What is a “Climate Change Denier”?
We have frequently noted in these pages that the environmental movement has a number of extremist elements that are anti-civilization in their outlook and have a very mean authoritarian streak. Among other things we have frequently cited the fact that many from the authoritarian Left have drifted into this (and other) movements after their sugar daddy in Moscow expired with the fall of the Soviet Union. However, this extremism is now increasingly going mainstream. After the earth’s climate has stopped warming for 18 years running (plus one month) in spite of atmospheric CO2 rising by one third over the same period, many apparently think the best course would be to shut up critics by force.
Let us first define the people who are on the receiving end of the derogatory “denier” term (it is derogatory because it reminds of the term “holocaust denier” and it is clear that this is the reason it was picked). None of them “deny” that the climate is changing. It would be a foolish thing to assert, given that the climate has always changed and always will. The scientists who try to debunk climate alarmism are simply not alarmist.
The vast bulk of them concedes that human activity likely has some influence on the planet’s climate, but they believe that there is no certainty about the size of this influence, and whether CO2 (which the alarmists have declared to be the main “climate forcing” agent) really has all that much to do with it. The paleoclimate record clearly suggests that this is not the case, as CO2 increases in the atmosphere have always followed warming periods with a considerable lag and not led them in a single instance. Moreover, the historical climate record – almost regardless of how far back one looks – shows that the earth’s climate has frequently been far warmer than today, long before anyone thought of burning fossil fuels.
In short, the skeptical argument boils down to: we do not know enough to indict human activity. Much of what we observe could simply be natural variation. Therefore, we should think twice before we take actions that threaten to destroy economic growth and ultimately industrial civilization. By now a powerful record of evidence is backing the skeptics up. Alarmists have invented 52 different excuses over just the past half year or so as to why their “predictive computer models” have failed to predict the “pause” – or why, indeed, they have failed to predict anything at all (the latest, and probably funniest excuse yet, is that they “could have predicted it if they had a time machine and could go back into the past”).
Again, it is important to remember here: not a single alarmist prediction made since the late 1970s has come true – not one. However, alarmism sells: it sells newspapers, it is loved by the political class, as it justifies ever greater government interference in the economy, and it is therefore the source of a huge gravy train of scientific grants. Many scientists try to be as alarmist as possible for this very reason: it keeps the grant money flowing. When they think no-one’s looking, they admit to each other what a “travesty” it all is (their words, from the “Climategate” e-mails).
It’s official: no global warming in 18 years 1 month, according to satellite data.
Indeed, there is travesty galore. For instance, supposedly scientifically neutral government-owned agencies have repeatedly been caught falsifying past temperature records (here is a recent example, but there are many more as a quick Google search reveals) – and always with the same outcome: to make the most recent warming period look much worse than it really was.
Last time we wrote on this topic we mentioned efforts to “remove the Holocene from the climate record” (i.e., the fairly recent past since the end of the last ice age) – it is clear why: the modern warming period looks like an unimpressive dimple at the lower end of the temperature range on the chart.
It should be pointed out that not even the alarmists deny any of the data we mention above (otherwise there wouldn’t be a scramble to explain and if possible downplay the significance of the “pause”). We would also like to stress that just because someone is a member of what could be broadly termed the “alarmist camp”, it certainly doesn’t mean they are not doing serious scientific work. Skeptics spend a great deal of time studying everything that is published by the mainstream and there are many areas of agreement. The problem as we see it is only that the worst of the alarmists have developed a “gatekeeper” function at scientific journals, trying to suppress all research that contradicts their claims and that they enjoy a monopoly on the media echo chamber, which is incessantly used to propagate the most ludicrous claims. Even worse, the government-mandated switch to “green energy” already has serious negative economic ramifications in several European countries, most notably Germany (a “disaster”) and Great Britain (a “fiasco”).
However, in light of the fact that the “global warming” meme appears to be collapsing on the hard rocks of reality, authoritarians apparently feel the time to hold back is over and are frequently coming out of the closet of late.
Skeptics Must be Silenced by All Means – Killing Them is OK Too
We all know that skeptics have been smeared for many years as being in the employ of industrial polluters. This was always a lie, but it is clear that skeptics are largely excluded from government funding (i.e., they do not receive money that is forcibly extracted from tax payers), so much of the little funding they get presumably does come from the private sector – but the claim that they are funded by ‘polluters’ is a lie. What we didn’t know is that the smear campaign is a coordinated project that was started in 1991 by Al Gore’s senate office; a.
Smears about funding are one thing though – demands to jail or kill skeptics are a significant step up in rhetoric. First we came across something that we thought reflects the authoritarian mindset of the Left quite nicely. Australia’s government bureaucracy in the capital territory (ACT) has just approved government funding for a theater project with the rather unsubtle title “Kill Climate Deniers”. Here is an excerpt from the list of successful Arts Fund applicants:
2015 ACT Arts Fund successful applicants – Project Funding
The Project Funding round is offered once a year and presents the ACT community with the opportunity to propose one-off arts activities.
Successful 2015 Project Funding applicants were announced in September 2014. Below is a list of successful applicants by name in alphabetical order.
- A Chorus of Women: $24,990 to assist with costs of performances of a community oratorio ‘A Passion for Peace’.
- Art Song Canberra Inc: $6,713 to assist with costs of presenting art song concerts, classes and events.
- Art Space: $15,600 to assist with costs of a creative development project with artists living with disability.
- Aspen Island Theatre Company: $18,793 to assist with costs of the creative development of a new theatre work, ‘Kill Climate Deniers’.
As conservative columnist Andrew Bolt remarked:
“The Left is the natural home of the modern totalitarian – and of all those who feel entitled by their superior morality to act as savages. How does the ACT Government justify spending taxpayers’ money on a theater work entitled ”Kill Climate Deniers”? What sane Government donates to a project urging others to kill fellow citizens, even as a “joke”? Are these people mad? The theater company says it’s not into actual killing, just “exploring” ways to get political change:
“We are not advocating the murder of carbon lobbyists!We are instead seeking to explore the question: What does it take to achieve political change in this society?” the company said.
You know, like killing. If I were thug enough to write a play with the title “Kill Climate Scientists” would I get a grant? Would the ABC rush to present my defense?”
This comes on the heels of the similarly unsubtle “no pressure” advertising campaign in Britain that was ultimately retracted.
However, the Left’s search for a “final solution” to the problem of skeptics is continuing. In March an article by Adam Weinstein was posted at “Gawker”, entitled “Arrest Climate Change Deniers”, in support of a previous jeremiad along similar lines by a professor of philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, one Lawrence Toricello. So if you say that 18 years of zero warming and 36 years of failing predictions by alarmists should give us pause and represent a good reason to rethink the entire alarmist argument, you are “criminally negligent” and should be jailed for daring to air your dissent. Interestingly, already the first two sentences of the article are baseless assertions/lies:
“Man-made climate change happens . Man-made climate change kills a lot of people. It’s going to kill a lot more. We have laws on the books to punish anyone whose lies contribute to people’s deaths. It’s time to punish the climate-change liars.”
Even though, for rather obvious reasons, they don’t call it “global warming” anymore, that is what they mean by “man-made climate change”. The fact of the matter is however that regardless of what caused the most recent warming period, it has stopped. So it would be correct to write: “if there actually is man-made climate change, it isn’t happening anymore”.
The claim that it “kills a lot of people” is so ludicrous it seems hardly deserving of comment, but allow us just to point out here the obvious basic fact that something that is not happening cannot “kill” anyone. Even if the warming period had continued, this claim would be nonsense. It seems very difficult to assert that the Roman and medieval warm periods (both were much warmer than today) “killed a lot of people”, as they were actually periods when human civilization flourished nicely. By contrast, it is an apodictic certainty that the “little ice age” after the medieval warming period did kill a lot of people, as there were serious harvest failures all over the world.
Anyway, who cares about such pesky facts? We must arrest and jail the “deniers”! But you are graciously allowed to remain a “simple skeptic”. Adam Weinstein will presumably draw up a plan of how to distinguish between “simple skeptics” and “harmless men in the street” and those he thinks are “dangerous deniers” that need to be jailed. Note his condescension toward the common man who is evidently too stupid to understand the Weinstein-approved truth. Such condescension is a typical attribute of leftist authoritarians:
“Those denialists should face jail. They should face fines. They should face lawsuits from the classes of people whose lives and livelihoods are most threatened by denialist tactics.
Let’s make a clear distinction here: I’m not talking about the man on the street who thinks Rush Limbaugh is right, and climate change is a socialist United Nations conspiracy foisted by a Muslim U.S. president on an unwitting public to erode its civil liberties.
You all know that man. That man is an idiot. He is too stupid to do anything other than choke the earth’s atmosphere a little more with his Mr. Pibb burps and his F-150’s gassy exhaust. Few of us believers in climate change can do much more—or less—than he can.
Nor am I talking about simple skeptics, particularly the scientists who must constantly hypo-test our existing assumptions about the world in order to check their accuracy. That is part and parcel of the important public policy discussion about what we do next.
But there is scientific skepticism… and there is a malicious, profiteering quietist agenda posturing as skepticism. There is uncertainty about whether man-made climate change can be stopped or reversed… and there is the body of purulent pundits, paid sponsors, and corporate grifters who exploit the smallest uncertainty at the edges of a settled science.
I’m talking about Rush and his multi-million-dollar ilk in the disinformation business. I’m talking about Americans for Prosperity and the businesses and billionaires who back its obfuscatory propaganda. I’m talking about public persons and organizations and corporations for whom denying a fundamental scientific fact is profitable, who encourage the acceleration of an anti-environment course of unregulated consumption and production that, frankly, will screw my son and your children and whatever progeny they manage to have. Those malcontents must be punished and stopped.”
So is it OK if we call Adam Weinstein and his ilk Climate Nazis? We actually think it is. As an aside, Weinstein also dredges up the “97% consensus” claim, which has been debunked so completely one should really be embarrassed to even mention it. Needless to say, science has never advanced by “consensus” anyway. Nearly all scientific discoveries in the history of mankind that have revolutionized our understanding of the world have faced massive resistance from the establishment status quo (from Galileo to the discoverer of plate tectonics, Alfred Wegener, who was disbelieved and denounced by the scientific community for a full 50 years).
Mr. Weinstein is by far not the only authoritarian Leftist who wants to jail climate skeptics. We have previously reported on humanity-hating eco-fascists like Finnish radial “activist” Pennti Linkola or UK scientist James Lovelock. The former simply wants to depopulate the planet and put all his surviving enemies into concentration camps and “re-education” gulags, while the latter thinks it is “time to put democracy on hold”, so that governments can cram his vision of what should be done down our throats by force. It is actually proper to call the leftist radicals advocating such tactics “eco-fascists” as well, because that is precisely what they are. After all, the socialist and fascist ideologies are really only two sides of the same authoritarian coin.
In late September, prominent environmental attorney Robert Kennedy jr. (a member of the Kennedy clan that is one of the “political dynasties” in the Land of the Free) also let his mask slip. As Charles W. Cooke reports on this “aspiring tyrant”:
“Blissfully unaware of how hot the irony burned, Robert Kennedy Jr. yesterday took to a public protest to rail avidly in favor of censorship. The United States government, Kennedy lamented in an interview with Climate Depot, is not permitted by law to “punish” or to imprison those who disagree with him — and this, he proposed, is a problem of existential proportions. Were he to have his way, Kennedy admitted, he would cheer the prosecution of a host of “treasonous” figures — among them a number of unspecified “politicians”; those bêtes noires of the global Left, Kansas’s own Koch Brothers; “the oil industry and the Republican echo chamber”; and, for good measure, anybody else whose estimation of the threat posed by fossil fuels has provoked them into “selling out the public trust.” Those who contend that global warming “does not exist,” Kennedy claimed, are guilty of “a criminal offense — and they ought to be serving time for it.”
Cooke’s entire article is well worth reading. Here is one more excerpt in which he reminds Mr. Kennedy that once one decides to prohibit free speech in one area, there will soon no longer be any area that will be off-limits in justifying more such prohibitions.
“When Robert Kennedy contends that there ought to be “a law” with which the state “could punish” nonconformists, he is in effect inviting Washington, D.C., to establish itself as an oracle, to ensconce in aspic a set of approved facts, and to cast those who refuse to accede as heretics who must be hunted down and burned in the interest of the greater good.
As the blood-spattered history of the human race shows us in appalling and graphic detail, the wise response to the man who insists that the Holocaust did not happen, or that 2 + 2 = 5, or that the United States is geographically smaller than Sweden is to gently correct him — and, if one must, to mock or ignore or berate him, too. It is never — under any circumstances — to push him through the criminal-justice system. The cry “but this is different” remains in the case of climate change precisely what it has always been: the cry of the ambitious and the despotic. Once the principle of free speech is subordinated to expedience, circumstances can always be found to justify its suppression.”
We would note to this that not a single skeptic has as of yet called for the jailing or extermination of members of the Church of Global Warming – so even if we knew nothing about the underlying issues, we would find it easy to decide which group we’d rather support. Since we do know a little about the issues, it is an even easier decision.
Robert F. Kenndy jr.: wants to shut up “climate change deniers” by jailing them
(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris / WireImage)
Mr. Cooke also notes in passing that academics tend to be curiously silent when authoritarians like Mr. Kennedy are letting their inner Stalin hang out for all to see. We would add to this that there is at least one academic who has a worse fate in mind for “global warming deniers” – like putting them to death:
“Richard Parncutt, Professor of Systematic Musicology, University of Graz, Austria, reckons people like Watts, Tallbloke, Singer, Michaels, Monckton, McIntyre and me (there are too many to list) should be executed. He’s gone full barking mad, and though he says these are his “personal opinions” they are listed on his university web site.
For all the bleating of those who say they’ve had real “death threats“, we get discussions about executing skeptics from Professors, wielding the tyrannical power of the state. Was he paid by the state to write these simplistic, immature, “solutions”? Do taxpayers fund his web expenses? (And what the heck is systematic musicology?)
Prof Richard Parncutt says:
“I have always been opposed to the death penalty in all cases…”
“Even mass murderers [like Breivik] should not be executed, in my opinion.”
“GW deniers fall into a completely different category from Behring Breivik. They are already causing the deaths of hundreds of millions of future people. We could be speaking of billions, but I am making a conservative estimate.”
“If a jury of suitably qualified scientists estimated that a given GW denier had already, with high probability (say 95%), caused the deaths of over one million future people, then s/he would be sentenced to death. The sentence would then be commuted to life imprisonment if the accused admitted their mistake, demonstrated genuine regret, AND participated significantly and positively over a long period in programs to reduce the effects of GW (from jail) – using much the same means that were previously used to spread the message of denial. At the end of that process, some GW deniers would never admit their mistake and as a result they would be executed. Perhaps that would be the only way to stop the rest of them. The death penalty would have been justified in terms of the enormous numbers of saved future lives.”
Recant you foolish deniers or we’ll kill you! Yeah. Welcome to modern scientific debate. Who should die? Anyone named on Desmog:
“Much more would have happened by now if not for the GW deniers. An amazing number of people still believe that GW is a story made up by scientists with ulterior motives. For a long list of climate change deniers and their stories see desmogblog.”
So the denier database becomes the “death list”. The list decided by PR experts on a funded smear site, who profit from marketing Green corporations. But it’s ok, he includes a caveat where he says he didn’t say what I quoted above, so he can later pretend he isn’t discussing real deaths of real people:
“Please note that I am not directly suggesting that the threat of execution be carried out. I am simply presenting a logical argument. I am neither a politician nor a lawyer. I am just thinking aloud about an important problem.”
And we all feel so much better don’t we? But seriously, Global warming deniers are the worst vermin on the face of the Earth, worse than holocaust deniers, tobacco deniers and worse than someone who bombs buildings and shoots children en masse:
“I don’t think that mass murderers of the usual kind, such Breivik, should face the death penalty. Nor do I think tobacco denialists are guilty enough to warrant the death penalty, in spite of the enormous number of deaths that resulted more or less directly from tobacco denialism. GW is different. With high probability it will cause hundreds of millions of deaths. For this reason I propose that the death penalty is appropriate for influential GW deniers.”
The only thing we would commend Dr. Parncutt for is that he calls it “global warming” instead of “climate change”. This term is on the verge of becoming politically incorrect these days, since we urgently need to leave the possibility open to blame human activity for any putative future cooling, as well as for catastrophically unchanging temperatures.
Professor Richard Parncutt – mass murderers like Andre Brejvik (who killed almost 80 defenseless students to “send a signal” about Norwegian policies he disagreed with) should not be subject to capital punishment, but an exception should be made for “global warming deniers” (the people who think that the barely visible blip of warming at the end of the Holocene poses no urgent problem). It is only “logical” that they need to be put to death.
(Photo by Sissi Furgler)
Killing skeptics has also been advocated in a cartoon published by the New York Times last winter, so the idea is clearly going mainstream:
“When apocalyptic cults turn murderous, they become a danger to the public. The warmist cult, frustrated by the failure of nature to back-up their prophecies of doom, apparently is turning to homicidal fantasies, and venting them in the pages of the New York Times. A truly shocking cartoon was published in the pages of that formerly august newspaper, brought to our attention by wattsupwiththat.com and climatedepot.com. In it, the frustrations of warmists over the unusually cold winter (which US Government climatologists completely failed to predict) are channeled into the suggestion that they use “the 2014 icicle surplus” as “Self destructing sabers for climate change change deniers”
Here is the cartoon in question:
Cartoon published in the NYT – if it gets so cold that there is a surplus of icicles, use them to kill global warming “deniers”.
One probably shouldn’t be terribly surprised by this. After all, the alarmist cult is inherently statist – even its more harmless members all want the State to impose vast restrictions on economic freedom to deal with what increasingly looks like a complete non-problem.
The State, as Ludwig von Mises remind us, “…is the opposite of liberty. It is beating, imprisoning, hanging. Whatever a government does it is ultimately supported by the actions of armed constables.”
A few more quotes by Mises on the topic of government seem highly apposite in the above context:
“Government is a guarantor of liberty and is compatible with liberty only if its range is adequately restricted to the preservation of what is called economic freedom.
Once the principle is admitted that it is duty of government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.
The state is a human institution, not a superhuman being. He who says state means coercion and compulsion. He who says: There should be a law concerning this matter, means: The armed men of the government should force people to do what they do not want to do, or not to do what they like. He who says: This law should be better enforced, means: the police should force people to obey this law. He who says: The state is God, deifies arms and prisons.
We see that as soon as we surrender the principle that the state should not interfere in any questions touching of the individuals mode of life, we end by regulating and restricting the latter down to the smallest detail. The personal freedom of the individual is abrogated. He becomes a slave of the community bound to obey the dictates of the majority.
Most of the tyrants, despots, and dictators are sincerely convinced that their rule is beneficial for the people, that theirs is government for the people.
Nobody ever recommended a dictatorship aiming at ends other than those he himself approved. He who advocates dictatorship always advocates the unrestricted rule of his own will.”
The last quote is conveying an especially important truth: those who demand the government introduce dictatorial decrees to achieve by force whatever they believe needs to be achieved, always want to see their own plans put into practice. In their mind, people are simply not capable of knowing what is good for them, for lack of intelligence or some other inherent defect. They want to correct the perceived errors of others by force in the name of a “greater good” only they can properly discern.
Usually when revolutions bring such people to power, they quickly fall out among themselves, because they soon start fighting over whose plan should be supreme. Thus the French Revolution began to “devour its own children” and Stalin’s comrades from the time of the Bolshevik revolution soon found themselves at the wrong end of a purge.
The extremists in the global warming cult are no different. We are calling it a cult, because it has all the attributes of one, such as the almost religious faith of members in the righteousness of their stance even in the face of a growing mountain of countervailing evidence. By its very nature this cult is authoritarian – it cannot be otherwise, since its demands can only be fulfilled by force. This defining characteristic is recently becoming ever more obvious. Calls to silence critics by applying the force of government speak for themselves in this regard. This incidentally also reveals another “inconvenient truth”: if there are critics that need to be jailed or killed, it obviously means that the debate is not over.
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