Blogger Ann Althouse received a trenchant comment on her post chiding New York Times columnist Nick Kristof for flying to Easter Island so he could deliver a metaphorical warning about climate change. Noting that Kristof could have leaned all he needed to learn about Easter Island’s well-documented environmental catastrophe without flying halfway around the world by jet, she wrote,
“How on earth….did Nicholas Kristof think he could get away with that sanctimony?! DO NOT LECTURE US! Let your example come first, and then you can talk. You flew to Easter Island — you led a tour, enticing others to fly to Easter Island — so obviously, you think nothing of your carbon footprint or the carbon footprint of all those other people who jetted out there with you. When your actions are so radically different from your words, I don’t believe your words. The depredations of global warming may be coming, but I don’t believe that you believe it.”
Bingo. But Althouse commenter JPS really nails it, writing [remember, AGW is Anthropogenic Global Warming),
“so obviously, you think nothing of your carbon footprint….When your actions are so radically different from your words, I don’t believe your words.”
It’s like this:
Trump, Bjorn Lomberg or other AGW semi-skeptics: “Why should we limit our use of energy? It won’t make the slightest bit of difference as long as India, China and everyone else go on burning all the fossil fuels they want!
Concerned AGW believer: “This is the problem! You are the reason we’re not making any progress toward averting this obvious disaster!”
AGW semi-skeptic: “Wow, look at you, lecturing us all about our carbon footprints while you jet all over the world.”
Concerned AGW believer: “Look, come on. If I cut out everything I do, it wouldn’t make any difference as long as you’re all free to go on burning fossil fuels like it doesn’t matter.”
People call Althouse a conservative for making observations like this. Obviously the same thing happens to me. This post, and the Althouse post it’s based on isn’t conservative; it shouldn’t have any ideological content at all. We should pay attention to facts and the analysis of facts performed without conflicts, bias or dishonesty. Not pointing out conflicts, bias or dishonesty because it weakens a position that you, your tribe or your “team” have a personal or ideological stake in being proved true isn’t the act of a good partisan, it’s the act of an unethical human being.