A William Jennings Bryan For Our Time

To the surprise of no one, former Vice President Al Gore won an Academy Award last night for his "documentary" film, An Inconvenient Truth. This morning, I heard a political analyst gushing on Fox News about how Mr. Gore has completed a political comeback "of Nixonian proportions." Hmmmm. We all remember how well that one turned out, don't we? And someday in the not-too-distant future, we'll see him on the stage in Stockholm to accept his Nobel Peace Prize.

For some reason, Gore reminds me of William Jennings Bryan, the late 19th Century Populist. I could see him giving a speech telling the polluting industrialists of the First World that they "shall not crucify Mankind upon a cross of carbon." If you saw his red-faced rant about President Bush, in which he declared, "He has betrayed this country!" then you have seen Gore at his most populist.

Frankly, the man worries me. I see right through him, but I suspect that many people will not. They'll be taken in by his messianic appeal to the New Religion of Environmentalism. Ironically, this new religion is championed mostly by those claiming to be atheists. They believe in Rational Science, but if you don't toe their line, they will be no more tolerant of you than if you were an apostate Muslim in Mecca.

Don't believe me? Read this article from the Toronto Globe and Mail:

Eco-pilgrims gather to 'heed the Goracle'
Hundreds pack U of T hall in show of devotion to climate cause

Like many a bygone leader who happened along at a key moment in history, Mr. Gore -- who has been sounding the environmental warning bell for years -- has suddenly inspired the kind of faith and fervour in others that he insists will be needed to overcome such a monumental problem.

"From my perspective, it is a form of religion," said Bruce Crofts, 69, as he held a banner aloft for the East Toronto Climate Action Group amid a lively prelecture crowd outside the old hall.

"The religion for this group is doing something for the environment."

While he no longer espouses traditional religion, Mr. Crofts recalled how, as a Sunday school teacher decades ago, he included Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Robert Kennedy as well as Jesus Christ in his lessons, as examples of great leaders who stepped forward when called upon by circumstance. In that sense, he feels Mr. Gore fits the bill.
How did all of this happen? Well, after losing the 2000 election, Mr. Gore retreated to the wilderness. I don't know if it was for forty days and forty nights or not, but he did manage to pack on a few pounds and grow a rather patriarchal beard. Some would say that the loss of the election caused him to come unhinged. It's as good an explanation as any. But after his widely-publicized bout of Bush Derangement Syndrome, he once again retreated to the shadows.

This time, however, when he re-emerged he had found a new cause to champion: The threat of global warming, or "the climate crisis," as he has now dubbed it. He made a really scary movie that showed how, due to Mankind's sinful pollution of the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, the oceans are going to rise and drown all of the Earth's coastal cities. Low-lying areas like Florida and Bangladesh and coral atolls in the Pacific all will be inundated. And the only way to solve the problem is for Al Gore to jet repeatedly around the world, in aircraft that put huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, in order to preach his sermon to the masses.

Don't do as he does, peons; do as he says. He'll be coming to your town this summer with his consciousness-raising concerts, with his entourage spewing Gaia knows how much extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in order to spread the gospel.

And don't dare to mention that some reputable scientists dispute the evidence that Gore has given us in his film. That would be heresy, and the Goracle's followers deal harshly with heretics. The good news is that they probably wouldn't burn you at the stake, since that would liberate too much carbon into the atmosphere.