Climate Change Rhetoric: Up in Smoke
4 months ago

Climate Change Rhetoric: Up in Smoke

In the movie adaptation of the hysterical book “Thank you For Smoking,” tobacco’s main lobbyist is hauled before a Senate Committee to testify. What’s the subject? Warning Labels. Schwarzenegger was late to the game. (Get well soon, Arnold).

In the hearing, expert lobbyist Nick Naylor points out that heart disease is the number one killer in the nation — and tells the Vermont Senator that the cheddar cheese his state exports deserves a warning label, too. The Senator responds with the greatest line of the movie (and book): “THE GREAT STATE OF VERMONT WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR ITS CHEESE.”


There’s a new effort to rebrand the failed climate change campaign using the successful attacks on the tobacco industry: they knew, they did research, they kept it quiet. An article in today’s Salon calls this approach “winning.” Whether or not the premise is true is debatable: proponents of the argument will point to A,B,C and opponents will point to X,Y,Z. But as to the effectiveness of this as a tactic, here’s a circle they need to square: if you are so anti-smoking, don’t smoke.

If you are so anti-energy, don’t use it.

No, no, no, you can’t say “But they knew and did nothing.” If your truth is known now, and you believe it, you truly believe all this energy is hurting the planet, then do something about it.

In other words: put up or shut up.

There are vegans who think “Meat is Murder.” There are teetotalers who think alcohol is the “Devil’s Brew.” And we just have to assume that they anti-tobacco crowd does not smoke (at least not cigarettes). So how about it, anti-energy people? Have you sold your cars? Have you grown your own food? Have you denied yourself that cruise to the Bahamas..?

Because if you haven’t, then we can’t buy your argument, and we certainly can’t buy your solutions: taxes, destruction of small towns, and a stifling of our national economy and individual prosperity. Until you shut out energy from your lives and lead by example, don’t expect the rest of the nation to climb onboard your effort.

Paraphrasing: the great state of (insert all 50 states one-by-one) will not apologize for its energy!!