Shorter Robert Samuelson: Because the Toyota Prius will not single-handedly solve climate change, the only possible reason you would buy one is to make me feel guilty.
News flash to Samuelson: the whole world does not revolve around you. This is the kind of thing that's starting to wear awfully thin, the cynicism that says people don't change their buying habits out of a sense of collective responsibility or a desire to change the world, but rather only because they want an excuse to look down their nose at you.
Of course, it's a bullshit excuse for Samuelson's attitude, anyway; this has nothing to do with his fatuous interpretation of economics or the price of corn or anything else like that. This is all about guilt. If you didn't feel a pang of guilt that you're not doing enough to help the environment, then it wouldn't bother you what other people do with their money and whether they're looking askance at you while they spend it. Not everyone can buy a Prius (we happened to have one fall in our lap), and not everyone likes the Prius or hybrids in general. Different people will do different things to help save the planet, or nothing at all if that suits them. But crying about how Al Gore's making you feel bad is a transparent admittance of guilt, and a puerile attempt at making everyone else change their behavior (for the worse!) so you can soothe your aching conscience.
The great lesson of adolescence/adulthood is learning that there are bigger, more important things out there than oneself, and that, as they say in the movies, "it's not always about you." I'd suggest Mr. Samuelson get crackin' on learning that.