Fear the ManBearPig

South Park, a show I have seen just enough to appreciate at a distance, once spoofed Al Gore for spreading fear about the ManBearPig, a mythical creature that..well, you can guess the rest. The real Al Gore is much less admirable, now reduced to sputtering about global warming even as the rest of the country comes to its collective senses and retreats from the hysteria.

It is not pretty to see a grown man so oblivious to his own hypocrisy and unwilling to adjust his thinking to accommodate reality. After recently flipping out about global warming skeptics, his encore came with a degree of bald cynicism that rivals the most artful con. Doubting global warming orthodoxy is like…racism!

If you, like me, believe that there is a hell of a lot we don’t know about weather trends and that we might just want to think it through before we destroy our economy with ill-advised public policy, you are as bad as a flaming racist. Bet you didn’t know that.

Hearing Gore compare skeptics to the firehose-wielding Bull Connor attacking civil rights demonstrators is despicable. It demeans people whose purpose, eliminating segregation in public facilities, was nobility on a level Al Gore cannot fathom. Since he is unable to win warming arguments on their merits (Gore consistently refuses to talk to doubters in public) he is reduced to invoking a powerful (and inappropriate) emotional metaphor instead.

The disturbing thing about Al Gore is not that he will profit tremendously from companies that are subsidized in the name of being “green.” That is part and parcel of the cesspool of influence that is Washington. I don’t condone it, but it no longer surprises me. The real kicker is the shameless way in which Gore conducts his campaign. He makes no pretense of considering the other side, instead insisting on its silence. At a time when intelligent debate is sorely needed on public policy questions, Gore harangues the press to ignore skeptics and the public to start a grassroots movement to eliminate them conversationally one by one.

Of course, Big Al has every right to try all this, just as we skeptics have every right to challenge back. I say, “Bring it!” So next time a Warmer confronts you, have ready a couple of simple questions. Here are some to get you started:

1) Why, specifically, do you believe that the Earth is warming? (ManBearPig answers disallowed.)

2) To what degree do you believe that warming, if it exists, is due to human activity? Why do you believe that?

3) If carbon emissions were reduced in the manner that Al Gore and others propose, what effect would it have on our economy? On the economies of Third World nations?

4) In what manner have you weighed the tradeoffs involved in economic growth versus public policies that force reduced carbon emissions? What standard of values did you use as criteria?

That should keep them busy for a while. In the meantime, let’s all remember Hippocrates admonition to first do no harm. It is monumentally stupid to race about maiming this industry and destroying that one on the basis of what we know now. When the Warmers have cooled it enough to answer questions like the above intelligently, we may want to engage them in a fruitful debate about what, if anything, we should do about ManBearPig.

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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1 Response to Fear the ManBearPig

  1. Cole says:

    Great points Terry! The greater the lie the more inconceivable it is to the masses that it cannot be true. Be careful, If Al finds out your are thinking for yourself he will have you sent for “Green Re-education”


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