I just wrote in a comment thread,
“The one thing that could change my mind to believe that Trump is less dangerous than Clinton is that the trappings of Trump and his followers reek of stupidity, and the trappings of Hillary and her allies are redolent of totalitarianism.”
The effort by Democrats and anti-gun zealots to deliberately breach the Fifth Amendment to allow “pre-crime” anti-gun laws was one example of the Obama/Clinton/Sanders left’s creeping embrace of totalitarian principles.
Here is another.
Over the weekend, Robert Post, the current dean of Yale Law School where both Bill and Hillary learned to be unethical lawyers, authored a shocking 0p-ed for the Washington Post. In it, he attached his influence and credibility to the idea that the government should use the power of prosecution to intimidate opponents of government policy and widely accepted left-wing agenda items. I have never seen such a disgraceful breach of academic prestige. If I were a Yale grad, I would be heavily involved in calling for Post’s resignation.
Post is supporting the attempts by Democratic, climate change policy-supporting attorneys general to target Exxon-Mobil for fraud because the company opposes certain climate change measures. This comes after eco-facists like Robert Kennedy, Jr. and climate change shills like Bill Nye (The Self-Promoting Not-Really-The-Expert-He- Pretends -To-Be Science Guy) have suggested that “climate change deniers” should be jailed. That’s not the theory, though. The theory is that Exxon-Mobil has defrauded investors by misleading them about the results of their own research. Thus the company has been hit by demands for documents by the Massachusetts and New York attorneys general to reveal all of that research.
Exxon-Mobil, as well as others, has condemned this effort as an attempt to chill First Amendment debate. Post, who has allied himself with the censors because climate change is “settled science,” bolsters the political inquisitioners’ deceit. “It may be that after investigation the attorneys general do not find evidence that Exxon-Mobil has committed fraud. I do not prejudge the question. The investigation is now entering its discovery phase, which means it is gathering evidence to determine whether fraud has actually been committed,” the esteemed dean writes.
Cute. Of course, once the precedent had been established that the government can force someone into expensive legal defense for “the fraud” of disagreeing with the pronounced truths of the State, then dissent and political opinion will be repressed, suppressed, and discouraged.
Fraud is false representation of fact, by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed, that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury. Mere mistakes, misstatements and even lies are protected by the First Amendment, and yes, corporations have First Amendment rights. There is a good argument that fraud in a matter like climate change research is impossible, because all the evidence about CO2 and climate research is in the public domain, largely collected and disseminated by government agencies and educational institutions. All Exxon can do is present a differing interpretation of the data, or attack the research’s legitimacy, which, in many cases, should be attacked. Why do the attorneys general think that it has secret research that shows something other than what the company is telling investors?
Oooh, because they are the bad guys, of course. They oppose expensive and economy-crippling regulatory measures based on flawed and politically biased research. Put them in prison..or at least make an example of them so other skeptics will shut up.
Dean Post makes one jaw-dropping assertion after another in defense of punishing policy debate. Such as…
“The obvious point, which remarkably bears repeating, is that there are circumstances when scientific theories must remain open and subject to challenge, and there are circumstances when the government must act to protect the integrity of the market, even if it requires determining the truth or falsity of those theories.”
Wow. Scientific theories must always remain “open and subject to challenge.” How does Post, or Martha Coakley, the former Massachusetts AG, or New York Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman, know that climate change science is closed and no longer subject to debate? I checked: there’s no evidence of scientific training of any depth or scientific skill in Post’s record. If he’s like most lawyers, his current profession is a direct result of a realization on his part that his interests and abilities lay somewhere other than science and math. Here he literally doesn’t know what he is talking about–except political ideology and power plays. He knows that.
“If your pharmacist sells you patent medicine on the basis of his “scientific theory” that it will cure your cancer, the government does not act like the Spanish Inquisition when it holds the pharmacist accountable for fraud.”
This guy’s a law dean? This guy’s a lawyer? What a terrible analogy. Patent medicine either does or doesn’t work; it is either poison, a placebo, or medicine, and the one selling it is obligated to know which and not lie about it. Climate change research, in contrast, creates projections of what scientists think will happen, and why. If anything, climate change promoters are like the false patent medicine seller, making predictions that haven’t held up. The government does indeed act like the Spanish Inquisition when it tries to harass and punish those who are dubious that the patent medicine is as good as its “sellers” claim.
“A potentially analogous instance of fraud occurred when tobacco companies were found to have deliberately misled their customers about the dangers of smoking. The safety of nicotine was at the time fiercely debated, just as the threat of global warming is now vigorously contested. Because tobacco companies were found to have known about the risks of smoking, even as they sought to convince their customers otherwise, they were held liable for fraud.”
Another lousy analogy! Nothing was changing or unknown about smoking cigarettes, and testing and research had unequivocal results that could be relied upon. The tobacco manufacturers knew their product caused cancer and addiction, and publicly stated otherwise, to keep selling cigarettes. Fraud. Causation in the case of climate change, however, is infinitely more complex and subject to many unforeseen influences—that’s why the models keep breaking down. Does Exxon-Mobil know the extent to which CO2 alone causes climate change, how long in duration and how extensive future climate changes will be, what the effects will be, and whether, practically speaking, there is anything that can be done about it? No. No one does. Confirmation bias, financial interest and other conflicts of interest lead various advocates to believe certain scenarios, but since they all involve future events and condition subject to change, they are nothing like linking cancer to tobacco.
Post, as I noted up front, is a disgrace to his school, position and profession, He is a Constitutional Law scholar, yet is lending his prestige and presumed expertise to justify political weaponization of criminal law, and the effort to make it perilous and expensive to dare to oppose government policy on climate change, and heaven knows what else. This is an abuse of his position, and while he also has a First Amendment right to be wrong and irresponsible, as Yale Law School Dean he has an obligation not to abuse his post to undermine free speech and public discourse for partisan motives.
Alex Epstein is a controversial pro-fossil fuels advocate, and current Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has demanded his e-mails with Exxon-Mobil as part of the attack on anti-global warming advocacy. In a full-throated condemnation in Forbes, he wrote:
What ExxonMobil is being prosecuted for is expressing an opinion about the evidence that the government disagrees with. Or, in the case of the #ExxonKnew meme, they are being prosecuted for failing to express an opinion the government agrees with. The “knew” in #ExxonKnew refers to the fact that certain Exxon employees, like anyone else who followed climate science, knew about and discussed the existence of speculative claims that increasing atmospheric CO2 would lead to runaway global warming and catastrophic climate change. As I document in “The Secret History of Fossil Fuels,” chapter 1 of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, many of these claims asserted that we would be experiencing catastrophic climate change today.
Apparently, Exxon was (rightly) suspicious of these claims and the Al Gore-led funding bonanza of scientists who agreed with them. Exxon refused to endorse climate catastrophism and funded alternative research–which they had every right to do even if they ended up being wrong.
Ah, yes, Al Gore, whose famous documentary has been found to have included many false statements and misleading photographs. Oddly, no conservative attorney generals chose to prosecute him for fraud, and Al got rich on those exaggerations and dubious statistic. Why? Because they respect the First Amendment, that’s why, even when it is abused. It has been progressives and Democrats leading the way to use intimidation and the police power to prevail in policy disputes, and Dean Post’s op-ed shows how much this growing tendency has wormed its way into our culture.
Be very afraid.
When Alex Epstein learned that Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey had included him in her investigation into climate change “fraud” and was subpoenaing his e-mails, he had a terse, three word response to her.
Fuck off, fascist.