the human condition?” Perhaps one answer to the question reveals itself in the self referential nature of human interest and conditioning as well as in the reality that ‘commonsense’ ain’t common. Comparatively as I read WRM’s three Al Gore expositions, I reference Fordism and its yielding to a yet transitioning America (social/political/environmental/capital) by way of structural changes impacting both America and world. Gore metaphorically represents the end of a system and a shift….

  • stephen b

    Bill Whittle talks about fear and loathing of one’s own culture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqNVpACRLaI

  • Dave S.

    Excellent series, sir. Having worked with the government for over 30 years as a contractor I can say from experience the dispassionate government technocrat dispensing wisdom to the masses is a myth. It’s not that they can’t be trusted, it’s that they can be trusted in all cases to protect their own interests.

  • Harry

    Good analysis. But on basic human level, no education is required to understand the downfall of Gore. Most humans have learned to sense, or become suspicious of, the activity of the seven deadly sins in other people. In Gore’s case, and many other Blue Social Leaders, people can see that Pride and Greed (for power and money) are the root of what is presented as social compassion. Suspiciousness or the power to spot pride, greed, and the other sins, cannot be taught at Harvard or any other school. Suspiciousness can only be learned through life experiences.

  • AlHubb

    Great article. A good outline for understanding where Mr Gore is coming from and trying to take us to. I’m with Paul B-I hope there are more parts.

  • Koblog

    Excellent analysis.

    I’m afraid I missed the part that explains how these altruistic elites, so bent on the Good of Mankind, somehow manage to gather vast personal fortunes so that, even as they tell the masses they need to eat less, drive less and live shivering in the dark, the elites buy multiple 10,000 square foot mansions on the California coast, drive enormous cars (see Gore, John Edwards and Hollywood environmental director James Cameron) and fly their personal jets all over the world on a whim (see President Obama, his wife and her friends.)

    Please explain how these non-producers of anything concrete nonetheless have fortunes in the millions or even billions.

  • geoffrey martin

    The man to read on the professional wrestling analogy is Roland Barthes…..

  • oMan

    Mr. Mead: What Paul B and Oblio said. Brilliant analysis, both in its accuracy and its concision. How do I know it’s accurate? Been there, done that; seen a lot of Gorelings in my day, and your portrait fits that type very, very well. I think there is much more to say, especially about “what is to be done;” and I hope we see further instalments of this useful, funny, important essay.

  • noname11

    I hope that this insightful series of 3 articles focused specifically on Al Gore will grow to a full examination of the final failure (and the reasons for such) of the New Deal, from which most failed and failing “blue” governance stances and policies seem to flow!

  • Char

    MMGW is the largest fraud ever perpetrated on the citizenry of the world. We’re killing our economy because of this. I am not saying we shouldn’t be good stewards.

    How many billions or possibly a trillion has been spent on this that could have actually done some physical, concrete good instead of moral preening?

    PJ Media is suing the DOD “…For Climate Conference Info. ‘The original request was kicked all the way up to the office of the secretary of defense. There’s no valid reason to make it this difficult for PJMedia to get basic information unless the administration has something to hide.”’

    My lesson learned in life:

    When CW says “X,” it’s usually “Y.”

    Follow the money – it’s always about power, money & control.

    They refuse to let others see their work.

    Yet we should trust them.

  • Well said again. The tactics of the Climate Change Left are a failure due in no small part to making (or allowing) AlGore to be their spokesman. Worse, they stick with him much as Conservatives stuck with Bush long after it was clear he was hurting their cause.

    The only way the Climate Change Left can succeed if to embrace the LMAD plan explained in Jon Mitchell’s brilliant book “Let’s Make A Deal: A Hail Mary Pass to Get America Off the Bench and Back in the Game”

    The central tenet of Mitchell’s book and plan is that the “scorched earth, all or nothing” strategy preferred by today’s ideological and political combatants is simply not delivering for them or for the country. So they need to sheath their anger, their insults and especially their holier-than-thou attitude and instead buy off their opponents. According to Mitchell, “it’s time for Liberals concerned about rising global temperatures, health care for all and the plight of illegals and Conservatives concerned about rising federal debt, bigger government and rational taxation to quit navel gazing and realize the obvious: they need to BUY each other off in order to effectively address their pet ideological concerns—there is no other way. This means trading things like a carbon tax, healthcare for all (with a public option) and amnesty for a balanced budget, strict limited government (tied to GDP) and an end to the corporate income tax plus other market-oriented tax reforms.”

    “Liberals and Conservatives are actually making the same apocalyptic arguments,” Mitchell says, “albeit on different issues. They both make a good case for action. But the public is yawningly uninterested in global warming and unwilling to make the hard choices on America’s fiscal problems. Buying off the opposition is the American way,” he says, “so we all need to use the system we have to get the outcome we want. And that’s what Let’s Make A Deal—The Plan and The Book are all about: getting the outcome you want.”

  • ThomasD

    It is very telling that you draw a parallel to the Nuclear Freeze movement. The one that history has now shown was directly funded by the International Socialist movement, aka the USSR. And much like the Freeze Movement’s unilateral approach to disarmament, the green movement has never seemed overly concerned with the terrible industrial excesses perpetrated within the Eastern Bloc.

    One could even draw an arc, where the green movement only rose to full prominence following the fall of the Soviet Union, and subsequent collapse of the global communist movement.

    But this really should not be surprising, since both represent the core of an internationalist movement. One with a “comprehensive, unified and coordinated” approach to establishing direct control over all global economic activity.

    A movement that, regardless of what color may be on the outside, is always red at it’s core.

  • This article really sings. Wonderfully lucid.

    The reason Gore cannot see the problem is that statist liberalism is a religion and not a political school of thought. Read Eric Voegelin and see that for every structural element of a religion there is a corresponding structure that serves the same purpose in each of the 20th century ideologies, including statist liberalism. Take, for example, escatology: global warming calamity equals Armageddon.

    Gore and others like him go on faith; they do not process facts like the rest of us. This makes them vulnerable as you have shown in this article. But it also makes them particularly dangerous in that they will never give up. And if perchance fate hands them the power then seek, they can be expected to wield it as the wiley fanatics that they are.

    Voeglin states that the last stage of gnostic activism is always totalitarianism.

  • What a perfect description of the South I grew up in–and its contemporary incarnation in many professors of the Humanities I’ve met (particularly but not exclusively Southerners): the kindly, gentle people who equate their left-center Democratic politics with morality and also equate the populace at large with their students. Can it be that this genteel elitism seems more vital than it really is because so many pundits were steeped in this tradition? Thank the Lord for new media; thank the Lord for Walter Russell Mead.

  • Lawrence

    Again Jefferson calls. A little rebellion by the people is not necessarily catastrophic as it reminds the elected government that it is they who put them there. The progressives are more in the vein of the French revolution which used violence then turned on itselt creating Napolean. This gradual subservience toward bodies like the U.N. and Nato whose majority of members have no comprhension of Americas’ Declaration of Independence. It is this docuement that set the table for a country that became the leader of the world in all. Americans, if it is still possible, should spend less time being entertained and abdicating their individual freedoms to a central elite in exchange for notions of equalisation of society by means of redistribution in all facets of their lives.Continuing down this path will lead Americans backward to an era that prevailed prior to the founding declaration. Even America in its founding had an elite but it was checked by the way the Constitution was written. Jefferson insisted that their had to be a bill of rights, this was not easily accepted.
    Lawrence

  • kitman3

    great series of articles – could not agree more about the sex crazed poodle.

  • Hayekian

    I’m not sure a psychiatrist could help Al Gore, but just trying to help him would make a psychiatrist very wealthy.

  • SDN

    “why do so many people who want to help solve global problems waste so much time and money and, sometimes, do so much harm?”

    Mr. Mead, you are laboring under a fundamental misconception: namely that the policies of the Left are aimed at solving global problems.

    They.Are.Not.

    They are intended to allow Leftists to enslave the rest of the world. Period. They have no interest in solving the problems; indeed, they rejoice in the problems and try to make them worse, so that useful idiots will cooperate with them, and the mass of people who can be lied to will not resist. “Never let a crisis go to waste” sums the Left up perfectly.

    The Democrats are and always have been the party of slavery; just because the Copperheads call it a “collective” instead of a “plantation” is lipstick on the pig.

  • Bud Moore

    Walter,

    I commend your concise and logical thinking on this subject. Your lens is most intriguing. I’ll be reading more in the future. Highest regards,

    Bud

  • Haifisch

    ‘hallowed network news broadcast in the Cronkite era’, as in ‘hallowed’ before people wised up to that self-serving, sanctimonious, patronizing, pretentious, pompous parasite Cronkite and his emulators.

  • Fritz

    Nice essay, but let me clarify Gore’s ppersonal or family tradition as a species of a more rounded view of real-life Atticus Finchs. Gore’s father was educated but entered public service as a man of modest means. His soft-line stance on civil rights may speak well of the elder Senator Gore. The elder Gore also bought up (and helped Armand Hammer buy up) mineral rights on land, known only to the Senator, would be flooded as part of the TVA’s hydroelectric project, depriving his mostly poor constituents of a windfall profit. Furthermore Gore Sr. carried water for years for Hammer, who we now know for certain was a Soviet agent during the Cold War. Gore Sr. ran interference in the Senate for Hammer as he made millions trading with the (to Hammer, friendly) enemy in the Siberian oil fields. In short, the Gore family tradition is agrarian hucksterism: ginning up the ignorant passions of the folk with the right hand while picking the common pocket with the left. Atticus Finch is an exemplar, but the real-life petty aristocracy of the old, feudal South – notwithstanding whatever moral leadership it may have occasionally provided – maintained it’s economic supremacy by a fairly brutal system of intertwined privilege and film-flammery.

  • Old School Conservative

    Methinks you over-complicate the issue, Professor. IMHO the reason Gore has failed is that his facts are wrong, he is a profiteering bastard promoting a failed policy to line his own pockets, and folks finally began to see through the veil. In addition one cannnot forever tell others to wear a hair shirt while flying in private jets and building new mansions.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      A failure this big is like a mighty river fed by many streams.

  • Greg F

    Is there some way we could teach future generations to be a little smarter about politics and power so that the 21st century, which is going to have plenty of serious problems, might spend less time chasing mares’ nests?

    The problem is each generation already thinks they are smarter than the generations before. In hindsight dumb things always look dumber which gives people a sense of superiority to previous generations. Vanity and pride have a price.

  • Jake

    Interesting articel, I wonder if someone could write something similar for the conservative movement. We might be up now, but we still crash and burn frequently.

  • Rob Turner

    Excellent. As a southern humanities professor who was in Nashville when Gore lost in 2000. I have to agree completely. He couldn’t win his home state. The people of TN decided he no longer represented them and was more interested in his “Larger World”

  • Char

    I don’t think it helped that on occasion when he went to speak about MMGW, it snowed.

    The many streams of leftism. It never has nor ever will work unless the peons are given partial lobotomies.

    The blue state models are failing, the mask is coming off, unfortunately for the US, the wheels are also coming off.

    Some of us knew this was going to happen. All one had to do was listen to them & Obama.

    MMGW is just 1 piece of it.

  • 10,000 words in a three-part series about how Al Gore is fat?

    The sociology wedged in here doesn’t even make sense. The “quasi-feudal gentry” in the South, a long time ago, a short time ago, and now, isn’t freaking “liberal.”

  • Victor Erimita

    Wonderful series. Your cogent summary of southern elitism and northeastern Puritan-descended liberalism as the two cultural ingredients in Al Gore’s makeup is brilliant. Having recently read the works of historian David Hackett Fisher on these strains of American culture (“Albion’s Seed” and “Bound Away”) I think you hit it right on.

    Alas, one more typo: paragraph 14, last line: “socialism” I think is supposed to be “social.”

  • Charlie

    As Oblio compliments, deft brushstrokes indeed, a read enjoyable both for insight and elegance.

    But, bluntly, I think the heart of the argument is more economically covered in your summation when you say “…is classic Blue thinking.” The particular classic Blue thinking I have in mind is the perpetual progressive search for “the moral equivalent of war.”

    During WWI, Wilson was able to get out of the political scrum and, with the war as his excuse, move progressive causes several steps down the field before the scrum resumed and slowed “progress.” Ever since, progressives have been searching for a comparable catalyst for their aspirations.

    I read a brief history of Gore’s early embrace of AGW some years ago, the seed having been planted by one of his professors and furthered by talks with a Scandinavian (?) professor or two. When he later excitedly trotted his growing conception by his old professor, the professor shot it down. This did not deter Gore in the least, and the rationale I recall reading (it’s murky now) is that the concept was too perfect a political wedge to set aside for scientific faults. (Turned out to be a sure route to personal enrichment too.)

    I was an academic science editor in the seventies, and the climate model prevalent then was that on account of favorable ocean currents coinciding with favorable solar cycles, we had been going through more than fifty years of mild weather, the mildest since the last ice age some said, and would, in a few more years be slowly returning to, get this, normal Holocene weather, which is to say less mild with much greater year-to-year variability in hot and cold (just what we’ve been experiencing–and, btw, something that can easily be seen on more detailed graphs of temperature over time).

    This theory got a brief run in the popular press but was well accepted among climate scientists, a vastly smaller fraternity in the days when satellite telemetry was just getting underway. Now, I’m not saying that this knowledge that climate would be a-changin’ became the basis for a massive scam (or some of the details would’ve been presented differently). But I do suspect that this phenomenon (and perhaps to some extent knowledge of it) has coincided with the eternal lefty search for “the moral equivalent of war” (largely in the person of Al Gore this time) as THE potent argument for delivering massive political power to progressives.

    I would simply hope you could probe that realm as you continue this marvelous series.

  • John Calvin

    The problem with folks like Algore is that their religion is politics. They worship creation rather than the Creator. Many of these people profess belief in God, but they do not believe. They have no faith in the one true God, which is why they try finding solutions to problems through the actions of government (men). “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God,” which explains why they are always wrong about everything. Otherwise they would occasionally, if just by chance, be right about some things. There will be no escape for these fools in the great judgment to come. Their destination is complete separation from God (hell), and they sense it– which is why they’re so miserable. The same holds true for a certain percentage of conservatives, but it is always true for leftists.

  • Russ

    Prof. Mead, may I suggest something?

    You’ve made a very serious point about the Blue model and its problems. An interlude that also explains failures on the political right such as Gingrich (himself a sort of Red-State Progressive) would work as a very good counterpoint. Conservatives and libertarians should be reading your series of posts not to gloat, but to learn, rather than accidentally become a similar cautionary tale.

  • David

    So…do you have an opinion as to whether climate change is occurring, and caused by man?

  • Russ

    @ #37: Jake —

    Precisely. And libertarians such as myself tend to crash and burn the very moment we even *look* like we’re on the rise.

  • Mikio

    Well well, look at all the agreeing right-winger comments for this right-wing screed by a supposed Barack Obama voter in 2008 (according to Wikipedia). But that suspicious oddity aside, hey, you look like a smart bunch! Let’s see how smart (i.e. not dogmatic) you actually are. Here’s a challenge for you:

    *** Name the source that could convince you tomorrow that AGW is real and a serious enough problem it requires governmental action. ***

    I can answer the flipside of this challenge myself easily: a reversal of the pertinent scientific consensus — i.e., active climatologists. There. Easy. They’re my source. See how easy that is?

    Right-wingers can’t manage to do likewise because, for starters, they’re cognitively inclined toward persistence in their judgments ( http://lcap.psych.ucla.edu/pdfs/amodio_natureneuroscience07.pdf http://blog.psico.edu.uy/cibpsi/files/2011/04/brains.pdf ) and as such, the rationally-minded practice of questioning one’s own stance is alien to them. This is evidenced in this informal challenge of mine by their near-unanimous failure to answer it at first and instead launching right into their boilerplate spewage ignoring the meta-argument I’m posing. Upon follow-up attempts, however, they eventually clam up because the truth is there either is no source they can come up with to indicate they’re not dogmatic or they realize the only one that conceivably COULD turn them around and convince them they’ve been wrong on the issue is Rush Limbaugh or basically an aggregate of conservative talk show hosts, pundits, and/or GOP politicians and they’re too embarrassed to admit it. Or at most they have a couple of names among the 2-3% of dissenting climatologists which translates to the rational observer as fairly only a 2-3% likelihood they’re right as compared to the 97% consensus ( http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.full.pdf+html ) and the complementary 97% likelihood THEY’RE right. (This is premised on equal credentials across the board and letting the speculations of unscrupulous motives on both sides cancel each other out, which, pitting the notion that a handful of American climatologists accepted bribes to lie for at least one oil company against the notion that virtually all American climatologists have been getting paid to lie by not only complicit Democrats but complicit Republicans in the Bush administration is being more than fair.)

    Futile as logic is against conservatives/Tea Partyers, this challenge has been at least some meager compensation for me by successfully frying their brains right in front of me in a sort of rationality acid bath and leaving them with nothing but their shaky finger-pointing and conspiracy-imagining that climatologists and the federal gov’t are in cahoots to usher in a Socialist era.

  • huxley

    WRM: Fascinating analysis! People forget that the South has a complex culture and history that goes far beyond the stereotypes.

    I can see why Gore gravitates towards his current advocacy position. I don’t understand though why he is so close-minded and careless in his thinking.

    If he is so confident of his climate change positions, why won’t he debate?

  • Gore also seems more dysfunctional emotionally and intellectually as he ages. Now that GW and green baloney has had some facts and stats opposing its inevitability , it seems Gore and others get more and more outraged. One question I would like to ask him: will our military ever run on green power? The answer is NO. But, the greenies, enviros seem hell bent on driving American free enterprise down the tubes to look more like some Rousseau type fantasy or Luddite nightmare. Nope. I want clean oil, gas, coal, shale now and I want it American drilled.

  • hansong

    How interesting your capitalization is in this paragraph:

    Gore’s social ethic was not a bad one in his youth. In a region divided into a handful of relatively prosperous and well educated whites, a larger number of poor and unschooled white farmers and laborers often dependent on rich whites, and a large mass of (mostly) even poorer, more dependent and less well educated Blacks, the quasi-feudal gentry liberalism of the young Al Gore made some sense.

    I guess you can’t be too careful. Or is it just a reflex?

  • RebeccaH

    I think Gore’s speaking style comes across less as a middle school teacher and more as a preacher from one of the quieter, more genteel southern Baptist sects like my grandparents’ church (the kind who think it unseemly to roll in the aisles and testify out loud). To someone who hasn’t grown up in that milieu (which is most of the present generation, no matter where they live), it sounds insincere and condescending.

    I don’t think Gore means it that way, but certainly, his elitist liberalism hasn’t equipped him to understand why it turns so many people off. Otherwise, I agree with your article completely. “Progressivism” is an idea whose time has come and gone.

  • Thrasymachus

    It’s a *very* tangential point, but in my long-vanished and dissolute youth I used to watch quite a bit of wrestling on TV. In my opinion, the role that the ever-unfair referee plays in the fable is left deliberate vague. I can’t recall ever once seeing a storyline in which the referee himself was fleshed out as a character, so the motivation for his bias was never made clear. He *could* be a well-intentioned idiot, or he *could* be the crooked recipient of a pay-off. It’s never made clear, and THAT’S the real point.

    What the referee represents to the audience is the *system itself*, from the economy to the culture to the media to the government and the law…. all of which are seen as being perpetually stacked against them and they never know why. They just know there’s nothing they can do about it.

  • “Elitist Decries Elitist’s Elitism”

    …or:

    “I’m Not A Pop Psychologist, But I Play One On The Internet”

    …or

    “I’m An Attention Starved [epithet that gets you thrown of MSNBC deleted –ed]”

    by Walter Russell Mead

  • Charlie

    Nice try, Mikio, but your bribed-to-lie-by-an-oil-company climate scientists do not exist. What you are referring to is a long-ago $6M grant for a climate-science study that was immediately pounced on and mau-maued by lefty environmentalists.

    Needless to say, all neutral funding dried up, and the history of funding has been more than $200B (that’s billion) of public money spent, not to study climate science nearly so much as to prove the truth of CAGW.

    That’s right, the funding has run roughly 35,000 to 1 in favor of your misbegotten theory, and you lefties still can’t drag that lame dog-and-pony show to the finish line!

  • Luke Lea

    “spend less time chasing mares’ nests?” Shouldn’t that be will-o’-the-wisps?

  • Professor

    Carbon dioxide is a key to life not garbage in the air. Environmentalists missed the point

  • john s

    Actually i beg to differ on the whole referee symbolism thing. For me, at least the referee was the audience. He was the common man, running around trying to apply fairness and order, all the while being hopelessly overwhelmed. The wrestlers were good against evil, plain and simple. The ref was just doing his job, caught in the middle.

  • tty

    Mikio said:

    *** Name the source that could convince you tomorrow that AGW is real and a serious enough problem it requires governmental action. ***

    A proof based on physics that the temperature sensitivity really is on the order of 3 degrees centigrades per CO2 doubling (rather than about 1 degree, as indicated by ordinary radiation physics).

    The source is quite immaterial, as always in science.

  • Snickers

    Gore seems to be part Gorgeous George and part Elmer Gantry. Even as a kid, I could tell that they were just putting on a show. That Gore seems to be naive enough to believe such charlatans and models his public life on their personas is scary. That so many people support him is even scarier.

  • Peter

    An exxcellent & isightful series of postings on Algore.

    And, Mr. Mead, you really do have to publish a book on “The Failure of the Blue Model.”

    You’ve already written most of it, it seems.

    Now is the time for those timely ideas to be exposed to a wider audience. — Regards.

  • Luke Lea

    Lot of Gore hatred here. Personally I see him more as a scientific and political fool than a knave. Now, George W. — he was a knave!

  • dat

    Here’s hoping this excellent analysis will next be used to explain the shocking abdication of reason America has undertaken in electing a sham whos visible traces and conduct are so outrageously stilted and against our nature that a strata of society lives with a sick feeling in their stomach. Like eroding our civil discourse while endlessly coddling thiose who would kill us and that odd detachment that shows there is no attachment..

  • Hamilton

    William F. Buckley is spinning in his grave. It’s one thing to oppose liberal policies or pretentions, but Mead is arguing for much more. He’s mocking the very idea of a referee – not just on matters of morals or politics, but on all things that touch the public. He seems positively offended that expertise and hard work claim the right to a hearing. Mr. Buckley, I expect, would have considered this the height of liberal lunacy – anti-elitism as the cowardly and cynical flattery of ordinary people.

    If Mr. Mead takes ill, will he go to a doctor for diagnosis or surgery? Or will he surf the web to see what the public has to say about his heart condition or brain tumor?

    On important matters, like global warming, scientists are attacked not with facts or argument, but with flatulent anti-snobbery like Mr. Mead’s. He apparently doesn’t like them because they have too much book-learning, or, more likely, because they prick his insecurities by making him realize he does not know as much as they do. He sounds positively Californian with his poor, bruised feelings. Nature, Mr. Mead, doesn’t care about your feelings.

  • ed

    Why is “whites” not capitalized and “Blacks” is capitalized?

  • Randy

    Was Gore really raised in the South? I thought he was born in DC and lived most of his formative years there with only occasional visits back to his ‘home’ state during his father’s Congressional recesses.

  • Mr. Mead, one of the other reasons that the average person does not trust the old “elites” is explained very well in the book “Reckless Endangerment” by Morgenson & Rosner. It is an excellent analysis of how well-meaning public policy coupled with greed destroyed the financial lives of millions of Americans. It’s the story of the government encouraging home ownership even by people who could not afford it, combined with the political appointees who ran Fannie Mae to enrich themselves, destroying the hopes and dreams of millions in the slow motion train wreck that started in 2008 and is still continuing, thanks to government policies that prolong the agony.

    It’s never the little guy who creates the catastrophes. To bring the financial world to its knees you need the government.

  • Jefferson

    The fact that the “environmental movement” long ago took on the posture, zelotry and intollerance of a securlar religious movemenet can be understood by the fact that young Prince Albert of the Tennassee Valley attended, but never finished, divinity school. The religious characterization is further reinforeced by the additonal fact that, as with all religions, it incorporates a food fettish in the form of the “organic” movement which he’s part of. Gore also attended, but again never finished, law scool, and readers can draw their own conclusion as to the implications of that fact.

  • RIck G

    While it’s true that Al Gore and his entire “theories” have proven to be false and based on corruption for a far different purpose then he professes….the current administration is racing along to implement the plan. And, having great success is doing so.

    It’s not enough for Al Gore to have proven to be a failure. The goal never was to control the weather.

  • aeolus13

    Just so we’re clear, Dr. Meade, you’re not actually saying that anthropogenic climate change is a hoax, correct? You’d at least concede that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists believe that our planet’s climate is changing and that human activity is the primary driver?

    For what it’s worth, I actually agree with a lot of your position. Our planet’s climate is too complex of an entity to allow us to reliably predict what the effects of climate change (and policies to mitigate that change) will be. Even if we could, the sweeping changes recommended by people like Gore are probably not our best option and even if they were, there’s no realistic way we’d get the rest of the world to sign on. Gore’s a buffoon, but the fact that he believes in ACC shouldn’t detract from the massive volume of science supporting it.

  • Hello

    Mead’s perspective is very strange. He either suffers from the delusion that the evidence for man created climate change is no longer evidence, or is perhaps functioning at a higher level, trying to create that reality by saying that it is so.

    This requires a good amount of willful blindness on Mead’s part–let’s hope he’s not driving, apart from any issues regarding climate.

    Here’s Gore’s article. You might find that Mead is twisting Gore’s perspective just a tiny bit. Scientific fact is less fun than armchair psychoanalysis, but the scientific agreement here equals that as is found for best practices, most utilized medical treatments with highly effective outcomes–even as some scientists, as occurs in science, continue to dispute those methods.

    [text of article deleted; interested readers can find Gore’s text through the link in the post at Rolling Stone.]

  • Anna Belle

    I appreciated this article, as I do so many of Mead’s. I think the approach absolutely has something to do with the rejection climate change dogma. However, I think the biggest incident to influence this particular political area was finding out that the well-meaning scientists who were supposed to be delivering the truth on this were actually rather humanely effected by the political discourse of their time–they felt it okay to lie and to exclude voices that disagreed with them. And thus they became just like the wrestlers and less like the referees they saw themselves as. The East Anglia scandal was the real game changer in climate change.

  • Victory69

    Mr Mead seems to be saying Mr. Gore is desperately trying to hang unto his elitism. And he would be right.

  • DeanO

    Gore is a socialist that made millions lying about global warming and the link and effect by man. there is none. calling everyone deniers wont help his image. people can see that the air water and wildlife is thriving more than ever. and most are smart enough to know we havent had major hurricane hit in 4 years. if global warming was getting worst we would see more and more storms not less. And we wouldnt be seeing snow in June in Colorado and califonia.

  • proreason

    I love this article and its insights, but more importantly, would like to commend Mr Mead for what I think is one of the best written essays I’ve read in a long time. I didn’t hear a hint of condescension or ill manners; the whole thing flows perfectly and the overall impression is one of a genuinely informed and intelligent person who sees things just a little more clearly than the average Joe.

    Mr Mead is a cut above the field.

  • Jimmy Boy

    Although his opinions are always well stated, sometimes it doesn’t matter what Mr. Mead is talking about. He is such a wonderful and entertaining writer that his musings are just simply fun to read.

    “Atticus Finch, reporting for duty?” That is a very funny word picture. Thanks Walter.

  • teapartydoc

    Hamilton thinks that we should worship at the feet of “experts”. He mentions surgeons. Well, I am a surgical sub-specialist, an “expert” at a few things, and I have people question my judgments all the time and choose to undertake therapies I have not recommended. Sometimes they are the better for it, sometimes not. I think the days of worshiping at the feet of experts is over, and it is a good thing, too. For one thing, when people are informed of their options and choose a bad one against advice, the transparent way in which the facts are presented renders the expert involved a bit protected, and there is less guilt involved. But the best aspect of this is that when folks are involved in the decision-making process (and this is the key, because the greens want so very desperately to keep popular opinion and judgment out of their bailiwick) they have a stake in making things work out and have an investment, psychologically speaking, in the outcome. The enterprise becomes a team effort. The greens want absolute power, like the old, dictatorial physicians. Mead is right. This way of doing things is dead.

  • Sage0925

    Thank you very much for this series of articles. I’m thinking that you and I may be on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but, nonetheless, it was very well written, and very insightful. ‘Preciate ya!

  • Montjoie

    Gore’s reaction to the wrestling match tells me he’s just stupid. How could anyone not comprehend that the referee is part of the drama? The good guy has everything stacked against him, including the referee, and that makes him the classic underdog Americans love to root for, as well as the good guy. Gore doesn’t get it. He thinks the drama is about the referee.

  • allan west

    You can’t tell a real scientist the truth. You have to prove the truth to him. A proof is a prediction that someone got right about the climate. Were are the proofs? Al Gore says that the debate is over. Did I miss this debate on c-span?

  • Paul Angle

    The AGW crowd just wants your money, to think that humans change the climate is just wrong. Computer predictions, garbage in garbage out. Heck they can’t even get the weather right 5 days in advance.

  • mike in nc

    Got the next meme that will be propagated by our betters.
    There can’t be much more growth, we have used up the Earth’s resources and we already have too much stuff.
    Except we keep finding huge amounts of hydrocarbons, we have just scratched a bit of the skin of the crust.
    Rare earth minerals – bet there will be plenty when we look harder.
    “The world can’t live a middle class lifestyle,” until it does with culture grown beef and reliable nuclear power.
    That’s my guess, already heard it enough.

  • Orson

    aeolus13 says [above]:”the overwhelming majority of climate scientists believe that our planet’s climate is changing and that human activity is the primary driver?”

    Except that that “massive volume of evidence” can’t convince most earth scientists like meteorologists, geologists – indeed most non-climate scientists not on the federal funding bandwagon! Coincidence? No.

    As Lawrence Solomon discovered, nor do most eminent scientists, including Nobel-level scientists. As Freeman Dyson, who worked at Oak Ridge National Labs some years doing early climate modeling says, the dogma of human caused CO2 has become the ruling dogma of climate scientists -and obviously so: most of their skeptical colleagues are very senior or retired like MITs Richard Lindzen or Colorado State University’s William Gray. They cannot benefit from a positive findings about the enhanced greenhouse effect. And if they are there and obvious, why don’t doesn’t these dis-interested scientists all jump on the bandwagon? BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL DUPES OF BIG OIL! Sure, and I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn next to Mead’s place.

  • Greg

    If there was enough evidence of anthropogenic global warming to convince conservatives, what would they do to solve that problem? Would their solution just be damage mitigation, or would they restrict emissions?

  • Cynewulf

    teapartydoc, that was an excellent comment! To further back you up, not that you need it, I’ve noticed that the doctors always seem to be encouraged rather than put off when my wife or I have done some research beforehand, particularly the pediatrician who sees our two kids. As an ESE teacher, I see a similar thing happening in education. It is amazing the difference one sees when the stakeholders have buy-in to the decision that is made.

  • Mikio

    @Charlie — “Nice try, Mikio, but your bribed-to-lie-by-an-oil-company climate scientists do not exist.”

    Nice try? I didn’t even try that. Red herring. You’re trying to sidetrack by having a sub-argument which I let cancel out because it’s irrelevant to my argument that I’ve tried to make as basic and straightforward as I can. I’m arguing that AGW deniers/doubters are dogmatists. Your challenge is to prove me wrong. I mentioned that most fail to show in their first response that they even understood the challenge and, well, you’re exhibit A. *resists urge to say, “Sorry, Charlie”*

    @tty — “A proof based on physics that the temperature sensitivity really is on the order of 3 degrees centigrades per CO2 doubling (rather than about 1 degree, as indicated by ordinary radiation physics)… The source is quite immaterial, as always in science.”

    And I always get one like you, too — someone who basically says their source is the raw data and/or mathematics supporting the climate modeling. First of all, putting aside the Dunning-Kruger pride that virtually all AGW deniers/doubters have who think they’re more informed about climatology than working climatologists, the type of technically-based response like you just gave is a non-answer. Why? Because it’s essentially no different than saying, “I could tell you what could turn me around — prove to me the AGW modeling is accurate” and that’s not naming your trustworthy source as per the challenge.

    You see, the raw data and the mathematics/physics formulae have to come from someone or some group you trust because you can’t travel the globe to collect enough of the raw numbers to plug into the formulae in the first place. Others you trust have to provide the CONVINCING raw numbers, math/physics formulae, and climate modeling techniques for you. So name them.

    Also, I’m not even making a science argument per se. It’s more of a meta-argument above the normal argument involving (attempts at) the science and historical references, unscrupulous motives, conspiracy theorizing and all that and is merely asking for a simple, clear demonstration of quid pro quo non-dogmatism. But I’ll go ahead and dip down into your normal argument just for a bit to appease this once.

    First of all, it would only be 1 degree if you don’t add the feedback effects:

    “With no feedback effects at all, the change would be just 1 degree Celsius, climate scientists agree.” ( http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/explained-climate-sensitivity.html )

    Now, again, if you want the math/physics substantiation, it’s not my job to go get it for you — it’s yours. And if you claim it doesn’t exist, then you’ve just unwittingly given me your answer: there is no source that could convince you tomorrow (as opposed to decades from now) that you’re wrong on this issue, and thus, you’re a dogmatist. That is, if you make that claim.

  • kester strange

    Why any group of people would choose Al Gore
    for a spokesperson is beyond comprehension. He demonstrated his ignorance and buffoonery for eight years as a lacky for Bill Clinton. Any sort of serious movement would be held in greater respect by the public if they would openly disavow any connection with such a clown.

  • Richard P

    Science is not a democracy, as Einstein stated “it takes only one person with an inconvenient fact to prove my theory wrong”. The total number of predictive failures in the AGW theory are so many only a religion could suffer them and survive. One very important one is the the lack of mid-tropospheric hot spot in the tropics, as predicted by the models and theory. It isn’t there! No matter whether you use a radiosonde or satellite measurements. This is jut one of the failed predictions. How many more can it suffer before it is placed in the circular file?

    In my line of work (engineering) a model is a guide and not data. But yet the same models that cannot predict weather 10 days into the future are used as if they are data 100 years from now. Unfortunately for the models the earth has not cooperated with them and cooling may be approaching. Currently the IPPC models from 1999 predictions for the global temps are so far off that the current temps are outside the error bars. With the sun going into a magnetic funk and the number of spots decreasing, we may be headed into either a Dalton or worse Maunder minimum. Unlike Al’s CO2 and Temp chart where CO2 levels changed after the temperature, significant data shows that the temperature follows the magnetic cycles of the sun. I hope the sun does wake up and we don’t have minimums, because cold kills more people than heat. Thus not even the religion of AGW bowing at the Al Gore altar sacrificing energy companies will save us.

  • Charlie

    Sorry, Mikio, I have no interest in proving you wrong about the science of CAGW just as I would have no interest in reading what you say to “prove” the science of CAGW correct. And I certainly have zero interest in your specific question about “AGW deniers” being dogmatists. The real question, as Mr Mead is addressing, is who will be able to make their policy “stick,” and what I’m saying is that your side is blowing it and doing so despite a monumental financial advantage and NINETY PERCENT of CLIMATE SCIENTISTS on your side and yadda yadda.

    I really don’t care what you think about my opinion on that point; we’ll find out soon enough. Not long after that, we’ll find out about you being wrong on the science as well. I can be patient if you can.

  • RichardP

    Miko,

    I have one important question for you.

    What finding or measurement would show the that the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming is false?

  • Cary Bettenhausen

    Did anyone else notice the capitalization of the word “Blacks” and lowercase spellings of “whites” and related terms?

    Coincidental?

  • Eliza Hayes

    The problem with the ‘so-called’ intelligent people is that they don’t know their limitation. No one knows everything about every subject. The intelligent people like Al Gore claims to be talk about fixing problems that they can barely define and your surprised that ‘normal’ people are fed up with people like that.

    And the translation for ‘normal’ people when the ‘intelligent’ people says we need to fix global warming is ching … ching of the cash register. Which means less money for regular people and what make it worst is that the money collected won’t do a darn thing about this planet’s weather.

    Although did you hear the Sun is going through a period with less sun spots. The last time that happened was during the Little Ice Age about a 160 years ago. Doesn’t sound like much we need to worry about Global Warming but that certainly won’t stop the politicians from talking about it.

  • Greg

    @39 I’m not speaking for Miko, but I think the absence of a “hockey stick” would pretty much falsify AGW. If there was no correlation between CO2 concentration and global mean temperature, and if there were no climate feedback mechanisms, then there would be no reason to believe in AGW.

  • Rockyspoon

    I laugh at people who say Climate Change is “settled science”, for if that were the case, it would be the only science saying it. I also laugh at people who say CO2 is a huge problem because the earth hasn’t been warming for about 10 years now and CO2 continues to increase; the correlation is broken, proving the theory false. (Check out what the NOS has to say about our quiescient sun–enough to scare ya!) Also in the past 10 years, many other factors that impact our climate have been identified–as a result we’re looking at the most complicated natural system on earth, and none of it is “settled science”. As a geologist I also laugh at those who would restrict you from looking at the Earth’s past climatic record, for the vast majority of what we’re seeing is natural variation on a 60-yr cycle (there are other cycles of longer and shorter duration, too). In none of this does Al Gore have any understanding whatsoever. That’s his biggest problem–He’s so far out of his depth it flat out insults any intelligent person to read anything Gore has to say about the subject. But this article does a good job of explaining why Gore resorts to a religious–even a cultist approach to the subject in his book An Inconvenient Truth. It explains an awful lot and now I have less respect than ever.

  • Patricia

    The country has moved on, yes. That’s why I call Obama “The Last Liberal.” He has gone all in for an outdated paradigm; the next step is either blue model by force or a dismantling of that model.

  • Rockyspoon

    Richard P: After the NSO made their announcement about our quiescient sun a few weeks ago, I saw one estimate of how it would impact our planet: Within two decades, they expect all the provinces of Canada and all the northern tier of states in the US to experience frost every month of the year. That is catastrophic, should it come true, and certainly nothing caused by too much or too little CO2.

  • Hamilton

    teapartydoc – you don’t seem to realize that you’re supporting my point. You studied medicine long and hard, which is why that patient is in your waiting room in the first place, and not visiting a witch doctor or cutting out the entrails of a goat to see what’s gone wrong. He or she knows you have experience and (I hope) demonstrated ability. You frame the choices for them and provide expert feedback. I hope you listen to them and seriously consider their point of view, but presumably you also exercise judgment; if they ask you to bleed their daughter to let out the evil humors or ask for a prescription of laetrile, I do hope you tell them no.

    Mead isn’t telling people to respect science but not treat the scientists as gods. He’s mocking the very idea of expertise; of physical truth that people are much more likely to apprehend if they’ve taken the years of hard work necessary to apprehend that truth. They’re not gods. But they’re a [heck] of a lot more likely to be right on the science than I am. I might be skeptical, but I wouldn’t likely dismiss them.

    In his haste to flatter public ignorance – at least so long as it says what’s politically correct – he’s simply wrong.

  • Mikio

    @Charlie — “…what I’m saying is that your side is blowing it and doing so despite a monumental financial advantage and NINETY PERCENT of CLIMATE SCIENTISTS on your side and yadda yadda.”

    There is so much untruth and delusional packed into that one sentence there’s no point in parsing it all. It wouldn’t get through to you anyway. I’ll just pick one that I’ve already been talking about and explain it for anyone else who might be reading this since you made it quite clear you’re not interested.

    First of all, it’s 97-98% and that figure is of utmost importance because if it were, say, only 60%, then my argument and personal confidence on the issue drops accordingly. Why? Because I’m a layman, but a rational one, and it makes no sense to trust anyone else more on a complex subject than the relevant experts on the subject. Yet one leg of the AGW denier/doubter argument is that it somehow does make more sense to trust oil company geologists, weathermen, conservative talk show hosts, pundits and politicians than the relevant scientific experts.

    You all focus on Al Gore because you’re trying to bring us down to your level of trusting politicians on this subject more than the relevant top scientists.

    There is no rationality to support this way of thinking and my argument lays bare that irrationality by forcing AGW deniers/doubters to face it. Which they don’t. (And you, Charlie, are no different. You failed to answer the challenge like all the rest.)

    Incidentally, the other leg of the AGW denier/doubter argument is relatively saner in that it at least recognizes that consensus among the top scientific experts in the field IS important, but their tack is to focus on the major whopper of a lie that there is no consensus. I counter this by providing links to peer-reviewed studies showing that the 97-98% consensus is real. AGW deniers/doubters have nothing remotely comparable to counter this with and so they just ignore it and continue with their lie/delusion.

    @RichardP — “I have one important question for you.
    What finding or measurement would show the that the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming is false?”

    That’s nearly the same challenge I put forth. I’ll answer yours after you answer mine which I asked first (not to you directly, but to every AGW denier/doubter reading this thread).

  • DSchoen

    Oh boy, I gotta tell ya a secret.

    Back in 1984 I went to my “A” school at NAS Memphis (which is actually in Millington, but that’s not important).

    “The boy was perplexed: the wrestlers seemed to be really fighting, but the whole thing somehow seemed scripted.”

    This is untrue! The folks in and around Memphis do NOT view “Professional Wrestling” as fake/scripted,…… it is REAL to them.

    On the evening news the results and controversy of “Professional Wrestling” are reported as actual real sports news! Instead of MLB they had “Professional Wrestling”!

    To Al Gore, the Junkyard Dog and Professional Wrestling are real!

  • Kija

    As I read this, Gore is a fool because he believes in out of style things like facts and evidence instead of the popular feelings and emotions.

    Kind of says it all, doesn’t it.

  • Oh Well

    Meanwhile, the main predictions by the climate scientists are coming true. Not that it matters.

    Globally, the temperatures keep rising, 2010 being one of warmest years on record. Weather is becoming more erratic around the globe, this being the most extreme weather year since 1816, the “year without a summer” following the eruption of Mt. Tambora.

    The Arctic ice cap is melting enough for a Northwest passage to have opened up, and Greenland’s ice sheets are melting fast. China’s drought will soon impair that country’s ability to feed itself, and Australia remains on the brink.

    But Al Gore is stuck in the wrong era, so it’s all his fault.

  • bob c

    aeolus13;

    Count me as one who doesn’t “at least concede that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists believe that our planet’s climate is changing and that human activity is the primary driver?”

    Thousands of scientists have registered their disagreement with that notion. The IPCC, Gore and the media have all done their best to keep that quiet. There never was a consensus.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/2053842/Scientists-sign-petition-denying-man-made-global-warming.html

    Your point that “Our planet’s climate is too complex of an entity to allow us to reliably predict what the effects of climate change (and policies to mitigate that change) will be”, is well received. I find it incredible to think that there are people who believe we can reliably and predictably control the climate and resultant weather patterns. There is a level of arrogance there that is stunning.

  • Lavaux

    Hubris and glory lust also explain why elite leftists like Gore and Wilson gravitate towards titanic undertakings like climate change and global government that ultimately crush them. Humble conservatives understand that the left can achieve their goals by planting simple ideas in weak or empty minds.

    Two recent sociological studies show how the left succeeds and how the right fights back. The first study concerns American high school students’ dismal ignorance of civics (i.e. American history, government, and politics). Leftist education elites secure this ignorance by teaching kids that America is not exceptional or unique, is not better or worse than, say, Botswana, and that they’re citizens of the world rather than one country of many. Thus propagandized and robbed of their heritage, American high schoolers will blindly follow popular leftist demagogues like Gore and BHO to their and America’s demise.

    The second study concerns how participating in the patriotic aspects of Independence Day celebrations puts ideas in kids’ heads that eventually bear Republican fruit. Future Republican voters will probably have had parents who taught them that America is exceptional, that its heritage is wonderful, that their love of and pride in this exceptional, wonderful country is good, and that part of what binds us together as Americans is that we share this love and pride. Thus educated, these patriotic Americans will avail themselves of every opportunity to defeat destructive leftist demagogues like BHO and Gore. We’ll see in November 2012 who has captured the youngest demographic and also get a glimpse at America’s political future.

    See, dropping insidious, sinister ideas into little skulls full of mush is the left’s most effective weapon. Problem is, the weapon must be wielded by a disaggregated mass of dupes who usually don’t understand what they’re playing at. Consequently, no one gets the glory for bringing America low. Indeed, since the populace will be entirely ignorant of what a great country America once was, they won’t realize that it’s been brought low. But due to their hubris and lust for glory, this subtle, long-term strategy does not appeal to the likes of Gore and Wilson. Hence, they end up as history’s laughing stocks until it’s rewritten by The Ministry of Truth, whose provenance will be in the victory won by their unknown and uncelebrated fellow travelers.

  • Norman

    Excellent piece Mr. Meade. For some reason I find myself reminded of an observation made by C.S. Lewis in regard to man’s propensity to push his altruism ever further away from his own personal sphere of influence. No need to help the derelict sleeping in your buildings doorway when there are MILLIONS of starving children to feed on the other side of the world. And now, no need to feed those children when the fate of the planet hangs in the balance and those children are part of the problem to begin with. It is ugly, and make no mistake – evil.

    What would make me ‘believe’ in AGW? I haven’t entirely decided. But certainly one of the conditions will be met when I see millions who do believe in AGW voluntarily killing themselves to rid the planet of the resource burden they, themselves logically represent. In absence of that commitment to their own beliefs, I would accept at least some kind of real change to their own lifestyle such as a commitment to non mechanized transportation, zero power usage, and communal agrarian/hunter-gatherer living modes. Until then, I simply wish they would stop lecturing me about my lifestyle, which is in no discernible way any different from their own.

    Keep up the excellent work Mr. Meade – and count me a fan of it.

  • Paul Gross

    Al and I are the same age. I don’t have his background, but was educated in upstate NY, but have spent most of my adult life in the South and have witnessed the evolution that drove the South to the Republican party. Great article but something that you only touched on tangentially is part of Al’s problem. Coming out of college, he and i would have agreed on most things. Unlike him, I went into the business world and saw first hand that Reagan was correct when he opined that the scariest sentence in the language was; “I am from the government and am here to help.” I also realized that I made much better decisions with my money than my government did. Al remained in the bubble that is academia and government life and is convinced that the only reason government solutions do not work is that they didn’t spend enough money or that we are too stupid to understand the solution.

  • Helen Jenkins

    I am waiting, hoping, praying for Americans to get together and bring a CLASS ACTION SUIT against Al Gore for the massive scam perpetrated on the American people – especially, using children to sell his lies. He has become immensely wealthy as a result of this fraud. He should have to use every dime gained through scamming to pay reparations, legal fees and just being both criminal and stupid.

  • JLK

    Dr Mead

    Love the comparison to WW. So few Americans realize that he was one of the most catastrophic politicians in American History.

    Heading off to Europe with his “golden 14 Points in hand he thought he would single-handedly sweep Europe into a new “La Belle Epoque” through his brilliance and idealism.

    What he found is what he SHOULD have expected. A sullen goup of European allies with constituencies baying for (German) blood

    When he found he was too weak a personality to overcome Clemenceau & Co. he “took his mitt and went home.” The great tragedy of a 2nd unnecessary war was a result adding 30-50mil dead to the 12-30 mil (if you add influenza) of the “Great War” just concluded.

    Some of the most poisonous effects of the Versailles Treaty could have been avoided by a more visionary and realistic statesman with strength of character and purpose. The US of all the allies was also in the best position to make that happen.

    What we contrubuted instead was a weak elitist “intellectual” with no clue as to how real people in the real world might think after nearly four years of a ghastly nightmare.

    Fortunately Gore’s worst impact (so far) has been (huge amounts) of money down a rathole and not 50 mil deaths. But if the world finds itself with a different scenario (global cooling created by a quite-possible solar minimum) and the piggy bank has already been raided, then he could look different to historians 100 years from now.
    JLK

  • Charlie

    Dear Mikio, you’ve missed the train.

    Your cause is kaput. Like the grieving nephew who refuses to believe the deceased is actually dead, you stand belligerently in the comment section of a post mortem for your cause throwing out challenges to prove he is not still alive.

    Your cause is dead on the science. It’s got nothing to do with consensus. Point me to an AGW model with predictive value. That’s what science cares about. (The model from the 70s I mentioned in my first post accurately predicted today’s climate with no use of greenhouse gases whatsoever.)

    More to the point, your cause is dead on the politics/economics. Analyses have persuasively shown that even if CAGW is true to the max, the reforms advocated by the likes of Al Gore are still counterproductive.

    Alarmism a la Al has so failed that if now something did emerge truly threatening “life as we know it,” progressives will be the last bunch turned to for leadership. Time to find a new obsession.

  • Walt_Hutchens

    Among the most interesting responses to this most interesting article is that of teapartydoc who says (in effect) “The best way is a collaboration between the patient (or citizen) and the surgeon (or expert).” He’s correct in that, but does not make clear two key points at a higher level: (1) Most certified experts (doctors, auto mechanics, climate change scientists, etc.) are hacks, competent only to pick the right item from a eight-item menu most of the time, and (2) The main reason for the rampant hack-dom is corruption.

    ‘Corruption’ may be in the form of “I get paid to get this wrong” but more commonly it’s just “In one way or another it’s better for me if I don’t look at alternatives to …” ‘Better for me’ can be as simple as “It is too disturbing to consider that I didn’t already know the whole story.”

    For anything important that requires personal action the patient (auto owner, citizen) must do his own study, then search out experts who know more than he does and can explain the majority of his observations. Those who blow by your points are at best doubtful and may be dangerous.

    My most recent painful re-learning of this (in the field of cardiology) may be found here:

    http://heartdisease.about.com/library/community/blwalthutchens.htm

    That narrative ends several years ago: Since then my wife has done just fine with treatment for her endocrine problem. Her heart and lung symptoms have been completely gone for the last few years.

    The point is NOT that a non-expert got it right when all the experts were wrong: I cannot prove that. It is that the views of the experts were chosen from the eight-item menu, lacked predictive value, and the (corrupt) experts were unwilling to consider alternatives. The factors in this corruption were (1) Fear of the patient — more precisely her husband, and (2) loyalty to other doctors and the institution transcending medical ethics. And yes, by not realizing that when the first doctor at a well regarded medical school got it wrong we needed to go elsewhere, I allowed this situation to continue.

    Teapartydoc is no more than one in ten among doctors. If you have an uncommon and apparently dangerous problem you should do your own research in order to reach his waiting room rather than one of the other nine. Most of them mean well but they’ll give you the treatment for the best fit item of their eight-item menu, and if that’s the wrong diagnosis …

    What’s the application to climate change? Since citizens cannot do enough study to chose our climate experts, we should ‘first, do no harm.’ We should consider the environmental/climate effects of human activity but we should not destroy our country’s economy by chasing — literally! — windmills. We could usefully shift more of our energy production toward nuclear and encourage energy efficiency in homes and factories. 56 mpg automobiles? Ummm … Because nearly all further increase in mileage will come from smaller and lighter cars, that depends on how many additional Americans we’re willing to see killed each year in collisions. We should discuss that question before writing a mandate.

    The only thing we can do quickly is trash our society: Unless you believe that would be good for the planet (and our losses don’t matter), we should go cautiously until this UNsettled science, settles.

    This was a remarkable article and the uniformly thoughtful comments are a pleasure!

  • Charlie

    bob c and aeolus 13,

    Mead has focused his series on a good point, how even if Gore and the Alarmists got the science right, they undermined their own cause by getting their credibility and the solutions wrong. This, rather than “the science,” is the fulcrum.

    But the science is wrong too.

    As for consensus: When you see a pro-AGW article, it will often sport twenty names, give or take half a dozen. Two will be climate scientists and one or two will have PhDs in economics or other fields. The rest will be grad students or staffers at agencies, but the big masthead of names makes it look like a lot of believing scientists.

    In any case, consensus has nuttin to do with science. Science is about producing hypotheses and models that explain the facts on the ground better than previous models. So far, the AGW model hasn’t explained a thing, hence, the whole “hide the decline” deception.

    The physics and chemistry of CO2 as a trapper of infra-red photons (heat) has been well understood for more than a century. Among the problems with it being the culprit for all this warming is that it is too reactive. One fifth the concentration still produces 99% of the heat trapping, and multiples of the concentration produces very marginally more heat trapping.

    CO2 is itself readily trapped, by topsoil, by plants, by water including the upper ocean, by ice and so on. Larger volumes are trapped long-term in the lower ocean and in calcareous rock. Famed scientist Freeman Dyson calculated that an additional fingernail’s thickness of topsoil over half the dry surface of the planet would be sufficient to absorb the average annual recent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    Then there’s the fact that previous Warms have been boons. In the Roman and Medieval Warms, agriculture boomed, prosperity increased and there was relative freedom from war, plagues and other scourges. Indeed, as far as plants are concerned, ten or more times the concentration of CO2 would be just dandy. It is not air to breathe for plants but food. Photosynthesis strips the carbon atom off to grow the plant and exhales the oxygen molecule, making our air fresher. Satellite telemetry shows plant biomass growing in direct proportion to CO2 concentration.

    Back when India was slamming into Asia and billions of tons a day of limestone were being crushed, we had ten times or more the concentration of CO2. We also had a worldwide Mediterranean climate with the same species of palms from equator to near the polar circles, but there were no polar caps nor tropical hot spots either, hmmm.

    When it comes to CAGW, the case for the global warming part is weak, the case for the anthropogenic part is weak, and the case for it being catastrophic and being driven by CO2 is really weak. (The case for GW now hangs on a hypothetical concept called back radiation, which physicists are pointing seems to defy the 2nd law of thermodynamics.) In fact, looking at the highly regular periodicity of glacials over the past 400K years, we are 2000 years past due for an ice age. It would be great if we could crank out more CO2 and stave off having mile-thick slabs of ice blanketing our top 15 or 20 states.

    We face real problems, with aerosols and black carbon and a probable new ice age (they come on swiftly). It is therefore doubly a shame to see so many resources chasing after the GW–what was it? Oh, yes, mare’s nest.

  • Richard P

    Miko,

    I do not believe you understand science. Any theory given must be falsifiable, to not be, makes it religion. You are making a claim and a theory, it is your responsibility to provide the tests that are independently verifiable to show than your theory is correct. Einstein made predictions about the bending of light rays around a mass such as the sun. If this does not occur then the theory is falsified. Einstein relied on others to do the tests and interpret the data. No where did he ask that the people only run a simulation, ignore the data, and hide the results just to prove him right.

    So, I ask again what measurement or finding would show that the AGW theory is false?

    It is not my responsibility to prove your theory, it is yours. At work if I make a prediction, the testing must support the theory. If the theory isn’t supported it is the theory that goes not the data. Such a simple question should be easy for you to answer, and I suggest until you do, you haven’t even proved that you understand this basic tenant science.

  • A great read. Your interpretation of Gore and how his thinking relate to the American scene, and the break of the Global-Warming movement as its unrealistic premises became evident is fascinating.

    I’m not sure to what extent this also applies to the rest of the world, where the fall from grace of the Global-Warming movement is very evident. My sense of this is that outside the US Gore was not perceived as a leader but more as a good-to-have promoter of the “cause,” with the cause itself being taken over, gradually, and defined, gradually, by more Socialist-leaning activists. To those activists Gore was always more “tolerable” than a leader. Useful to the cause or, more bluntly, a useful idiot.

    If you look at “Greenpeace” today, for example, it looks less-and-less like a “save the planet” organisation and more-and-more like a “let’s get those capitalistic bastards” kind of thing, directly attacking “dark side” companies as part of a “rebellion” and calling to stop blood covered Barbie from killing the tigers for their fur.

    Part of this is, of course, that while slowly melting, the hard-core activists are taking over the plant, but the crowding out of more moderate activists, mainly interested in preservation and correction (rather than a revolution) has been going on for quite a while.

  • Jack Rail

    Everything you say is so, Mr Mead.

    But where I come from, we sum up Al Gore in fewer words: Snobby sissy.

  • WmShakespeare

    Al liked the days when the gentry could make up something ridiculous — say, that people are making the world hotter — and breeding prevented anybody from calling him on it. He could lie about his daddy being in the front lines of the civil rights battle, and it would pass unnoticed. He could invent the sweet story of being sung to sleep by his mama humming a union song, and the media wouldn’t catch it.

    Yeah, Al, them daze is gawn. Your lies, your make-believe science, your phony indignation — none of it works anymore. That internet you got going doesn’t let you get away with cheesy condescension and [nonsense].

  • NikFromNYC

    Oh Well said: “The Arctic ice cap is melting enough for a Northwest passage to have opened up”

    Today’s view of this summer’s “ice free” Arctic is here:

    tinyurl.com/icefreearctic

    Satellites are now the gold standard of global temperature, not surface and ocean surface temperatures which are not evenly distributed especially in the arctic and on the wide oceans which represents 90+% of the variable heat content of the planet. Here is the UAH (University of Huntsville) satellite temperature record:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah

    The temperature in 1998 will likely not be exceeded again for 50 years as the ocean cycles have recently peaked and turned back down. Here I show the AMO (Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation) vs. global temperature:

    http://k.min.us/ibtB8G.gif

    Weather is *not* becoming more dramatic. Strong tornadoes are on the decline and have been for decades:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/23/more-trauma-in-americas-tornado-hot-zone/

    And only a bad memory or the disadvantage of youth might make you think bad weather is anything new as this old newspaper archive fully demonstrates:

    stevengoddard.wordpress.com/bad-weather

    Arguments like your own, with un-supported claims cannot withstand the light of day.

    Global sea ice extent shows no trend change at all:

    http://i.min.us/idFxzI.jpg

  • Barbara Piper
  • Thad

    @Barbara
    Why is sea level rise stalled out, why do Argo floats show no increase in ocean heat content, why is it NASA says artic sea ice decline is due to wind blowing sea ice into open ocean, why is antarctic ice extent increasing, why did temps rise until 1940 when there was little manmade co2 going into atmosphere and fall from 1940 to 1980 when co2 increased dramatically, why do satellite temp records a step change in temp post-1998 el niño, why did Mann et al have to “hide the decline”, attack “skeptics”, avoid FOI requests, why does an audit of US surface stations find that the majority overstate temps by 2 or more degrees C, etc???

  • Mike

    Grandpa Wally was the first willfully dishonest anchorman, yet he was long (and wrongfully) revered by journalism students who thought “If He can lie for The Cause, why not me?” There’s no doubt a special place in Hell for him…and everyone who tries to emulate him, like Young Master Gore.

  • Barbara Piper

    @Thad
    Who on earth do you imagine I am, fellow? I thought Bob c would be interested in a website about a very specific claim that he makes, and suddenly you seem to think that I am omniscient about climate and weather????!!! What exactly is your game here?

  • Gary Hemminger

    This 3 part series on Gore totally hit the mark. Walter is right on the mark. I am 50 now and have a undergraduate and graduate degrees in the sciences. I am a lifelong democrat. I can’t believe anyone actually fell for this global warming, climate change, whatever they try to call it. The whole thing actually sickens me to think what the outcome might have been. But Walter is right, it never could have happened anyway because the plan was doomed from the start.

    But maybe Walter, you aren’t quite so right. In California there are more rediculous regulations than you can imagine. And the license raj is coming to stay. Some states you have to have a license to interior decorate for God’s sakes!

  • Barbara Piper

    @Gary writes “Some states you have to have a license to interior decorate for God’s sakes!”

    I’m not at all surprised, but I’m not aware of this. In which states will I need a license to decorate the interior of my house(s)?

  • Excellent work!

    An article of ours citing your first piece, now the Australian Greens are pathetically taking a page from Gore:

    Australian Green Party Leader admits Global Warming is Really all about World Government

    http://www.ggarchive.org/articles/green-party.html

  • Richard Treitel

    ISTM that for some time now, the American voters are not looking for, or at least no voting for, a king to rule them or a philosopher to guide them. They’re looking for a celebrity they can worship or for a champion they can cheer on as s/he defends them against their (real or imagined) foes.

    Contrast Gore with Obama, or even Reagan with Palin, and you’ll see what I mean.

  • John Smith

    @Barbara Piper

    The website that claims to blow the hole in the “31,000 Petition” is exactly the type of ill founded smear campaign that people like Gore are responsible for. Who funded that site? Big Green.

    31,000 Scientists and Engineers have signed the document. What does your web site say to that:-

    They aren’t REAL CLIMATE SCIENTISTS. That one is called the High Priest Argument.

    Then the site says it was all funded by Big Oil. Another part of the left’s grand narrative. Thank you for so eloquently demonstrating exactly what this article is about.

  • Barbara Piper

    @John Smith:

    Sorry, pal, it’s not my web site, and I have not endorsed any of it. [Acerbic query deleted in the interests of comity]?

  • Barbara Piper

    Re “Acerbic query deleted in the interests of comity…”

    Fine, but why do these guys assume on no evidence whatsoever that I am one of, or support, the global warming fraudsters? I point to an amusing website, full of [unreliable information], and they attack me! If they think this is the way to win friends for the good fight they are mistaken.

  • Person

    This reminds me of another, very similar work, very relevant to your analysis:

    The Lament of The Long-Lost Smoking Deniers

    By Wallace Randall Mere

    Now that the world has vastly come to an acceptance of the safety of tobacco smoking, some wonder why I continue my deep, probing analysis of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    It is not, as some might claim, that I harbor a deep narcissistic animus, an envy of one who has risen to prominence vastly greater than my own, and as a result, feel the need to devote not one, but three separate pieces to attempt to reach an at least momentary personal equilibrium, however illusory.

    Rather, I am oddly, propelled, again and again, to rise to the impulse that somehow arises within me (again and again…and again) to write about my—excuse me, I mean his failure, because of the light that he sheds on American cultural traditions.

    The tradition I am discussing today is that of the “Tall Tale”. Characterized by circumlocution, embellishment, the use of stylized language to ignore, distort, or otherwise attempt to deny evidence, and ultimately, by the context of the utterly false, dishonest, self-serving, and humorous nature of the claims within the “tale”, “Tall Tales” represent a tradition seen across the nation, from that of John Henry, arising put of West Virginia, who battled a mightier opponent, a steam engine, only to “die with a hammer in his hand”, to the Tennesee Congressman Davy Crockett, whose real-life acts were embellished into greater and greater myth by others after his life.

    Bloomberg’s claims that smoking tobacco can cause lung cancer, now, of course, well-understood as false, lay firmly within this tradition of the “tall tale”.

    What caused the rapid decline of Bloomberg’s claims? Why did so called “cancer science” fall so quickly, rapidly, flaccidly?

    This can largely be attributed to the almost unwitting inculcation by Bloomberg of the tropes of the New York media.

    Weaned on a worldview that, dominant in its time, is rapidly being outpaced by a narrative that one can see in its full, sweeping embrace in that handful of blog posts that, I must humbly note, we now recognize as the central pillars of modern thought and scientific analysis, Bloomberg not only internalized this media worldview fully, but became one of its most successful–excuse me, notorious exponents.

    One can hardly blame Bloomberg for taking in a worldview based on such quaint, Manhattanite notions as “the scientific method”. He was immersed in the culture of evidence and fact, and could hardly escape its all-too-apparent fading, waning influence.

    As if blinded by his own narcissistic immersion, he could not allow himself to see the place of “smoking science” in that tradition of “Tall Tales” that would inexorably arise in the face of fact and evidence. In a way, we must view Bloomberg as a sad, almost tragic figure. The evidence of failure all around him–yet still pouring out the bombast of a faded, now hopeless promise, like the smoke that he once so foolishly adjudged.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      Nice try, but you confirm my point. I attack greens for policy ideas that are so unrealistic that they will never be adopted, much less ever work. The response is “You are denying science!”

      No — to say that the Kellog Briand Pact won’t stop war isn’t to say that wars don’t happen or that they aren’t dangerous.

      The leap from “the problem is bad” to “this solution will work” is where the greens go totally off the rails.

  • Randy

    Dr. M,

    This week Gore has launched his, uh, “Climate Reality Project”. No word on whether this is in the spirit of the “Peterman Reality Tours” Kramer organized on Seinfeld.

  • If most Americans were half as smart as algore thinks he is, they would be twice as dumb as they are.This is a perfect example of someone that never actually did anything becoming an expert on everything.I used to think Americans were just trusting but now I know we are just dumb.
    If breathing required brain power,most of the ‘folks’ in America would be dead.(or democrats-actually,much worse)

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service