Yale Does Schwarzenegger

April 22nd, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Yalies embrace “Governator” over Nobel Laureate

*** Apologies – NJ.Com took down the photos, which were originally published on my “NJ Voices” column at NJ.Com. I was able to save the text, but not the photos. What assholes.
Yale’s Woolsey Hall is packed to the rafters.

The Yale University community turned out for “The Governors Declaration on Climate Change” on Friday. The well promoted event was timed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of President Teddy Roosevelt’s landmark “Conference of Governors” in Washington DC.

Pinchot is buried in Milford, Pennsylvania, along the Delaware River

That 1908 event helped launch the conservation movement (precursor to today’s environmental movement). Roosevelt’s close advisor, first Chief of the US Forest Service and conservationist Gifford Pinchot, worked to establish the National Parks System and inspire State programs to protect land. In an historic debate that still rages, Pinchot’s “conservationist” views clashed with the “preservationist” orientation advocated by John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club.

Nobel Laureate Dr. R.K. Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), welcomes the warm reception.

The event focused on the leadership of 18 Governor’s who signed the “federal partnership” declaration on global warming, but California Governor Schwarzenegger clearly won the hearts and minds of the Yale crowd. In remarks in which he took personal credit for forming the fitness “movement”, Schwarzennegger took the opportunity to ridicule environmentalists.

Schwartzenegger speaks at Yale.

Schwarzenegger characterized environmentalists as effete (gay? feminine?) elite proponents of a failed movement based upon shame, guilt, pessimism, government solutions, and limits to growth (you think the Ahnold can say “Malthusian”?).
Analogizing to what he described as the takeoff in today’s hugely popular personal fitness “movement” (a “movement” he took credit for having started with “Pumping Iron”, back in the day when weightlifters were considered nerds), Schwarzenegger advocated his new muscular macho brand of the “environmental movement”.

Schwarzenegger and Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell sign Governor’s Declaration at Yale.

This new “movement” he is leading is optimistic, exciting, cool, sexy, and most importantly, macho. It relies on capitalist market investment and trusts technological solutions, and is NOT antiquated government command and control driven.
The contrast with the humble Nobel Laureate scientist, Dr. Pachauri could not have been more stark.
But the Yale community absolutely ate Schwarzenegger up – his remarks were punctuated with applause and laughter. The crowd gave him a spontaneous standing ovation, which was far in excess of the response to Nobel Laureate and IPCC Chair Dr. Pachauri.
Frankly, I was embarrased for Yale – an elite University supposedly dedicated to the life of the mind and pursuit of Truth, not the promotion of political propaganda.
In my view, Schwarzenegger is a bully who blends certain retrograde cultural myths and machismo with uninformed market fundamentalist rhetoric. His public policy views may be informed by good speech writers, but he clearly is overly optimistic – bordering on utopian – in his advocacy of capitalism, private markets, and technology to provide a magic bullet to solve our environmental problems.
This is a very dangerous combination of attributes in a politician. But I’m sure the California folks who elected him are beginning to understand this “Hybrid Hummer environmentalism”.

In a wonderful historic gesture, grandsons of Gifford Pinchot and Teddy Roosevelt are special guests at Yale (from left).
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