In a jaw-dropping post on Gawker-–I would suspect link bait if this wasn’t a disturbing trend-— a supposedly (formerly?) reputable journalist argues that anyone who challenges global warming orthodoxy should be prosecuted as a criminal. Here is Adam Weinstein making a fool out of himself (actually, only a fool could write such crap), and doing it by quoting as an authority the absurd Prof Lawrence Torcello, whose earlier advocacy of punishing global warming skeptics I wrote about in this post. Weinstein:
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.
Nice, don’t you think? Just yesterday, I believe, a major study was released that suggested that saturated fats were not as unhealthy as “settled science” had long told us they were. Oh, they are fighting over the findings now, but never mind: the point is that anyone who tries to shut down ongoing challenges to “settled science” is ignorant, and worse, dangerous.
If you think slowing down the political (it’s not objectively scientific, of course) steamroller on climate change policies is deadly, just examine the history of what has transpired when dissenters like “Rush and his multi-million-dollar ilk in the disinformation business” were intimidated and punished by the state for daring to challenge conventional wisdom declared by The One as “fact.” Tally up the millions upon millions slaughtered, liquidated and starved to death by Stalin and Mao; you don’t even have to add in Hitler’s casualties in World War II. Will the entirely speculative effects of global warming be more deadly than that? I can only guess, but I do know how deadly suppressing free thought, research, debate and dissent has been, because I’m not relying on computer models.
Does Adam, or for that matter, his hero Torcello, actually know how accurate climate change models are? Could he even read one? I doubt it. I’ve read his bio and education; like Torcello, he not a climate expert, or even a scientist. How then can this unimpressively educated, narrow-interest journalist be so sure that the scientific majority on this subject that he barely comprehends at an Al Gore level (that is to say, “Duh”) is so right, when so many other scientific conclusions have been proven so wrong?
He can’t. He just wants to end the argument by threats and force, that’s all. Just like authoritarians, dictators, bullies and tyrants always have, even though Weinstein presumably knows the carnage and horror the enslavement of human thought has always wrought.
By Adam Weinstein’s own logic, there should be a law to protect us against him.
Of course, he is the idiot here, along with Prof. Torcello and Gawker. What does it say about the state of journalism, though, that someone with this anti-American, anti-democratic, autocratic mindset can carve out a career writing for the New york Times, Wall Street Journal, New Yorker and other sort-of respectable publications? What does it say about Gawker and Mother Jones that they would employ such an arrogant, ignorant, incompetent fool as an editor? I don’t really care about his silly, silly essay; a fifth-grader could rebut it. What I find frightening is how many others like him lurk beneath the floor boards of our culture like termites, just waiting for their chance to force their ideology on us by rigging the rules.