Leonardo DiCaprio devotes his acceptance speech for the Oscar he finally won after all these years to global warming, and people flip out. How courageous. How thoughtful. What a smart and conscientious guy. “You have to listen when Leonardo DiCaprio speaks out,” said one breathless Facebook post.
No, you do not. You don’t have to listen to him blather on about global warming any more than you have to taker Hugo Chavez’ side because Sean Penn thinks he’s helping the little guy and not, as every sensible person on Earth seemed to recognize, looting the country.
If you think his opinion is somehow important because he is Leonardo DiCaprio, ask yourself this: Would you still think this if he pointed out the Earth has not warmed in 20 years and that projections of its imminent demise from global warming seem to have long been unduly grim? If not, it’s not DiCaprio’s star appeal you like but his position.
It’s not that you can’t have a serious opinion if you work in Hollywood. Or even that you’re capable of political leadership – as Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and others have demonstrated. It’s just that you don’t necessarily have
a serious opinion just because you’re an actor.
In the case of DiCaprio, the left wants it understood that he is no cipher. He’s studied this stuff, thought seriously about it. Not for nothing was he named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, had his congratulatory essay for this written by Secretary of State John Kerry or was dubbed in some publications as “Earth’s leading man.”
All because he spouts the same babble – huge existential threat, must start to cure it now, cease all use of fossil fuels immediately – as any garden-variety lefty. He just looks so much better doing it.
But, as Ed Conard, wrote in great piece over at Real Clear Politics, “DiCaprio is a one-man carbon-polluting machine,” uniquely unqualified to make this appeal.
He has at least five homes. He travels by private jet. He once flew from New York to Sidney, Australia, just to visit a restaurant he likes. Another time, he made six cross-country private flights in a five-week period and flew to Davos for the annual confab of Very Smart People. For the World Cup a few years ago, he borrowed a friend’s 482-foot yacht – the fifth-largest such vessel in the world. As any paparazzi photographer can tell you, he spends a lot of time on yachts partying with his friends.
It’s not OK when you or I do such things, he tells us, but the rules are different for him. For one thing, he pays carbon offsets. That’s a fantasy exchange, designed to separate rich people from their money, in which carbon users on DiCaprio’s spell pay a tribute or bribe or whatever you want to call it some carbon-saving entity – clean energy, forest preservation, etc. – to “make up” for his excessive use of carbon energy.
Of course, there is no making up, and there is nothing to make up for. DiCaprio makes money by legal means and spends it as he is free to do. The problem is his lecturing us on how we can spend our far smaller paychecks while he travels around the world in a style we cannot imagine and he cannot bring himself to eschew or even tone down a bit.
The restrictions he wants on energy exploration drive up costs for all of us – costs that matter far more to us than to them. Those restrictions put Americans out of work and cause prices to rise across the gamut.
What he does is typical of Hollywood. Stars like the feeling of “doing good,” but they don’t see go to the trouble to actually making it happen. If DiCaprio truly sees carbon emissions as a threat, he should quit doing things that spew so much carbon emissions. He wants to consume massive amounts of carbon and make it up by paying what amounts to indulgences.
Susan Sarandon and Whoopie Goldberg say they want to help the poor, but what they really want is for government to help the poor. That way it looks like they did something good – they lent their names to a “good” cause. But what they did was urge the money of people who make far less than them be used to help still others who make far less but whose living standards are the highest in the world for people considered to be “poor.”
Being a star makes you an authority on being a star. If you offer tips on how to avoid nosy photographers or how to look sad on cue, I think you’re worth listening to. If you pose as an expert on public policy, I’m inclined to give you the same attention as every other drunk at the end of the bar.
Especially when you own five homes, travel in private jets, spend most of your remaining time on yachts and then presume to lecture others on their use of energy.