Thursday, June 15, 2006

Beware of using Holocaust language

Jonah Goldberg makes a great point about Al Gore's crusade against global warming. Gore has described global warming in terms parallel to the talking about the Holocaust.
Gore is both serious and consistent on this point. In his 1992 book “Earth in the Balance,” he wrote that “today the evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin.” He repeatedly refers to the unfolding ecological holocaust” and invokes Martin Niemoller’s famous quote (“When the Nazis came for the Communists, I remained silent; I was not a Communist. ... When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; I was not a Jew. ...”) to label himself and other environmentalists “the new resistance.”

In “An Inconvenient Truth” and in interviews, Gore sticks to his guns. He quotes Churchill’s warning about the gathering storm of fascism and declares: “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequence.”
But, Goldberg asks, if addressing the crisis of global warming demands the same diligence and dedication that fighting the Nazis demanded, why isn't Gore proposing similar sacrifices today to fight global warming? For a start, they should be out there denouncing the movie Cars for glorifying the weapons of mass destruction that cars are in this global crisis. They should be campaigning against NASCAR. But, of course, they won't be doing these things because it would be political suicide. So, now we know where they draw the line. They'll talk a good game, but they won't actually propose anything or say anything that would offend potential voters. As Goldberg writes,
Once you compare a problem to the Holocaust — even remotely — you’ve lost your moral wiggle room. No politician, indeed no responsible person in this country, would endorse a comedic cartoon about genocide, never mind take their children to it. Give PETA credit. While it repugnantly compares the raising of chickens and cattle to Auschwitz, the organization at least has the courage of its convictions, and protests virtually everything that treats animals as anything less than people.

Environmentalists like Gore who invoke the Holocaust are too afraid to follow through. They want all the credit for denouncing what they consider a moral horror, but they’re unwilling to actually face the real consequences of their rhetoric. I don’t believe global warming is akin to the Holocaust. But if I did, I’d like to think I’d have more courage about it than Gore is showing.