Fairness to Your Opponent: In Praise of the Heartland Institute’s Treatment of An Inconvenient Truth

It has been several years since I watched Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth on global warming climate change.  The circumstances were interesting.  The Heartland Institute sent me the film on DVD.  I believe they mailed it to many people.  They also sent along a second film as a form of rebuttal.  Just as Heartland intended, I sat down and watched both films.

The Heartland Institute could have simply attacked Gore’s film, attacked his character, selectively cited his words, emphasized weak points, etc.  But instead, they sent Gore’s film (the primary document) and said, “Watch this.”  The strategy demonstrated confidence in their own position and charity toward Gore’s views because they had the integrity to deal with Gore in his own words and in full.

How often do participants in arguments of any kind give such respect to their opponents and their position?  There is another important point worth noting.  While Heartland’s approach to An Inconvenient Truth demonstrated respect for Gore and his side of the argument, it also exhibited respect for me as someone who might really want to understand the issue.  Rather than manipulating me, Heartland dignified me.  They treated me as someone who would like to learn rather than as someone they needed to trick into accepting a point of view.

We should look for similar attributes from people who would like to convince us of something.   In other words, pretty much the opposite of the meme generators who rule social media today.

8 thoughts on “Fairness to Your Opponent: In Praise of the Heartland Institute’s Treatment of An Inconvenient Truth

  1. This kind of full disclosure is definitely better. However, we encounter too much information, and too many arguments in a day, to fully evaluate everything. We live in an ADHD culture, which is why very often the right form of argument is a meme, imperfect as it is. But an honest meme should include a link to the primary document it argues with.

  2. One side of this debate, for more than twenty five years now, has always been very open, shares their data with anyone who asks for it, has literally been desperate to be heard and has been repeatedly bullied into conforming with an idea that their own observable data simply doesn’t agree with.

    All the while, the other side has the ear of the world media, unlimited resources and funding to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars by governments.green groups and yes…….oil companies. It is dominated by one political party, does not share its data, even when ordered by FOIA requests, and goes to great lengths to censor and/or character assassinate anyone who disagrees with them. Oh, and this side also owns all the 25+ years of ridiculously failed global warming predictions, to the point now that every single weather event imaginable is caused by global warming..

    There are so many torpedo holes in the side of the global warming cruise, yet it steams onward, kept afloat by politicians, unlimited resources and the greed that is making a few individuals very rich. Global warming – too big to fail now.

  3. So what was the other DVD they sent with “Inconvenient Truth”?
    I would have thought that was obvious information to include in the article.

    • Can’t recall the title, Mike, but it presented the other side. Will try to find it. It wasn’t my point to publicize that, but rather to praise Heartland’s approach.

  4. It was “The Great Global Warming Swindle,” I think the year was 2007, and we sent 2,000 2-dvd sets to people we thought were influential in the debate. We greatly appreciate Hunter Baker’s kind remarks.

    • Thanks for that. I have seen that one, just wanted to be sure there wasn’t a good “Realists” DVD I might have missed.

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