With COVID, Elites at Least Bother Virtue-Signaling. With Climate Change, They’re Not Even Trying. - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
With COVID, Elites at Least Bother Virtue-Signaling. With Climate Change, They’re Not Even Trying.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began circulating the globe, the elites hunkered down in their homes. Late-night hosts streamed from the comfort of their dining rooms, enlisting their children for help. Elbow bumps aplenty were exchanged between world leaders. And the rich and famous paraded around in masks, when the cameras were rolling anyway.

There were times when politicians and activists strayed from their virtue-signaling and turned to outright COVID hypocrisy, like when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited a hair salon for a blow-out when it was shuttered due to a local ordinance or when California Gov. Gavin Newsom went out to dinner at the French Laundry without wearing a mask. 

But the elites made an effort to appear part of the lock-yourself-in-your-home-and-stay-away-from-other-people consensus. The Met Gala, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and (for a time) film productions were shuttered. When accepting the Democratic nomination, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden watched fireworks before a parking lot-style rally. For a time, he also made a majority of his appearances from a makeshift set in his basement. 

When it comes to climate change, elites make no similar efforts. Climate change activists and world leaders who declare drastic action is required lest human civilization collapse don’t even bother to look like they’re trying to limit their individual carbon footprint. And typically, they dismiss any suggestion that they should do so. Their argument is usually the same: I’m so important that I get to break the rules. 

In 2019, climate envoy John Kerry said that private jet travel is “the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle.” At the time, he had taken a private jet to Iceland to accept an environmental award. Commercial flights do indeed fly to Keflavik International Airport.

Kerry says that the threat of climate change is “existential” and “means life and death.” He is leading a campaign to force Americans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. But since he’s the one going around urging Americans to reduce their carbon footprint, he doesn’t have to reduce his own. 

Like Kerry, Prince Charles has long proclaimed himself a die-hard activist against global warming. On Monday, the prince of Wales took that advocacy to a new extreme at the rescheduled United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, proclaiming that a “vast military-style campaign” is needed to slow the effects of climate change.

“We have to put ourselves on what might be called a warlike footing,” he said.

But it turns out that Prince Charles is not quite beating the war drums when it comes to his own personal comfort. Earlier that same day, he flew in on a “non-commercial jet” from the G20 summit in Rome, per the Daily Mail. Could the prince have flown in on a commercial flight? Sure. But that would be below his station in life. Princes who fight climate change deserve to be the exception to that rule, he evidently believes.

It seems this hypocrisy isn’t entirely lost on Charles, as he at least thought to take a modest car from his private jet to the red carpet of COP26 (unlike Biden, who unironically showed up to the climate summit with a 20-car motorcade before sleeping through the proceedings).

Charles was far from alone in his climate hypocrisy. Prince Albert of Monaco swooped in on a private jet, while Amazon founder Jeff Bezos made his entrance in a $65 million private Gulf Stream. Bezos had just arrived fresh from Bill Gates’ birthday bash aboard the fuel-sucking and carbon-spewing superyacht rented by Gates, another global warming fanatic, for the cost of $2 million a week. The total number of private jets arriving for the Glasgow warming summit exceeded 400, prompting a traffic jam which forced planes to fly elsewhere to find a parking spot. 

Of course, we cannot forget Al Gore, the original global warming messiah and propounder of the Inconvenient Truth, who of course resides in a gargantuan carbon footprint of a house, with 20 rooms and eight bathrooms, which consumes 191,000 kilowatt-hours per year (the typical home owned by your average American deplorable consumes 10,715 per year).

The COVID-19 pandemic puts this elite hypocrisy in a new light. During the pandemic, liberal elites marched around wearing masks and dutifully followed the rules when in public. Anyone who didn’t do this, they contended, was contributing to the deaths of vast segments of the population. 

Their refusal to replicate this virtue-signaling on climate change raises an array of questions: Do they have such little shame that they think the public won’t notice their blatant hypocrisy? Are they just so uncaring that it doesn’t matter to them if they contribute to a crisis that could cause the deaths of millions? At least most of the time, they acted like they cared when it came to the COVID diktats. 

Could it be that they don’t really believe that environmental catastrophe is inevitable if warming is not limited to 2 degrees Celsius? Would they really fly around on a private jet if they thought the carbon it spews contributes to a “life or death” situation?

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, a true believer in the climate crisis, puts them all to shame. The 18-year-old has eschewed air travel as well as buying new clothes. She famously traveled by carbon-neutral racing yacht to New York City to speak to the UN on climate change. Her climate piety is undeniable, and again raises the question of what the elites really think of the cause if they go around living in virtual palaces and flying in private jets. 

The elites’ COVID virtue-signaling proved that they understand the concept of individual responsibility and are aware of the dangers of their own hypocrisy. Now, we can see that their claimed devotion to stopping climate change is questionable at best, despite their plans to transform society because of it. 

The elite’s refusal to even pretend to be concerned about the appearance of their own giant carbon footprints lays bare their keen recognition that the rules do not apply to them. One of the real dangers of the climate change hysteria is that the elite has learned that any “emergency,” like the COVID pandemic and now global warming, can be used to amass great powers to the government and globalized power centers to dictate how people should live their lives, liberty be damned.

Just like the old members of the Soviet Politburo, who lived the life of a wealthy elite in the face of crushing communist poverty, the globalist elite today simply don’t care because the rules couldn’t possibly apply to those in our society who are working so hard to save civilization from the specter of climate change.

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