The higher the buildings, the lower the morals.
– Noel Coward
The St. Regis Hotel and Residences rises in “pacesetting, intelligent luxury” 40 or so stories above a low-lying plane south of San Francisco’s Market Street.
Not too long ago, a colleague of mine drove in from the East Bay to a party at the St. Regis. When, however, he attempted to take a shortcut through an alley to the hotel entrance, he found his path blocked.
A flatbed truck, as wide as the alley, idled in the middle of it. On the truck was one conspicuously large crate. My colleague was forced to back up and out.
At the party, still curious about the crate, he asked a friend about its contents. The friend was in a position to know. He lives in the St. Regis Residences, which occupy floors 22 to 40 above the hotel.
The friend told my colleague that his neighbor at the St. Regis was installing a “Japanese hot tub.” That neighbor just happened to be Al Gore.
Although I cannot confirm the actual installation of the hot tub, or its Japanese provenance, the story tracks with what we know about Mr. Gore.
For sure, he did set green hearts aflutter a couple years back when he bought a luxury condo at the St. Regis, one of at least three residences he owns across the country. The local scuttlebutt was that the Goracle’s very presence sent condo prices skyward.
Last year, condos at the St. Regis were selling for about $1,650 a square foot. By contrast, my perfectly nice home in Kansas City would sell for about $120 a square foot.
In his science fiction classic, “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore asks the audience “to calculate your personal impact” on an atmosphere that is now presumably on high broil.
Climate change, Al insisted, was no longer a political issue, but a “moral” one.
Although I was unable to secure Al’s utility bills at the St. Regis, a man-sized hot tub on average consumes roughly seven times the power of a large refrigerator and three times that of a window air-conditioner.
And unlike a refrigerator or air-conditioner, this hot tub serves no more “moral” a purpose than keeping a certain green giant jolly.
“Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases,” Gore tells us in “An Inconvenient Truth,” a bit of wisdom intended, I guess, for those of us unready for “pacesetting, intelligent luxury.”
Thanks to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, I have been able to calculate the personal impact of the Gore family on greater Nashville.
As it turns out, the Gores paid an average of $1,359 a month in 2006 for electric, more than twice what the Cashills paid for the year 2006 – this despite the fact that we live in a 90-year-old, 10-room house and use every electric gizmo known to mankind.
More impressively still, the Nashville Gas Company billed the Gores roughly three times more for their pool house than Missouri Gas Energy billed the Cashills for the house we live in. Mr. Gore may be turning me green but, alas, mostly through envy.
One more thing: At the end of “An Inconvenient Truth,” Greenland melts, washes millions of poor souls out to sea and submerges at least the lower floors of the St. Regis.
Does Gore not care about this investment, or does he plan to sell off before the meltdown? More to the point, does any other movement indulge such spectacular hypocrisy?
Were Pat Robertson to run a child porn ring or Jesse Jackson to own slaves, neither would betray his cause as flagrantly as Gore does environmentalism.
In a speech few years ago before a full house at San Francisco’s famed Commonwealth Club, best-selling author Michael Crichton provided some insight into the movement’s dizzying double standards.
“Today, it is said we live in a secular society in which many people – the best people, the most enlightened people – do not believe in any religion,” said Crichton, taunting his audience with a truism he knew to be false.
No, even these “urban atheists” had a “religion of choice,” and he identified that religion as “environmentalism.”
Crichton did not merely describe the religious strains in environmentalism. He did what any enlightened soul is wont to do when discussing religion.
He made fun of it. He mocked environmentalism as a “perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs.” Had he accused his San Francisco listeners of cannibalism or even capitalism he would not have offended them as he did.
The new gospel has its own initial Eden, Crichton told them, the unspoiled paradise of our aboriginal ancestors. It has its own tree of knowledge, modern technology, whose fruit has led to pollution and decay.
It has its own day of judgment and any number of doomsday scenarios that are hastening us there. Eternal damnation awaits us, said Crichton, and then like any storefront preacher worth the rent money, he held out the great “unless,” the “unless” dearest to all their Bay Area hearts, “unless we seek salvation, which is now called ‘sustainability.'”
In his clunkily titled but otherwise excellent new book, “The Really Inconvenient Truths,” Iain Murray probes a little deeper into this geocentric cult.
Sustainability, he argues, is so wonderfully elusive that it is best achieved, as Martin Luther once said of salvation, not by good works but by faith alone.
Yes, of course! Why fret about the hot tub or the pool house or the private jets or the 800-plus days Gore and Clinton ignored the Kyoto treaty before fobbing it off on George Bush?
Big Al believes. And so better you!
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