Reason's Nick Gillespie Exposes Maher Hypocrisy: Would You Give Up This Show to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?

July 23rd, 2011 12:07 PM

Bill Maher on Friday once again got caught in his own hypocrisy.

As HBO's "Real Time" host waxed philosophic about socialism and "shared sacrifice" for the good of the country, Reason TV's Nick Gillespie stumped the sometimes comedian by asking if he would give up his cars or his television show to reduce his carbon footprint (video follows with transcript and commentary):

BILL MAHER, HOST: It seems like, you know, the idea of socialism and sacrifice and we're all in it together, which is socialism is a very bad word in this country, but we had last weekend out here in something called Carmageddon where they closed the 405 and we thought it was going be horrible. But you know what? They educated the public, they asked them to help and participate, and they did, and it made me think maybe this could, crazy idea, maybe the idea of asking people to sacrifice and actually, you know, bringing them into the situation they would respond.


NICK GILLESPIE, REASON TV: But what's the sacrifice? I mean, just don't use the 405 for a weekend.

MAHER: That's true. It wasn’t a big sacrifice.

DONNA BRAZILE: But really, stay off the roads, walk, talk to your neighbor, you know, get around.

MAHER: Some of these things are not that difficult. I read in USA TODAY this week that if every American just gave up eating meat and cheese one day of the week, it would be the equivalent of saving 91 billion driving miles in a year.

So, people should give up meat and cheese one day of the week to reduce total carbon dioxide emissions. But when Gillespie made "shared sacrifice" personal to Maher, he froze up like a deer in headlights: 

GILLESPIE: It's always great when somebody else is going to sacrifice because how many cars do you own?

MAHER: I own two.

GILLESPIE: Okay, so would you give up both of them?

MAHER: Both cars?


MAHER: Why would I have to give up both cars?

GILLESPIE: Would you give up your TV show? What's the carbon footprint of this show? Maybe, can the world do without it?

Indeed. The carbon footprint associated with powering and producing a weekly television show must be huge.

It's a metaphysical certitude that between Maher's cars, his show, his air travel, and his palatial home in Los Angeles, he has a far greater carbon footprint than the overwhelming majority of people on this planet.

Yet, when asked to "sacrifice" for the greater good, he looked at Gillespie like the Libertarian was trying to steal his wallet.

This of course was the point of Peter Schweizer's 2005 book "Do As I Say (Not As I Do)": liberals like Maher are all for "shared sacrifice" as long as it doesn't include them.

How inconvenient for the holier-than-thou "Real Time" host to have it so marvelously demonstrated on his own program for all the world to see.

*****Update: People have been asking what Maher's response was. He had none. Brazile changed the subject by talking about Gillespie's leather jacket.

If there had been anything relevant to this discussion after Gillespie's great questions, I would have included it. Unfortunately, there wasn't.