"How wrong I was. I knew in the abstract that being ridiculous is no bar to public prominence. Consider: Al Gore, former Vice-President and Nobel Laureate. Al Sharpton, king maker and presidential candidate. Al Franken, U.S. Senator. And that’s just people whose first name is “Al.”
But although it is clear that something can easily be both ridiculous and prominent, somehow I underestimated the staying power of environmentalism. I did so partly because I underestimated the mesmerizing power of this version of paganism on the collective consciousness of our secular elites: too sophisticated to subscribe openly to traditional religion but who nonetheless yearned for a token of spiritual uplift with which they could flatter themselves and impress others."