People who commit their lives to going green are just better people. They're more moral, more honest. At least, they keep telling us that, and apparently many students believe it, say University of Toronto psychologists:
They initially quizzed the students on their impressions of people who buy eco-friendly products, and for the most part, they considered such consumers to be more “more cooperative, altruistic and ethical” than ordinary consumers...
Then the researchers took it an extra step: They ran a test to see who would be more likely to cheat and steal: Greens? Or conventional shoppers?
They divided the greens and conventional shoppers, and then gave the students a test that tempted them to steal money. The researchers found:
The green consumers were more likely to cheat than the conventional purchasers, and they stole more money when asked to withdraw their winnings from envelopes on their desks.
This concept of moral license has been demonstrated before, writes Wray Herbert in his blog for the Association for Psychological Science.
(W)hen they have reason to feel a little superior, that positive self image triggers a sense of moral license. That is, the righteous feel they have some latitude to stray a bit in order to compensate. It’s like working in a soup kitchen gives you the right to cheat on your taxes later in the week.
Maybe that’s why sanctimonious stewards of the environment like Al Gore are comfortable lecturing the rest of us while living large in mega-mansions.