“Hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue,” observed the 17th century Francois VI, Duc de la Rochefoucauld. Author of Reflections and Moral Maxims, the duke would recognize the hypocrisies manipulating shell games over climate change, Black Lives Matter and indigenous peoples causes.
Potentially disastrous global warming is attributed to the greenhouse effect of industrialized—and industrializing—societies’ burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide. Hence, the drive to “net zero” out use of coal, oil and natural gas.
These are the fuels that produce the electricity keeping modern societies warm in winter, cool in summer and able to travel near and far while affordably fed and clothed. To which climate eminences such as Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg, 18, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, counter “Blah, blah, blah.” They demand we risk impoverishment by paying trillions more in taxes and prices for green energy. This is energy that in the near and mid-term at least, cannot replace cheap, reliable power from hydrocarbons—demonstrated by eco-conscious California’s rolling blackouts.
There is a non-polluting and dependable source that if widely used could greatly reduce production of greenhouse gases. Not wind turbines, solar panels or bio-mass power generation, let alone electric vehicles ultimately fueled by natural gas or coal-fired plants. As France knows and the International Atomic Energy Agency confirms, it's nuclear power.
Build French or U.S.-designed reactors away from earthquake fault lines and—regardless of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters—you’re good to go. But given the green power catechism of today’s Church of Woke Progressivism, we can’t say so. Score one for hypocrisy.
What climate change is to honest debate about alternative energy, Black Lives Matter is to racial inequities. Across the country, months of demonstrations, riots, looting and burning—including attempts on police stations and courthouses—followed the May, 2020 police killing of George Floyd. News media doing BLM’s public relations implied that police killings of unarmed blacks was endemic.
In fact, the total last year was 15, including Floyd. The African American population is roughly 44 million. Each statistic signifies a tragedy, but police killing of unarmed blacks is rare.
What is closer to endemic is the killing of blacks, usually unarmed and including children and women, by other blacks. At least 8,600 African Americans were homicide victims in 2020, a record and an increase of 1,000 over 2019. More than 90 percent were murdered by other blacks.
In the United States, “violent crime is concentrated in primarily low-income, marginalized black communities where the police are under-resourced and Democratic leadership has abysmally failed,” writer Rav Arora asserts. He noted that more than 80 percent of African Americans told Gallup pollsters they favored the same or greater police presence in their neighborhoods. Yet Black Lives Matter backs the push to defund police, no surprise given the Marxist slant of some of its founders.
To note these inconvenient truths, however, is to be condemned as “blaming the victim” and a white racist. Unless you are black. Then our leftist clerisy condemns you as an “Uncle Tom.” Score two for hypocrisy.
We also are awash in hypocrisy over colonialism. The left, as we saw in October, would replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The destruction of many native peoples resulted from Columbus’ opening of the New World to the Old. This was perhaps inevitable when early industrializing cultures collided with Stone Age ones. But also resulting, eventually, was history’s freest, most widely prosperous and largest egalitarian polity.
Nevertheless, Columbus, Ohio last year removed a 20-foot tall bronze of the Admiral of the Oceans Seas from in front of city hall. A 1955 gift from Genoa, Italy it triggered the mayor. Democrat Andrew Ginther sanctimoniously intoned that “for many people in our community, the statute represents patriarchy, oppression and divisiveness. … [W]e will no longer live in the shadow of our ugly past."
Yet neither Ginther nor any other anti-statue cultists among the 900,000 residents of Ohio’s capital have escaped the shadow of their ugly past by returning to their ancestral homelands in Europe, Africa or Asia. Instead, they continue to occupy indigenous peoples’ territories. And they have not risen against the federal government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, which oversees the reservations on which many Native American Indians remain, impoverished and subject to high rates of alcoholism and suicide.
Score three for hypocrisy. Yet secular fundamentalists who see themselves as “social justice warriors” remain blind to their own Janus-faces. So, they treat dissenters not as critics but heretics. No virtue in that.
Eric Rozenman is a Washington, D.C.-based writer. His newest book, From Elvis to Trump, Eyewitness to the Unraveling; Co-Starring Richard Nixon, Andy Warhol, Bill Clinton, the Supremes and Barack Obama, is to be published this fall by Academica Press.