Friday, October 22, 2010

the "James Cameron: Hypocrite" YouTube video

If you haven't yet seen the "James Cameron: Hypocrite" video on YouTube, do yourself a favor and watch it now.

The video points out that acclaimed/vilified movie director James Cameron has been preaching a gospel of frugal, green living despite owning three massive houses (no solar, no windmills) and an armada of green-unfriendly possessions ranging from sports cars to Ducati bikes to submarines.

I admit the video gave me a chuckle, but once I stopped to ponder its message, I had to wonder: what was the message? If the message was simply that James Cameron is a hypocrite, then I can get behind that. The video makes this narrow point quite well, and perhaps this is the only point the video is trying to make-- hence its title.

But if the ulterior motive behind the video is to discredit arguments for green living, then the video is a 2.25-minute-long genetic fallacy. James Cameron might very well be a hypocrite, but this has no bearing on whether his advocacy of greener living holds water. The arguments for greener living need to be assessed on their own merits, not according to whether they've been forwarded by hypocrites.

Beware the seductive power of sound and light!



Charles said...

I don't think the ulterior motive is to discredit arguments for green living. I think the message is pretty straightforward: many of the people who tend to shout loudest for change are themselves unwilling to make those changes. It's a wake-up call: we can talk all we want about change, but if we really want that change to happen, it needs to start with us.

I suppose if one is cynical, one could see this as an argument against green living: "Oh, no one *really* wants change, so it's pointless to try." On the other hand, one could watch this video and think, "Am I a hypocrite, too?" The bigger they are the harder they fall, and James Cameron is a huge hypocrite because of the huge amount of wealth and influence he possesses. It's harder for us to be as noticeably hypocritical because we do not possess as much wealth and influence.

But if we measure hypocrisy relatively rather than absolutely, are we any less hypocritical than James Cameron? Put differently: if we had the amount of wealth and influence that James Cameron possesses, how would we live? (Speaking for myself, I know for sure I'd at least have a yacht. And a fleet of submarines? Sure, why not?)

At least that's what I was thinking while I watched the video. It is just as likely that I am naive.

John said...

I'm kinda with the ol' Instapundit on this one. He's wont to say "I'll believe there is a climate emergency when the folks claiming there is start acting like it."

So, in that sense it is not so much hypocrisy as it is revelatory of the greenies' true beliefs. I mean, it's pretty funny when the UN conference on warming host city has to close the airport because the Lear jets have overflowed the tarmac. Not to mention having to ship in stretch limos from hundreds of miles away to accommodate those paragons of Earth loving virtue.

Cameron is just one more reason I remain in the skeptic category.

Charles said...

But isn't that precisely what Kevin was talking about when he raised the possibility that "this video is a 2.25-minute-long genetic fallacy"? Just because the greenies don't have the courage of their convictions doesn't necessarily mean that climate change is not true.