Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, “A Triumph and a Tragedy,” is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on “Catholic Answers Live.”
Al Gore Lied, James J. Lee Died.
That’s the premise of this piece at Big Hollywood (warning: language). Author John Nolte writes:
[M]ost environmentalists are lying liars who know they’re lying. Because if you honestly believe man is destroying the planet, that the apocalypse is nigh, you prepare for it. Most coastal elites are Global Warming believers and yet Global Warming, we’re told, will make the oceans rise to the point that will someday put much of the coast, especially Manhattan underwater. So why aren’t coastal elites moving inland? Why aren’t they pulling a Lex Luthor and buying up all that cheap property that will someday be the new coast?
Strongly worded! And you gotta give him points for the Superman: The Movie reference (it is Big Hollywood), but he goes on to juxtapose Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth with the recent hostage situation at the Discovery Channel headquarters in Maryland.
In that event, gunman James J. Lee (pictured) took several people hostage and, while they made it out alive, he didn’t. Police shot him and later safely detonated several explosive devices that he had strapped to his body.
Thing is, Lee was an environmental extremist who claimed on his MySpace page to have been “awakened” by watching Gore’s movie.
It’s easy, then, to do a variant of the “Bush lied, people died” mantra, as Nolte did in his post at Big Hollywood. But like the anti-Bush mantra, the anti-Gore one is problematic.
In both cases it is doubtful whether any actual lying occurred. For all I know, Bush believed what he told the American public regarding the state of affairs in Iraq before the war. Similarly, for all I know Gore believed everything he said in his movie.
His monster house and jet-setting lifestyle may make Gore a hypocrite, but hypocrisy and lying are two different (if related) moral faults. Nolte takes the edge off this a bit by only accusing Gore and most other environmentalists of lying “at a gut level” and saying that they intellectually believe their rhetoric. That’s a pretty big caveat in my book, and while there may still be an element of truth there, it makes it hard to call anybody who intellectually believes what they are saying a “liar.” Some other moral fault they may be charged with (not taking seriously their own rhetoric? being hypocrites?) but not lying.
Another problem is the insinuation that Gore is somehow responsible for Lee’s violent acts, which led to his death.
Toward the bottom of the post Nolte tries to take the edge of that insinuation by writing
Not for a second do I believe that Al Gore or anyone involved in the creation of “An Inconvenient Truth” wanted or even imagined that someday someone would strap on explosives, walk into a building with a daycare center, and take hostages in the hopes of terrorizing a cable outlet into creating more programming similar to “An Inconvenient Truth.” Nor do I believe that they — or anyone — is responsible for lunatics who take political messaging to a violent extreme.
Well then why did he do a variant of the “Bush lied, people died” mantra, which implies exactly that.
Perhaps because it looked like an easy way to make a point about the unjustness of the anti-Bush mantra. Or perhaps because the situation mirrors something that’s been bubbling through the media and blogosphere a lot in the last year: public worrying and hand-wringing about the possibility that pundits and other figures on the political right will get people so riled up that they turn to violence and “right-wing nut-jobs” start attacking people on the left or institutions of various kinds.
This kind of public non-accusation accusation is shameful. To blame people who are not (explicitly or implicitly) advocating violence for the violent acts of others is problematic on all kinds of fronts, not the least of which is that the accusation can be turned against anybody who advocates an opinion in public. You can always say, “Aren’t you worried that your advocacy of this issue will cause someone to go off the deep end in fashion X, Y, or Z, leading to tragedy?”
The fact is that there are always people who are going to go off the deep end. There are a certain number of people out there who are broken enough that they find something to obsess about and then use that to vent their destructive impulses. If it isn’t one thing, it’s going to be another, and you can’t blame public figures for it when that happens.
This does not let public figures off the hook. It does not allow them to rashly say anything under the sun. Ideas really do have consequences, and bad ideas can have very bad consequences indeed (cf. Communism, National Socialism, Eugenicism).
But it does mean that one should avoid the kind of cheap smears and insinuations that we’ve been seeing where speech not advocating violence is alleged to trigger violence.
In fact, James J. Lee has provided a good counter example. The next time someone someone says, “[Conservative figure of the day] is inciting violence by his speech that doesn’t advocate violence,” one can point to Lee and say, “So was Gore’s non-violence-advocating speech responsible for what happened at the Discovery Channel?”
Lee also revealed something else, and Nolte almost puts his finger on it in his Big Hollywood post. While charges of lying may not stick for “most environmentalists,” it is clear that much of the environmental movement is driven by an ideology that distorts the science in the area and that is treated almost like a religion at times. Nolte identifies it alternately as Marxism and Socialism, and there are certainly elements of those philosophies in environmental circles, but there is another and even more sinister ideology at work in the environmental movement: misanthropy—hostility towards mankind.
James J. Lee provided us with a clear illustration of this in the Manifesto he left behind (excerpts):
Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution. A game show format contest would be in order. Perhaps also forums of leading scientists who understand and agree with the Malthus-Darwin science and the problem of human overpopulation. Do both. Do all until something WORKS and the natural world starts improving and human civilization building STOPS and is reversed! MAKE IT INTERESTING SO PEOPLE WATCH AND APPLY SOLUTIONS!!!!
2. All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions. In those programs’ places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it.
3. All programs promoting War and the technology behind those must cease. There is no sense in advertising weapons of mass-destruction anymore. Instead, talk about ways to disassemble civilization. . . .
8. Saving the Planet means saving what’s left of the non-human Wildlife by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies! You’re the media, you can reach enough people. It’s your resposibility because you reach so many minds!!!
10. Stop all shows glorifying human birthing on all your channels and on TLC. . . .
Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what’s left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture.
For every human born, ACRES of wildlife forests must be turned into farmland in order to feed that new addition over the course of 60 to 100 YEARS of that new human’s lifespan! THIS IS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FOREST CREATURES!!!! All human procreation and farming must cease!
It is the responsiblity of everyone to preserve the planet they live on by not breeding any more children who will continue their filthy practices. Children represent FUTURE catastrophic pollution whereas their parents are current pollution. NO MORE BABIES!
Saving the environment and the remaning species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.
The humans? The planet does not need humans.
These are the demands and sayings of Lee.
It’s no surprise that Lee didn’t get along with the pro-life community in Washington.
Oh, and there’s this from his MySpace page:
I finished reading Al Gore’s book, and inconvenient truth a few days ago. It was very enlightening. However, at the end he didn’t offer any real solutions, as if changing a lightbulb would even put a scratch in the global warming epidemic. The book was half good, which means the part about science was good. The rest seemed like a commercial for sainthood.
I re-read Genesis the first chapter. It was obviously written by a totalitarian farmer.
Let’s pray for Lee’s soul. . . . And let’s remember the lessons his example provides.
What are your thoughts?