My favorite new blogger is the pseudonymous Sub Specie Æternitatis, who I discovered when he left a particularly thoughtful comment on the Fair and Balanced thread here at The Big Questions. A little Google-stalking later, I was immersed in his blog. Before much longer, I was in love with it.
Not only is Æternitatis a great writer; he’s also a gracious colleague who (after I introduced myself by email) agreed to let me reprint one of his incisive commentaries as a guest post here. So without further ado:
It is reported that former Vice President Al Gore just purchased a villa in Montecito, California for $8.875 million. The exact address is not revealed, but Montecito is a relatively narrow strip bordering the Pacific Ocean. So its minimum elevation above sea level is 0 feet, while its overall elevation is variously reported at 50ft and 180ft.
At the same time, Mr. Gore prominently sponsors a campaign and award-winning movie that warns that, due to Global Warming, we can expect to see nearby ocean-front locations, such as San Francisco, largely under water. The elevation of San Francisco is variously reported at 52ft up to high of 925ft.
There being very little reason to suppose that the Pacific Ocean would (or could) rise much less in Montecito than in San Francisco, it follows that Mr. Gore just paid nearly $9 million for property, which according to his professed beliefs, will likely soon be literally under water and hence worthless both as a residence and for resale.
The possible explanations for such behavior are few. One is that Mr. Gore willingly invests millions of his own dollars in property he soon believes to be worthless. That seems very difficult to reconcile with Mr. Gore’s past history as it would require a degree of either extreme stupidity, eccentricity, or clinical mental defect inconsistent with that history, even under the most cynical realistic assumptions about the relationship between worldly success and mental aptitude.
In fact, the only explanation I can think of is that Mr. Gore is a self-conscious, witting liar who does not actually believe his predictions of doom, but nevertheless cynically peddles them for pecuniary or psychic gain. In short, it appears that Mr. Gore is a fraud, not in the sense all of us like to accuse our political enemies to be, but in the most dispassionate, common-sense meaning of the term.
Please note that this is far stronger evidence of Mr. Gore’s lack of sincerity than his willingness to engage in a very carbon-intensive life-style of multiple mansions, private jets, and the like. It is perfectly possible to sincerely believe in Global Warming and yet conclude that one’s own personal contributions are so small compared to the size of the problem that one nonetheless indulges in the comforts one finds so dear. That is not admirable. But it is a common human failing and can be logically consistent with a sincere belief in the problem.
However, it is impossible for a rational person to both believe in imminent rise of sea levels and purchase ocean-front property with their own money, as Mr. Gore has just done.