May 26, 2008

Frivolty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Only the Necessities of Life

I have always found it sad and amusing at the same time that very few, if any, practice praxis. It seems that individual humans are endowed with an uncanny ability to ask others to abide by certain principles that they hold themselves to be exempt from. The sad thing about the above is that, more often than not, they do not realize the logical absurdity of their position.

These seminal contradictions are found across all fields and they span all regions. One of the most absurd positions is to be found among the practitioners of the new religion of environmentalism. Often the strongest advocates of the need to act in an ecofriendly way are the rich and the wealthy. They campaign for alternative clean energy, take a strong stand against industrial farming and demonstrate to prevent deforestation.

Each of the above is a noble goal in itself but the irony is that those who are the most vocal in their demands are often the largest abusers of what they want us to protect. Many of these advocates who favour a smaller footprint are the most extravagant consumers. They are more often than not the ones who take the ski trips to far away places, live in homes of over 5000 Sf, but with an expensive PV system on the roof, subscribe to every imaginable magazine and do their food shopping at WholeFoods.

The same phenomenon is to be observed among those who advocate high tariffs against imported goods. They are the jet set that drives the Benzes, Beemers in addition to the Lexuses and Infinitis. This is often the same crowd who is worried about the trade deficit and wants measures that would reduce the availability of Chinese made goods at Wal Mart as long as the availability of the $50,000.00 Patek Phillip watches , the $2,000.00 Gucci hand bags and the $500.00 Italian shoes is not reduced.

This disconnect between what we say that we want and what we do has become so widely spread as to not spare anyone. Infamous Judge Robert Bork [linked story] whose failed nomination to the Supreme Court preoccupied the nation for months has written, lectured and campaigned vigorously against frivolous suits brought up by individuals against corporations and other large institutions. What is unbelievable is that the same judge, Bork, slipped as he was leaving the dais at Yale University during one of his appearances and he promptly sued the University for negligence and for physical pain and psychological traumas. The same person who has campaigned tirelessly against frivolous law suits brought one himself asking for a million dollars in compensation. Ironically he denied, with a straight face, the contradiction when he was confronted with it.

I guess that frivolity is in the eye of the beholder.


Andros said...

I don't see why it is surprising that people hold contradictory ideas in their heads!

I see your point, and you're right. However, do you see any value in gradualism? In other words, is it better if I recycle--or do whatever ecofriendly activity--only 10% of the time, or it doesn't make any difference?

Or, if I don't litter, is it enough? Or, perhaps better? Am I not eco-friendly if I don't pick up other people's trash?

Ghassan said...

I guess I am saying that it is hypocritical when we say that we are in favour of a certain point of view when in fact our actions do not reflect our beliefs. I am not trying to single out any one group because this issue is endemic. We all do it all the time.
Note BTW that Hillary Clintons chief strategists has spent a lifetime fighting for big business and defending large corporations but all of a sudden he puts on a populist hat because it will earn more votes. The same is try=ue of the McCain camp. Their chief advisor was a lobbyist for corporations and worked for WPP a large corporate PR firm.
However what drove me to write the post was the position by Bork, which in all fairness I did not expect him to take.

Ghassan said...

I would like to thank the editor for his magic .