There’s a fascinating meme echoing around the Internet in recent days suggesting Al Gore said something idiotic. The source is a NewsMax story about a talk Al Gore apparently gave last week at the United Nations. The NewsMax article suggests Gore claimed that ” Cigarette smoking is a ‘significant’ contributor to global warming”.
It’s obviously an idiotic claim, and it seems extremely unlikely to me that Gore, practiced in the delivery of his global warming schtick and careful in his scientific citations, would have made it. But it’s nevertheless fascinating to watch its trajectory. The echo chamber effect in conservative circles has been deafening. In fact, the echo metaphor breaks down as it gets louder and louder. This suggests an audience eager to believe that Al Gore really is an idiot, and happy to spread any meme that supports that belief.
It’s a great example of the way it’s far easier to dismiss one’s political opponents as venal or stupid than it is to actually engage the substance of their argument.