“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Equating Environmental Skeptics with Holocaust Deniers

The Eiffel Tower Goes Dark in order to draw
attention to the impending doom of climate change.

“I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.” Ellen Goodman.
The Problem

The problem, as the left sees it, is that too many Republicans have denied the reality of global warming for too long. They believe that the moral obligation to act now is so absolute and imperative that the skeptics must be absolutely discredited and now. Ms. Goodman writes:

One reason is that while poles are melting and polar bears are swimming between ice floes, American politics has remained polarized. There are astonishing gaps between Republican science and Democratic science. Try these numbers: Only 23 percent of college-educated Republicans believe the warming is due to humans, while 75 percent of college-educated Democrats believe it.

This great divide comes from the science-be-damned-and-debunked attitude of the Bush administration and its favorite media outlets. The day of the report, Big Oil Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma actually described it as "a shining example of the corruption of science for political gain." Speaking of corruption of science, the American Enterprise Institute, which has gotten $1.6 million over the years from Exxon Mobil, offered $10,000 last summer to scientists who would counter the IPCC report.

But there are psychological as well as political reasons why global warming remains in the cool basement of priorities. It may be, paradoxically, that framing this issue in catastrophic terms ends up paralyzing instead of motivating us. Remember the Time magazine cover story: "Be Worried. Be Very Worried." The essential environmental narrative is a hair-raising consciousness-raising: This is your Earth. This is your Earth on carbon emissions.

This works for some. But a lot of social science research tells us something else. As Ross Gelbspan, author of "The Heat is On," says, "when people are confronted with an overwhelming threat and don't see a solution, it makes them feel impotent. So they shrug it off or go into deliberate denial."

Notice how those "opposed to the environment are tied to corruption of science?" Funny, I would say that many on the left are guilty of that very act. Also, see how the deniers are labeled as either dysfunctional or willfully irresponsible? Skeptics are labeled as "zealots" or "flat-earthers" or even as "creationists."

Advancing The Agenda

The left seems to have grasped that America is still somewhat more conservative and religious than say, Europe. Pragmatically, they have determined to reframe their arguments into an issue of morality. Also, appealing to the market capitalists, the environmental movement is being sold as a "money-maker." One with unlimited potential for those who get in on the ground floor of the emerging green technology.

Michael Shellenberger, co author of "The Death of Environmentalism," adds, "The dominant narrative of global warming has been that we're responsible and have to make changes or we're all going to die. It's tailor-made to ensure inaction."

So how many scientists does it take to change a light bulb?

American University's Matthew Nisbet is among those who see the importance of expanding the story beyond scientists. He is charting the reframing of climate change into a moral and religious issue -- see the greening of the evangelicals -- and into a corruption-of-science issue -- see big oil -- and an economic issue -- see the newer, greener technologies .

In addition, maybe we can turn denial into planning. "If the weatherman says there's a 75 percent chance of rain, you take your umbrella," Shellenberger tells groups. Even people who clutched denial as their last, best hope can prepare, he says, for the next Katrina. Global warming preparation is both his antidote for helplessness and goad to collective action.

The report is grim stuff. Whatever we do today, we face long-range global problems with a short-term local attention span. We're no happier looking at this global thermostat than we are looking at the nuclear doomsday clock.

Can we change from debating global warming to preparing? Can we define the issue in ways that turn denial into action? In America what matters now isn't environmental science, but political science.

We are still waiting for the time when an election hinges on a candidate's plans for a changing climate. That's when the light bulb goes on.

Ellen Goodman has done the world a favor by admitting that what matters is not the science but the politics. That is what many people have been saying all along. The left doesn’t care about the “science” as much as they do about the politics of global warming. The environmentalists have determined that in order to advance their agenda, the opposition; (that is the skeptics) must be politically, socially and morally discredited. It must become so politically incorrect to deny global warming that no one will dare do it. In their minds, they know the "truth" and must overcome the ignorant, the dsyfunctional, the willfully irresponsible, the corrupted deniers. Look at these words from a local editor:
...The mainstream media, in their effort to be balanced and their relative ignorance of science, have largely fallen down on the job by giving the handful of naysayers too much space and air time.

In its quest to be fair, my industry has made this whole global warming thing out as just a tug of war among scientists who interpret highly technical data very differently. In fact, I'm now convinced, the nonbelievers are just a relative few, especially if you don't count the cyber prostitutes who are paid to misinform.

Don't be fooled: Those who say global warming is a hoax are modern-day flat earthers. But they're far more dangerous, because they're in positions to influence public opinion, policy and, ultimately, the future of the planet.

So what next? Deny the "flat earthers" access to the media? Ostracize and shun the deniers? Broach no further dissent from the climate heretics? Never mind that the debate really isn’t about whether we have entered a warming phase or not. Thermometers don’t lie and most people now admit that it seems warmer nowadays. The debate really is about the causes of that warming and what can be done about it. Unfortunately, one side seeks to end the debate, declare itself the winner and begin implementing an agenda which could be about much more than simply lowering the temperature by one degree over the next 100 years. We're in trouble here, but it's not from a gradual warming which mankind can certainly adapt to and in fact, benefit from. The real danger to the West is from this clash of worldviews we're witnessing in the post-modern era.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Here's a short read from the The Heritage Foundation which says not to rush to judgment on the IPCC report.

    Confirms what I wrote about it last week.

  3. Sorry about the deleted "test" post. just making sure I was logged in with my primary google account (am now using different google id's for multiple purposes - like backup for Outlook/Exchange, testing google apps, storage for large files, etc. - really an amazing set of apps and only getting more so, all for "free".

    Back to the point of this thread. Goodman partially drops the veil. Global warming has never been the left's concern; it is simply a cover for more taxes, social engineering and other ridiculous socialist agendas. They know those policies will not sell in the US straight up, as they do in Europe. So, instead they seek to hide them underneath the cloak of fixing "global warming". And as far as science goes, they simply cannot prove the humans are responsible for global warming. Furthermore, they cannot dispute that the Earth is no warmer now than it was 2500 years ago. There scientific "arguments" are simply invalid.

    Here are a couple of articles than should be read by any who actually believe humans cause global warming.

    Mark Steyn (as usual, with a killer sense of humor)

    IPCC's junk science H/T to the American Thinker

    Regarding the difference in view between Democrats and Republicans, it just confirms for me that, and this is admittedly a broad generalization, Pubs decide based on reason, while Dems decide based on emotion (and for many global warming is an emotional issue, eg, they "care" more about the Earth).

    Think I'm gonna make this my tag line: anthropogenic (new word for the week) global warming=NONSENSE.

  4. The sensible solution would be to work towards extreme energy efficiency, and minimize global trade in fossile fuels.

    I happen to like the list of countries that would be harmed with that decision.

    Anything that brings discomfort to Iran, Russia, and Saudi Arabia cannot be that bad.

  5. 2164,

    the sensible solution is a solution to what problem?

  6. or said differently, how do you have a solution without a problem?

  7. The earth's getting warmer, just like it always does every couple thousand years. That's not a problem, that is the universe at work, the natural world in operation. Is that a problem?

  8. i confess that anything that will improve energy independence will get me to glom onto it.

  9. I'm with Deuce re: providing realistic alternatives to energy in order to decrease net fossil fuel consumption. I have no doubt that new problems would emerge as a result of this, but most of the net fossil fuel exporters of the world are autocratic (save for Norway), and/or use the funds derived from fossil fuels to export trouble around the globe (i.e. Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran, et al).

  10. 2164,

    Energy independence is a different problem altogether, and I concur with you that it is a desirable strategic goal. I do believe, however, that it serves no purpose to conflate energy independence with the illusion of a problem (global warming) hyped and promoted by leftwing transnationalists or secular progressive (who lack any other religition). Solutions for energy independence can and will be easily realized within our entrepreneurially driven and capitalist economy. The latter is a psuedo-religion for its believers, and provides world govt loving/US hating trannies with the cover they need to tax and regulate (without accountability to anyone). Surely all who regularly visit this blog must know that if Chirac is for something, it aint gonna be good for the US!

  11. The offense that goes unspoken, the criminialization of the Holocaust deniers. A real crime across Europe.
    A travesty that ranks with "Hate Crimes", to criminalize speach, of any stripe. The target expands and the Bar bemoans the injustice, not of criminializing speach & thought, but of being put on the list verbotten subjects.

    The "challenge" is to fashion a political solution that is not worse than the problem, especially as willie says, when there is no problem to solve.

  12. DR,

    re: Holocaust deniers

    It is the means by which to erode freedom of expression in the interest of "good". Like all such, it is selectively enforced, inevitably against enemies of the state. Call it RICO with a heart.

  13. RICO with heart, that's the ticket.

    Unequal prosecution for the same crime. Seems wrought with inequities in it's very concept.

    Some being more guilty than others, when committing identical crimes.

  14. As an example of the failure of reason on the part of global warming adherents, one need look no further than Ellen Goodman's column from which her quote for this post is derived.

    In the sentence just prior to the one quoted by 2164, Goodman says, "By every measure, the U N 's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change raises the level of alarm. The fact of global warming is "unequivocal." The certainty of the human role is now somewhere over 90 percent. Which is about as certain as scientists ever get."

    90% is about as certain as science ever gets? and this woman is syndicated all over the world?

    I haven't had a science class since physics in high school, thirty plus years ago, but i recall that it only takes one contradictory finding to disprove an hypothesis. Science, by its very nature, can not be proximately correct; it must be absolutely correct for all observable phenomenon. So how in the hell can "scientists" be 90% certain that human caused global warming is an "unequivocal" fact? Do your own research and you'll find that hardly a single, real climatologist believes that global warming is anything other than a cyclical, natural phenomenon. The earth gets warmer; the earth gets cooler. Big fucking deal!

  15. The oil companies have a lock on the politics of energy. The commie inspired global warming hysteria might be the key to help unlock ethanol energy from the political and economic closet.

  16. This is why journalists hate science; it’s so…scientific.

    An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change

    “So one awkward question you can ask, when you’re forking out those extra taxes for climate change, is ‘Why is east Antarctica getting colder?’”

    “After becoming much more active during the 20th century, the sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity. Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the sun revert to the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago.”

    “Disdain for the sun goes with a failure by the self-appointed greenhouse experts to keep up with inconvenient discoveries about how the solar variations control the climate.”

  17. Furious Muslims have no doubt about global warming!

  18. Allen,

    re: This is why journalists hate science; it’s so…scientific.

    Dead on. As i was writing that last post, I almost started down the hard science vs "social (bullshit) science" trail, but decided I'd save that for another day. But now that you mention it, journalists and most social scientists lack the integrity to approach their own professions with the discipline of hard science. Plus, since most of them are pushing some agenda, they hide from any truly scientific approach to proving their hypotheses. Scientific method will always exposes junk science for what it is fraud.

  19. well I for one KNOW the holocaust occurred..

    But as it is and has been 5 degrees for the last week it's hard to wrap my cold frozen hands around the idea that the winters in the midwest are getting warmer...

  20. These clips are talen from an interview with Dr. Ian Clark, a professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Ottawa where he focuses on the study of Paleoclimatology and Isotope Hydrogeology.

    However exciting such an approach may be, it is time for Canadians to get real. Climate change is not a religion, or at least it shouldn't be – it is science and like all science is subject to questioning and constant revision based on what scientists actually discover. And what is being discovered is taking us further away from any sort of consensus that human-produced CO2 is a major cause of global climate change.

    This is not a popular message among those who profit from today's climate hysteria, of course. But considering what's at stake - either the end of civilization, if you believe environmental extremists, or a waste of hundreds of billions of dollars in one of the biggest science news scandals of all time, society must start to hold 'warmers' to a far higher standard. In particular, those who would have us radically restructure our economy in the vain hope of "stopping climate change" need to be asked some basic, but revealing questions. Here is a sample:

    What is your background as it relates to climate science?

    Most of those grabbing the spotlight on this issue have little or no post-secondary training in science or technology, let alone the exceptionally complex field of global climate change. While politicians apparently don't think it necessary to ask for the climate-related credentials of those who testify before government committees, the rest of us should stop making this mistake.

    How do you know that the 'vast majority of climate scientists' agree with your point of view?

    The only place that a climate change science consensus exists is in what Essex and McKitrick call 'Official Science', the collective voice of governments and other so-called 'science authorities'. But this is not real science.
    .....Among Earth scientists who use real data to try to understand what nature is actually telling us, there is no consensus whatsoever.

    Are polar bears and other Arctic wildlife really threatened by current and forecast warming?

    Recent research shows that 8,000 years ago temperatures were several degrees higher in the Arctic that they are today with dramatic reduction in sea ice extent.

  21. Damn...all my life Russians were fixin to kill me. Now muslims and the sun are fixin to kill me. And half of everyone else is tellin me to shutup. Sometimes I just wish the russians or muslims or the sun would come to my door and ask me to step outside to settle our differences.

    Boy...fetch granddad's broadsword!

  22. The Dixie Chick Sh*ts just won record of the year at the Grammys.

  23. bobalharb,

    re: Muslims on Viagra

    There could be an upside to that nightmare: they might be so busy chasing goats that they will leave the rest of us alone. Just say'n.

  24. bobalharb,

    re: Muslims on Viagra cont.

    I can foresee lots of premature detonations.

  25. Allen,

    re: goats, sill LMAO

    If i recall correctly, you're from Missouri. And I'm from Mississippi. So you and I both know that a few people actually do chase goats w/ the intentions you implied.

  26. j willie,

    I beg your pardon, as Rufus will attest, Missouri is a cattle country. Goat chasing, indeed.

  27. bobalharb,

    re: perpetual erections

    Or, it might draw them to street marches, with malice aforethought. Oh, yeah, I can hear it now: "Abdul, is that a stick of C4 in your pocket or I will shoot you". Given these guys, there could be thousands of dueling peckers on Haifa Street.

    Is the CIA working this?

  28. bobalharb,

    re: peckers for Mecca


  29. bobalharb,

    Viagra gives that whole butts up thing an added dimension.

  30. what is "occupation",

    re: hard to wrap my cold frozen hands around the idea

    I'm thinking Viagra, here. That's so wrong.

    Hey, I just read Yoni. He says Olmert has caved on the rennovation work that has the Muslim's towels in a twist. Can Olmert stand for anything?

  31. Just saw these comments on & by Instapundit regarding elitist hypocrisy re: global warming nonsense & had to add it to the thread, although the thread seems to be just about "tapped out".

    Count me among the skeptics. This sounds like a way for fatcats to continue to live high while preaching at the rest of us. On the other hand, there's this: "A growing army of eco-refuseniks is making the ultimate sacrifice in the age of cheap air travel by pledging to give up flying and using slower modes of transport instead." We'll see if it catches on. . . and lasts.

    UPDATE: Jim Ashmore notes that he was way ahead of me on this: "it appears the carbon neutrality culture is nothing more than guilt riddance via checkbook matched up with an entrepreneurial opportunity."

    ANOTHER UPDATE: More skepticism from Jay Reding:

    It’s typical hypocrisy — the very rich can afford to buy “carbon credits” while those of us for whom money is an object cannot afford to do the same. For all the talk about how the left abhors social stratification and pitting the haves and against the have-nots, that is precisely what this sort of thing does. It allows Al Gore to emit tons of pollutants directly into the upper atmosphere while preaching his Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Gaia message to the masses, then buy his way to a clean eco-conscience afterwards. Meanwhile, the rest of us are told that we have to make dramatic sacrifices to “save the planet.”

    It starts at the top. No more “eco-tourism” for the rich. No more private jets to the Super Bowl. No more jet-setting across the country for high-priced speaking engagements. Either this is a crisis that will destroy all of mankind if it isn’t fixed now or it’s just another way for the world aristocracy to purge themselves of a false sense of noblesse oblige. If it’s the former, then the private jet-set are spoiled beyond belief for acting in such an ecologically injurious manner — if it isn’t then they’re peddlers of snake oil and fear.


  32. rufus,

    As I anticipated, no one could uphold the reputation of Missouri as well as you. It makes me proud.

    Oh, I read that Harriet Woods died. What that has to do with goats I cannot say. Could have been a neural misfire. Not by Harriet, for goodness sake.

  33. Well shucks, it had to be too good to be true.

    U.S. shells Taliban in Pakistan

    "Pakistani units were even given radios to warn them of incoming attacks, and a flare is sent up if all else fails (something the Taliban no doubt recognizes by now, if they are not in possession of the U.S. radios.)"

    Yeah, give everybody and his brother a heads up. Wouldn't want to do anything rash, like, killing bad guys unexpectedly.

  34. I suppose the element of surprise will come when we do something unexpected and/or unadvertised. How much has the President asked in additional Afghan funding? How much could be saved by not shelling abandoned Taliban positions?

    Why not send up drones that will give the Taliban a fair warning heads-up? The drone then reports back the abandoned position. This is then followed by no attack. Everybody wins.

    The US spends a great deal of money training folk at academies in the fine art of war.

  35. I am certain our bolstered air assets are being well used in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It would be deflating to think that a 10 hour B-1B mission was squandered attacking deserted tents and outhouses. Why, that would rate up there with Clinton's midnight attack on the custodial staff of the Iraq Ministry of Defense.

  36. Czech President calls global warming a political myth.

    I'm agnostic, but very skeptic, but I have to say I love Vaclav Klaus. He was in the news for blasting the democratic deficit in the EU about a year back.

    Klaus and Havel - although they hate each other, I love them.

    I'm not as tough on Bush as Doug, but I've got to say the balls deficit between them on this issue is pretty glaring.

    On the other hand, of course...pick your battles? Global warming isn't exactly the warmest front at the moment...

  37. Should be: "Man-made global warming"