We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Interesting article, Barrimeister. There's a link on the page to a short article that notes which companies are most likely to be sued if Congressional CO2 mandates are put into action. Anyone who thinks 'green acts' by Congress will just mean a few more dollars at the pump had better think again:
"No such suits have been filed yet, but should a cap on CO2 emissions be passed, lawsuits would most likely come not from environmentalists, says Beth Young, author of the Corporate Library report, but from pension or hedge funds that take a loss or index funds that canít dump the companyís stock."
And since large companies form mutual funds, which are what the average person has his money invested in (either directly or by their bank), everyone stands to lose.
But as far as your quandry goes, you raise an age-old question:
Is it 'unethical' if that's what people want?
You can't say that the lawyering is a "scam", in the sense that what they're doing is authentic legal work -- nothing scammy about it. Global warming, itself, might be a scam, but that's not the same thing. Saying you wouldn't do legal work for an environmental company because global warming is a hoax is like a defense attorney saying he'll only defend innocent men. That's not how lawyering works, and you know it.
And there's another aspect to it. Okay, let's say you don't want to earn the big bucks doing legal work for Greenpeace. Well, what about the other guy? Don't the companies deserve legal representation as the scam artists pick at their bones? Anything 'unethical' about that? If you view representing Greenpeace as 'unethical', then wouldn't defending the companies they attack be considered a 'noble calling'?
How about 'obligation'?
If you believe you're a good lawyer, and you believe companies (and individuals) are being unfairly attacked by the environmental activists, then don't you feel some kind of 'moral obligation' to help defend them?
And there's yet another element to it. As noted in the above quote, what if it's not Greenpeace who wants to hire you, but some hedge fund that just wants its money back? Money that belongs to simple folk like you and me. Anything 'unethical' about that?
But back to the original point of whether or not it's 'ethical' to take people's money when they're holding it out to you, begging you to take it, let me give you a parallel story.
A couple of years ago, when the phrase 'carbon credits' hit the scene, I suggested to a friend that we pool our resources and open a carbon credits business. It wouldn't be a "scam", in the sense that we'd actually hire companies in the Northwest to plant trees for us, thereby giving our customers what they paid for.
The question isn't whether or not the trees do any good, or if there are actually little carbon things out there that the trees will "offset", but whether or not the customers are satisfied. If they are, then any 'ethical' questions have been answered.
Your initial use of 'ethical' was in regard to the larger picture, but I would argue the contrary. I'd argue that it starts with the individual person, and larger picture be damned. If Greenpeace wants to pay you $700/hr to lobby Washington, then you do it wholeheartedly, with zeal, giving it your best, and sleep well at night.
Besides, wouldn't you be the first to claim that "the science is unsettled"? So you can't flat-out say either party is wrong. What if it turns out there really IS some atmospheric-crippling chemical combo that just hasn't been discovered yet, and you're the one who lobbies just the right Congresscritter who passes just the right bill that limits its production until its horrid nature is discovered?
You saying it couldn't happen?
I'd suggest you take that pencilneck self of yours straight over to the desk, grab a book on environmental law, digest every word, take some test somewhere to get some accredidation, and go for it. ________________________________________
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