NOBODY Expects the Environmentalist Inquisition! (or: how not to be a knee-jerk group-thinker)
(Note: this was written several months ago, after the incident where an environmentalist wacko got crazy with a gun, but I think it is particularly apropos at the moment. I am re-posting this in light of a friend’s recent comment that the Norway gunman “must have been listening to Glenn Beck”. Read on and let me know what you think.)
So just to recap: some psychotic dude broke into the Discovery Channel offices yesterday with a gun and, apparently, bombs. He took hostages, made threatening demands, spent a few hours in an escalating stand-off with the cops, and was eventually shot dead. Why? Because the Discovery Channel does not do enough with its programming to further the cause of environmentalism and saving the earth from evil humans.
On his website, the gunman listed his demands: that the Discovery Channel and its affiliates stop promoting the environmental scourge of “human birthing”, that it work to dismantle the harmful force of the American economy, and that it increase its commitment to protect non-human species from evil humanity. The guy lists Al Gore and his film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, as among his greatest life influences.
I ain’t makin’ this stuff up.
SO, despite how this might play elsewhere in the media, I will not be blaming Al Gore for the fact that this whacko was killed. I will not blame environmentalism in general for this odd little act of enviro-terrorism. I will not use this pathetic event as an indictment of all those whose stated goal is to “save the planet”. After all, as I have said elsewhere, any human group of any size will contain its share of whackos.
What I am wondering is this: Lately I have been hearing a lot of dialogue about how civilization should abandon some traditional human institutions because of the evils that have been committed in their names. Christianity is condemned for the actions of the Ku Klux Klan. Catholicism is condemned for the actions of some sicko pedophile priests. Islam is condemned for the ongoing terrorism of militant Islamist psychos. The logic, it seems, is that since these institutions have attracted a fringe of irrationally dangerous crazies, the institutions themselves should be utterly abandoned.
Frankly, it is not an argument I can immediately dismiss. In every case, methinks that the institutions in question have not done enough to purge the crazies from their midst, and must therefore bear some responsibility for what is done in their name. Still, I suspect it is foolish to abandon the great good that these institutions may have done (ignoring for the moment the religious/spiritual implications) for the sake of the evils that may also occasionally accompany them.
What I am especially interested in, though, is this: will those people who most loudly condemn other institutions for the evils done in their names also apply the same judgment to Mr. Discovery Channel gunman and environmentalism? If the Tea Party movement is responsible for a few racist sign-carrying nimrods, and Islam is responsible for the psychos that carried out the 9-11 attacks, then it seems that one must, if they are intellectually honest, also blame climate alarmism and Al Gore for the actions– and subsequent death– of Mr. Discovery Channel gunman.
Or am I missing something?
One simply cannot have it both ways. We cannot blame institutions we dislike for their fringe weirdos while defending institutions we do like when their fringe weirdos pop up. Can we?
Well, we CAN, actually. We just can’t do it and claim to be honest with ourselves.
So: tell me where I am wrong.