16 August 2007

Burning the Heretics

The climate orthodoxy's crusade against the heretics hijacked Newsweek recently. Pity the poor "deniers" when mighty Newsweek attacks! Or not.

At the Live Earth concert in New Jersey last month, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. denounced climate-change skeptics as "corporate toadies" for "villainous" enemies of America and the human race. "This is treason," he shouted, "and we need to start treating them now as traitors."

Some environmentalists and commentators have suggested that global-warming "denial" be made a crime, much as Holocaust denial is in some countries. Others have proposed that climate-change dissidents be prosecuted in Nuremberg-style trials. The Weather Channel's Heidi Cullen has suggested that television meteorologists be stripped of their American Meteorological Society certification if they dare to question predictions of catastrophic global warming.

A few weeks ago, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Marlo Lewis published an article opposing mandatory limits on carbon-dioxide emissions, arguing that Congress should not impose caps until the technology exists to produce energy that doesn't depend on carbon dioxide. In response to Lewis's reasonable piece, the president of the American Council on Renewable Energy, Michael Eckhart, issued a threat:

..."Take this warning from me, Marlo. It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America."

What kind of limp-wristed threat is that? What kind of a moron takes himself so seriously that he would even talk like that? Utter fool.

This is the zealotry and intolerance of the auto-da-fé. The last place it belongs is in public-policy debate. The interesting and complicated phenomenon of climate change is still being figured out, and as much as those determined to turn it into a crusade of good vs. evil may insist otherwise, the issue of global warming isn't a closed book. Smearing those who buck the "scientific consensus" as traitors, toadies, or enemies of humankind may be emotionally satisfying and even professionally lucrative. It is also indefensible, hyperbolic bullying. That the bullies are sure they are doing the right thing is not a point in their defense.

"The greatest dangers to liberty," Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, "lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

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Blogger Will Brown said...

Presumably Mssr. Eckhart doesn't rely on the "Harvard community" for his own satisfying lucre. Even so, he might give some thought to the word "petard", particularly in relation to the phrase "hoist by ..."; campaigns, once begun, have a nasty habit of working both ways. What a buffoon.

Sadly, it seems likely that many will pay a painful price before this power grab runs it's course. Hopefully this will be confined to financial and reputation damage only and no-one will seriously call to "Burn the witch!"

Friday, 17 August, 2007  
Blogger Kailash Chand said...

Your article on global warming is quite impressed. But you gave me more information about effect of green house projects. I had found a site which give regulary updates on global warming. This blog give have some great points like "The real heat will start after 2009, they said."

Friday, 17 August, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

Will: I am observing far more willingness of scientists to speak out about the limitations of current climate models. Government and foundation grants are still going primarily to the alarmists. But all of this bluster and intimidation aimed at dissenters is probably going to backfire on the orthodoxy.

Bhuvan: I very much like such predictions, since predicting something will happen within a year or two is much easier to check. If the event fails to occur, the predictors are forced to re-examine their assumptions. When someone predicts something will happen by 2050 or 2100, they are not likely to be alive to confront the failure of their prediction. Such predictions require neither courage nor foundation.

Friday, 17 August, 2007  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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