I think charges of hypocrisy are thrown around far more than warrented. The most common case is where someone who advocates what we shall call virtue is found not to always act in accordance with that virtue. For me the person would be a hypocrite not just because they sometimes failed to live up to their standards (only the standardless person would not then be a hypocrite), but the person who advocates something as a virtue they really don’t think is a virtue and who have no intention of living up to it as a standard.
So do I think for example that Senator Craig is a hypocrite as some have suggested for being a closeted conservative homosexual while not supporting a liberal homosexual agenda? No, I don’t think so. I think he should resign for soliciting sex in a public restroom, but I don’t think he’s a hypocrite because his politics don’t match someone else’s idea of what they should be because of his sexual orientation.
I think Al Gore is a hypocrite because while he tells us that because CO2 emissions are going to wreck the planet and kill millions, we need to change our lifestyles to reduce carbon emissions, he has not made any such changes in his lifestyle (nor is he alone in this).
Which brings me to Ed Begley Jr. I’ve seen his show on HGTV a couple of times (it’s on after Design Star) and he’s the anti-Gore. While I’m a global warming sceptic, I appreciate that making changes in the atmosphere’s chemistry may not be a good idea without a much better understanding than we possess. Begley seems to live the lifestyle he advocates, and he makes a fear free pitch. He doesn’t say you need to change everything or we’re all going to die; instead he tries to give practical advice on how you can save energy (and money) in a pretty non-judgemental way:
I think there will be a lot of takeaways; that’s the thing that we’re going to try and stress, that people should grab the low-hanging fruit first. Not everybody is going to buy a hybrid car, an electric car, put up solar panels, or maybe even do solar hot water – that may be out of people’s budgets – even though it’s a lot less than solar electric. But people can afford a light bulb. They can afford a thermostat if it’s going to put them into profit in six months. They can afford perhaps some insulation, if they have a little piece of dirt in their backyard or front yard, they can plant some vegetables, they can afford to compost, or ride a bike or take a bus. Those things are quite affordable; indeed they’re quite cost-effective.
Who gets better press coverage – Al Gore, or Ed Begley Jr. Who should? I’ll take Ed any day of the week.