Thursday, March 01, 2007

Preaching and Practicing

Big families need big referees. The Walton’s make for nice family television, but in real life, lots of siblings means lots of fights. Asking my dad to resolve a fight meant needing a good answer when he asked us if we practiced what we preached. He didn’t have sympathy for any of us who were complaining about something we had previously done to a brother or sister or if we expected a sibling to do something we wouldn’t to do ourselves. My dad wanted the actions of his children to be consistent with the words of his children. He wanted us to learn and practice integrity.

Another question that was common when I was growing up was, “Do you put your money where your mouth is?”. People who sold Chevy’s were expected to drive Chevy’s. People who talked about Church were expected to support Church financially. Tough guys with big stories and no witnesses were expected to accept a bet they couldn’t repeat their claimed accomplishment and then pay the bet if they didn’t repeat it.

Putting your money where your mouth is and practicing what you preach are two ways of saying the same thing. Are your actions consistent with your words? Do you have integrity? Do you really believe the claim you are making?

Does Al Gore really believe CO2 is destroying the earth when his own house uses 20 times the energy of the average American house? Does Bono of U2 really believe tax money from the free world should be used to stop poverty in Africa when he pays a team of lawyers to practice tax avoidance strategies with his own money? Do Diane Feinstein and Arnold Schwarzenegger not know their private jets are spewing CO2 all over our atmosphere? Did Rush Limbaugh think organized crime only sold herbs? Does Cingular Wireless really believe their customers are receiving quality service by waiting on hold for thirty minutes to talk to a customer service representative?

Integrity is mostly a matter of character and morality, but it also has another interesting attribute. Integrity increases effectiveness. People who “practice what they preach” and organizations that “put their money where their mouth is” are much more likely to be successful. Integrity attracts like minds and produces a full commitment from others. Hypocrisy, however, repels everyone except blind followers.

CO2 haters took a hit this week. I always love a happy ending.


Buz said...

re Mr. Gore and CO2, I think that George Orwell said it best: "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Rusty said...

It ends up being an "elitist" mentality from the very ones who preach diversity and tolerance. So, the story goes, Al Gore is allowed to over-consume because of all the supposed good he's doing for the green movement. I remember reading an environmentalist photographer attempt to justify why only small groups of professional photographers (of which he was one - surprise!) be allowed into environmentally sensitive areas - after all, we couldn't let the riff-raff into these pristine environments. The arrogance displayed is, at times, mind-boggling.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Buz and Rusty,

It IS very elitist to think that rules, sacrifice, and self discipline are for lesser humans.

I wonder why Al Gore, the Californian politicians, and movie stars who live lavish lifestyles have not been condemned by real environmental activists. Makes me think that environmentalism isn’t even about the environment at all.

Rick and Gary said...

Hi David --

That's a great question. The animal rights groups go after Hollywood for fur coats, after all. I guess the mainstream environmental groups get too much money from Hollywood.

Also, the cars and limos are visible, whereas the 5 mansions, private jets, private heated pools, etc., are not.

Also, John Kerry and Teresa Heinz have co-written a book about what fantastic environmentalists they are, not mentioning the five mansions, Gulfstream 5, black SUVs, etc.

And it occurred to me the other day that Kerry opposed wind mills one mile of off Cape Cod, because, you know, they would be slightly visible from the seaside mansions on Martha's Vineyard! How's the for elitism!!

Buz said...

It concerns me that these people actually believe that they are "eco-friendly" because their jet only use 7000 times the fuel that my Chevy uses, rather than the 10,000 times the fuel of my Chevy that their old jet used to use ... and that they're looking at me because they have made a 30% improvement and I am still driving the gas guzzling Chevy ...

What scares me even more is that there are millions of Americans who will vote for them because that argument seems perfectly logical.


"The first step in thinking outside the box is THINKING!"

Buz said...

I was wondering ... if Mr. Gore is buying Carbon Credits (TM), then who is he buying them from?

I mean they are like intangibles, right ... like selling castles in the sky. I guess it is more like stock options, where your just selling someone the right to buy something. Except that stock options are the right to buy stock, a piece of a company.

Carbon Credits (TM) are the right to emit carbon dioxide. Everyone does that, so we each have some vested interest in them.

Shouldn't every man, woman, and child on the earth have like 10 Carbon Credits (TM)? Shouldn't you get them at birth, or on your 21st birthday? Shouldn't you get more as you grow older (say 1/year or something)?

According to Wikipedia, one Carbon Credit (TM) is good for one tonne of CO2. One tonne is 1000 Kg, or roughly:

CO2 = 44 g/mole
10^6g / 44g/mole = 22.7 Kmoles
22.7 Kmoles * 22.4 Liters/mole = 509,318 L of CO2

The average person has roughly a 2 liter lung capacity, and breathes about 1 liter 10 times a minute ... 10 liters/minute. Of that, they exhale 5% CO2 ... about 0.5 liters of CO2 / minute. So, the average person would use 1 Carbon Credit (TM) in about 2 years. But, Mr. Gore is a politician. He probably uses one or two every time he gives a speech. So, shouldn't he have to buy one every time he gives a speech?

According to Wikipedia, the govt. hands them out in accord with the Kyoto protocols. But we didn't adopt the Kyoto protocols. So, isn't buying Carbon Credits (TM) like buying Elephant tusks or Eagle feathers ... dealing in a banned substance. Shouldn't Mr. Gore be put in jail, or at least banished from the US for participating in proscribed and unamerican activities?


Don't ask the question unless you really want to know the answer.