Al Gore is said to be our leading green activist, and the Steyer brothers the most preeminent green political donors. But do they really believe in reducing carbon emissions to cool down the planet?
Not really. The latter made much of their fortune in the sort of high-stakes speculations that the Left supposedly despises. Many of their financial payoffs derived from promoting coal burning abroad, of the sort most liberals wish to stop.
As for Gore, he cannot really believe in big green government or he would not have tried to beat the capital-gains tax hike when he peddled his failed cable network to a petrodollar-rich Al Jazeera, whose cash comes from the very sources of energy that Gore claims he hates. Do you make millions, and then in eleventh-century fashion repent so that you can enjoy them all the more? Gore certainly in the past has not lived modestly; the carbon footprint of keeping Al Gore going — housing, travel, and tastes — is quite stunning. Both the Steyers and the Gores of our human comedy know that it is lucrative business to appear green, and that by doing so one can keep one’s personal life largely exempt from scrutiny in general and charges of hypocrisy in particular. For them, 21st-century liberalism is a useful badge, a fashion not unlike wearing good shades or having the right sort of cell phone.
The 1 percent fetish is also not really ideological. Elizabeth Warren, one of its greatest supporters, is not just a 1 percent but a 0.1 percent grandee. Her house, habits, household income, past corporate consulting, and net worth all reflect a desire for profits and refinement not accorded to most Americans. Her life is about as much a part of the 99.9 percent as she is Native American. She is not worried about welders getting some work on the Keystone Pipeline or farmworkers put out of their jobs in Mendota, Calif., over a baitfish.