Al Gore’s Doom and Gloom

The Al Gore Environmental Express was in town a few weeks ago preaching the doom and gloom of modern environmentalism. According to his testimony, the sky is falling, the oceans are drying up and the earth is becoming infertile. And to top it off, according to Gore it is all the fault of American enterprise, this despite the fact Gore’s home alone accounts for over half of the energy used in Tennessee every year.

Now, it’s not that I don’t believe in the importance of the environment, it’s just that I’ve heard all of these gloom-and-doom prophecies before. After all, in the ’60s we were told that the world would undergo a famine and hundreds of millions of people would starve to death, and in the ’70s Europe’s distinguished scientists announced that we would run out of gold by the ’80s. Even a U.S. president was found drinking the Kool-Aid of environmental gloom and doom when he announced that “we could use up all of the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the next decade.” (Although in all fairness, Jimmy Carter is a bit like a college sophomore when it comes to intellectual fads.)

So I’ve heard it all before. But you know what? Nothing happened. Well not quite nothing — during that same time period the U.S. economy kept rolling forward, bringing enormous benefits in terms of health, education, and overall standards of living. That leads me to the second problem with Al Gore’s environmental gloom and doom.

Americans today can claim not only to have recognized the significance of global warming and pollution, but also to have done more than anyone else to clean it up. Yet despite this fact, Gore wants to slap us on the hands for simply living and to give up American enterprise, the very engine of our growth and prosperity, because it comes with some baggage. Or perhaps Gore’s real concern is that as American enterprise continues to raise wages and living standards across the globe his children won’t be able to own a 221,000 kilowatt-per-hour home like their daddy does.