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Monday, January 07, 2013

Hollow Men in a Hollow Earth

We still think of idealists as men in worn coats sleeping on cots in cold basements. Those sorts of men can still be found, but the basements are the old digs of an evicted Latino 7th Day Adventist Church with the paint scraped off to expose the fashionably bare brickwork and go for $2,500 a month on the wrong side of the Williamsburg Bridge strewn with cots from IKEA and kept cold as a statement about Global Warming. Their shivering denizens work profitably at an environmental non-profit as social media managers in the great national and international network of the left.

Five years later they're living in a posh bedroom community in Jersey as the heads of some shell organization aimed at young people that's funded by mysterious family foundations and angling for a job in D.C. advising a Senator or a Cabinet member on the environment. If not they'll have to settle for a gig at some Green consultancy telling old timey corporations on how they can get sustainable to win over the kids and score some sweet tax breaks.

If they're truly lucky, the dedicated idealist may even earn a chance to ghostwrite Al Gore's next book about the environment. At parties, they'll take out a pristine copy of the New York Times bestseller, a status it achieved through the efforts of social media managers who coordinated mass buying efforts followed by mass returns for zero net profit but maximum status, whose cover features Gore gazing contemplatively at the Earth, and whisper to the person they're trying to impress. "I wrote that."

Idealism is a brand now, and few men have profited from it as thoroughly as Albert Arnold Gore Jr. Where former presidents Carter and Clinton dashed to different philanthropies around the world, Gore, true to his stodgy unimaginative image invested in one brand of idealism. Environmentalism. Carter could have his houses and Clinton could sit in luxurious hotel rooms in Haiti counting all that aid money, but Gore, like the intrepid tobacco farmer he was, bet everything on the whole planet.

In the 90s, environmentalism was just one of many stocks in the rainbow market of liberalism, alongside AIDS, racism, sexism and world hunger. A good MTV VJ could manage to incorporate all five into a hope for world peace, followed by a grunge band, a rap video and a series of seizures. And environmentalism was still limited to saving cute animals and being angry at oil companies for being all about the oil.

Al Gore's environmentalism seemed as boring as everything else about him. It was fitting that a man with the bearing and personality of a tree would spend all his time yammering on about trees. But then a series of Mayan tablets predicting the destruction of the North Pole by 2007 or 2012 or 2092 came into the possession of a humble former Vice President and everything changed.

Racism was bad, but it wouldn't kill everyone. Neither would AIDS. World Hunger was something for the Africans to worry about. But Global Warming brought back Armageddon in a big way. Like the Cold War, cold basements or bungee jumping, it reminded the numbed children of privilege that they could die at any moment. And it stroked their egos by telling them that, just like in all their favorite Saturday Morning Cartoons, only they could save the world.

Al Gore, like many a bearded prophet, had gone to his mansion in the wilderness of Belle Meade (median income $194,016) and returned with pie charts and cockamamie theories made up by other people that would make him extremely rich. Idealism was a brand, and unlike Clinton, Gore seemed sincere, if only because he came off as too unimaginative not to be.

With luxury goods, the brand is also the product, and environmentalism is the ultimate luxury good. Luxury products are at their most profitable when marketing intangibles. Flying over calf leather from Italy is expensive. Giving American leather a fancy name is cheap. Environmentalism is much the same. The real commodity being sold is a particular state of mind and membership in an exclusive club.

Capitalism made luxury hard work by making everything cheap. Suddenly it wasn't enough to just lie in bed and order the butler to bring you exotic pomegranates from the Orient and champagne from the vineyards of France. Those things could be found in any supermarket courtesy of the jet plane. Status stopped being a lazy man or woman's game and became a frenzied rat race. Fat was out and hyperactive workouts were in. Anyone could afford good art, so those with discerning taste chose bad art. Anyone could vacation abroad, so they bought old farm houses, restored them and painted bad art while trying to grow their own food.

Status itself became a sign of a lack of status. Anyone could buy a suit, so the occupations of the rich became those where you did not have to wear a suit, where you could become very wealthy while wearing jeans, a hoodie and sneakers. The grandsons and granddaughters of the nouveau riche relearned the old lessons of the upper crust that displays of wealth were vulgar and status lay in a self-conscious lack of it. When everyone has cars, you ride a bike. When everyone can afford steak, you buy a thimble cup of 200 dollar organic magic beans. When everyone wants things, you show how little you need things by convincing everyone to go Gandhi and give up things.

Environmentalism was the ur-brand of philanthropy. A philanthropy as big as the planet for a cause so generous that it was completely anti-materialistic. And like all luxury, it was also hugely and obscenely profitable.

While his rival was getting tangled in Iraq, Al Gore was becoming the Giorgio Armani of environmentalism. And environmentalism was much bigger than men's coats or women's shoes. It was a lifestyle, a cause and a movie deal. It was everything.

Causes are like copyrights. A company that believes in a cause, donates money from its profits to the cause. Sometimes that's explicit, as with the Red label, mostly it happens behind the scenes. But the green label is everywhere, on the product and behind the scenes. It's the lifestyle that says you like to buy things, but you also care about the planet. It says that you're a modern sensitive person who loves the peasants of Guatemala and the ice of the South Pole. And just like buying a silver vest covered in diamonds, it says that you shouldn't be allowed out of the house with money.

But environmentalism is bigger than all this. It's not just green toilet paper and recycled rubber shoes, washing machines that don't work and recycling carts with usage meters on them. It's numbers. And the numbers are really big.

Money used to be gold, now it's numbers. The digitization of all things, art, poetry and music are just drops in the great numbersphere. The flood is in the financials where everything is imaginary and has value until the economy is one great numbers game. Environmentalism is one more layer of numbers in a numbers game where social justice sells homes that people can't afford and then sells the debt and then the debt of the debt.

In the post-modern economy everything is stripped down to its definitions, monetized, hollowed out and resold as an investment to funds and persons scrambling to outrun inflation by investing in consensually real unreal investments. Environmentalism, like all idealism for hire, sells out the one thing that it stands for...  the right to pollute.

The right to pollute is not a small thing in a world where exhalation is pollution. The right to pollute means the right to drive a car, build a factory, buy non-local produce, eat a burger, fly to Miami and exhale. It is nothing less than the right to live.

Communism criminalized commerce and then legalized it on its terms. Environmentalism criminalizes life and legalizes it on its terms. The terms are paying a tribute to one of the many green companies owned wholly or partially by Al Gore and his merry band of green investors who steal from the rich and give to the even richer, and steal from the poor and give to the Gore..

Idealism is a commodity and when the investment comes due, you sell out in exchange for power and profit. One minute you're standing in front of a spreadsheet of a quarter ton of cow farts a minute being emitted by the livestock of New Zealand which, you claim, spells imminent doom for all the ice on the planet, and the next minute you're opening a business to sell pollution indulgences to the environmentally minded who want to fly to Fiji on a first class moral ticket.

One minute you're warning about fossil fuels and the next minute you're selling your news channel  to a Middle Eastern oil tyranny for 500 million bucks. And you're doing it because idealism is a commodity to be cashed in for a tidy profit right before tax season. The longer you allow your idealism to appreciate, in the eyes of others, the more money you can make cashing it out.

Al Gore sold access to China and made campaign calls from the White House because there was no legal controlling authority that said he couldn't. He claimed that he invented the internet because there was no one, except a million comedians, to say that he didn't. He claimed that his relationship with his wife inspired Love Story, because when you lie all the time,what's one more lie?

The Gore lost the election, went into the wilderness of Belle Meade and came out with the revelation that it's time to drop all the little lies and stick to one big one. Forget claiming that you invented the comma and the cocoa bean while on a conference call with Isaac Newton and just focus on warning everyone that the planet is about to explode. A lie as big as a planet. A lie that was too big to fail.

Gore monetized that lie, he took it to every bank on the planet and then he took it to every cable company and convinced them to give him access to 40 million American homes so that he could tell them that the planet was about to blow up. And just as he had at the White House, Al Gore cashed out that access and sold it to an enemy nation.

There are idealists who sell out and become hollow men, and there are hollow men who pretend to be idealists. Gore is a hollow man selling someone else's alarmist hollow earth theory so he can make it to the next stage of a career that has no meaning or purpose. Like most professional idealists, Al Gore cares for nothing except money. Having sold out so many times, his only idea is to keep doing it again and again.

The professional idealist is a hollow man. A soulless man who is tasked with convincing everyone of the existence of the thing that he does not have. The left has created an endless number of professional openings for such soulless men, for paid liars and faithless tricksters, who live only to convince the world that they believe just long enough for them to sell out one more time.

36 comments:

mindRider said...

One beautiful new thought-painting on an ugly and disturbing subject every day, how do you manage?

Anonymous said...

This is one good essay. Really first rate.
Congratulations
Dave S

ikaika said...

Brilliant!
The enviro-whackos defended their Goracle with a zeal not seen since the self-flagellation of the middle ages.
The tipping point was the "Concert for Climate Change"
in the Meadowlands - about 3 miles from the cogeneration plants and petroleum refineries.
As if packing 30,000 blithering idiots from a summer traffic jam into a stadium full of "Green" refuse wasn't the biggest tell.
The stage was made of used tires "as advertised!". Not that the tires were destroyed and rendered into an attractive usable and practical material, but as if a colony of failed craft merchants decided to hand-paint a bunch of tires that were better off in one of the various Tire Yards off McCarter Highway in Newark.
But Bon Jovi told us it was the right thing to do... and all those that sang of the melting planet encouraged a "peace-sign" from the crowd when greasy Al was to lecture the audience about the desires of his cult.
He held a gun to the globe and demanded ransom.
He got his sack of money and his Rolling Stone cover. Al Jazeera will no doubt continue the Current TV legacy and have Michael Moore Documentary Marathons and liberal guilt fests. Hey, Maybe even Cenk Uygar and the Young Turks can bathe in some Oil Money too?
As long as the Link network with the creepy self-ordained "reporter" and self-loathing yehudi - Amy Goodman is still true to the cause.
It's funny that the ultra-left underground space became crowded. Poor Amy... she had to resort to getting arrested to get her soap-box back.
Al Gore will have a legacy just like L Ron Hubbard and twice as religious.

Mr ED said...

"The most important duty in life is to assume a pose. What the second most important duty is, no one has yet found out"

From the movie Velvet Goldmine

Anonymous said...

Really and outstanding essay. Thank you so much.

BlackandBlue

Anonymous said...

an unbelievably cruel essay that attacks a good man with a true heart where the environment is concerned...what? we're not supposed to care about the planet? is it Al's fault that the problems are so big that any attempt to tackle them is seen as wacko? I'll never forgive nor forget you wrote this piece of garbage...this article consigns you to hell in my opinion...the only reason we are here is be caretakers over G-d's glorious works...

S. P. said...

"Five years later they're living in a posh bedroom community in Jersey as the heads of some shell organization aimed at young people" you said.

Proof? Substantiate this?
I normally enjoy articles here but,of late much speculation not enough facts.

Gayle said...

A self-proclaimed messiah, shown for the shabby flim-flam carnie he really is.

I'm kind of surprised at the dearth of true believers you've managed to entice out of the woodwork on this :)

Anonymous said...

Algores partner in his failed media outlet--now owned by Al Jazeera-- is Joel Hyatt--"American" "Jewish" son-in-law of deceased (thank god) Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-OH?

Anything to say about "American" Jewish behavior, Sultan?

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Same thing you have to say about Al Gore, a Baptist.

Liberals are liberals, irrespective of religion.

Anonymous said...

Your work is some of the most insightful, quality stuff out there! I always look forward to your next piece. Thank you.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

mindRider, by coming at it from new angles

Dave, thank you

ikaika, Ron and Al have some things in common, but Al is mainly an enabler. A useful profiteer.

Mr. Ed, politics and music

Anonymous, how do you care for a planet?

Gayle, I was surprised that any of them were still reading me

Anonymous 3, thank you

Anonymous said...

I love your commentary. It either clarifies an opinion I already have or introduces me to a new
one that I had not given any thought to.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi:

I agree with everything nasty you say about Al Gore et al here - but not with what you say about the environmental movement. When thinking about the latter you need to differentiate the people who, like Gore at al, use environmentalism to sell themselves from the true believers.

To understand where the true believers are coming from, and why they're totally wrong, read this:

http://www.winface.com/amt/green.html

Paul Murphy
winface.com

Kelly Thomas said...

This is beautifully written essay.

I own a coffeehouse/bookstore in Nicaragua and I refuse to use to go cups (unless I have a few clean glass jars available) because I do not want to see my trash on the beach. besides, everyone should have five minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee. A few years ago, the President of the Carbon Exchange Fund (?) in Nicaragua came into my shop and asked for take out coffee. We explained our policy and there were no jars available at that moment. He said we should use recycled cups from corn cobs, but we explained that it was still an environmental impact because recycled or not, there was manufacturing, marketing, transportation and finance involved in the project, whereas sitting down for five minutes and having drink in a pretty cup that is washed with soap and water and not a dishwasher had a much smaller footprint. He agreed - and then he walked down the street and bought a beverage in a plastic cup to take with him on the bus back to Managua. He tells people that carbon dioxide is evil and yet this supposed environmentalist did not carry a metal or glass water bottle with him for traveling. I do not think he owned one at the time, and if he does now, only because it is trendy.

I can see why he supports Al Gore, a man who does not live what he preaches.

Anonymous said...

...I think Paul Murphy has it right...I worked for the US Government for over two decades as a (ha,..wait for it!)..."federally protected whistle-blower"..and you would not imagine how corrupt your government is....the real problem lies in the fact that true environmental destruction is hidden, covered up and ignored ...by the government who is supposed to be working on ways to improve / limit mankind's impact on the planet...then you have shills like Al Gore selling crap through his (while in office)...pre-arranged corrupt business dealings...they are all corrupt....and only concerned with getting what they can now...

Regards,

RJ O'Guillory
Author-
Webster Groves-The Life of an Insane Family

Anonymous said...

"Environmentalism criminalizes life...."

You have a very odd definition for the word "life". It would be more accurate to use the word "lifestyle" and, at that, only a certain type of lifestyle.

careyrowland said...

Daniel
"Pollution indulgences."
I've heard it all now, and the cyclical nature of human banality is newly revealed.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Kelly, they want the form of the cause, not its substance

Anonymous, I would call exhalation more life than lifestyle.

RJ O'Guillory, all that is true of course

Anonymous said...

Al Gore, married to a decent woman, Tipper. She had the good sense to leave him, because his teh crazee was too much for a good woman to endure. There was no oath strong enough to keep their marriage alive, and not enough money in the world to pay
Tipper to stick around any longer.

To know Al Gore, follow the money; an easy, shallow trail. To truly understand Al Gore, talk to Tipper.

Anonymous said...

Magnificent! Well said - should be in the newspapers, but then it wouldn't be understood by the Jim Jones-minded brain-dead of the Left (like 'anonymous' up here).

Anonymous said...

Human history is a story of charlatans, scammers, and snakes who have thought up new ways to enrich themselves. Gore is merely one of these thousands. He is the Bernie Madoff of global warming. And they say a sucker is born every minute. Millions of suckers have fallen for the man-made global warming scam just as many millions fell for the 1970's global cooling scam and more will fall for the future scams as well.

Elaine

Anonymous said...

Possibly the best break down I have read. Well done. This will be the first of many times I visit your blog.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

glad to hear that

F. said...

Nobody has ever offered a more succinct indictment of the global warming hoax than H. L. Mencken, who said: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

F. Swemson

http://www.swemson.com/upl/iceage.jpg

Middlekens said...

Where are the brave ones who will publicly and vehemently state the one and only cause of environmental problems -- too **** many people.

Capitalism and heavy energy usage would disappear if the world's population was slashed by 75% overnight.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

... or by 100%

The Old Man in the Cave said...

I never understood how such debbie-downer alarmism could make people like Gore feel so good.

1389 said...

Meanwhile, I, who am anything but an idealist and never claim to be, am living in an old RV and eating ramen noodles and canned food from the dollar store.

As Tevye the milkman said, it's no shame to be poor, but it's no great honor either.

He had that right.

Some dude said...

I really liked the comments on this post. But it's also a bit sad. It would be so beautiful if we could have a government composed of honest, common sense men that were neither corrupt nor fanatical.

@Kelly

That was a very beautiful story. You are right, we all have 5 minutes to drink coffee from a nice cup. You are so right.

If I ever go to Nicaragua, I hope I get a cup of coffee from your shop.

Some dude said...

@Daniel

The actual number is more along 94% of the population

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Guidestones

Anonymous said...

These environmentalists irritate me. For all of their claims of love and concern for "the planet" and "environment" they avoid naming the planet--Earth. The whole "this planet" thing really gets under my skin.

Earth is unique and capable of sustaining life, all life, most importantly human life. I am all for reducing pollution but sucking the life and beauty of the Earth by dismissing it as any ordinary, nameless planet...big turn off.

Besides, it's hard to take the global warming theory seriously when so many weather reports where I live include the phrase "due to an arctic cold blast." I know what to expect from that arctic cold blast.

Keliata

Anonymous said...

I've also grown to dislike the word recycle, one of the buzz words of the environmentalists.

When I was in college a student tried to get people to sign up as organ donors. I won't state my personal views on that but the t-shirt this girl was selling to promote organ transplantation had "recycle your life. become an organ donor."


I will never forget that as long as I live. It's impossible to view my life as a collection of body parts that can and should be harvested and recycled.

Each time I hear or read something about recycling garbage that "recycle your life" phrase pops into my head. I know organ transplantation services no longer use that phrase but seeing the slogan imprinted on a t-shirt left a lasting impression and it wasn't a good one.

Recycle your life...at a college with such a large number of health professions programs.

Off topic, I know, but these things always come to mind when I think about environmentalists, their theories and motives.

Add politics and money to the equation and it gets even more disturbing.


Keliata

Seerak said...

Capitalism and heavy energy usage would disappear if the world's population was slashed by 75% overnight.

Who do you propose we eliminate first, Fuehrer Middlekens?

Anonymous said...

You didn't even mention his little side project of saving us from Rock and Roll

Dan B said...

This is one of the best essays I've read in quite a while. Fantastic!

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