Peter Foster: Climate Inquisition Shows Its Totalitarian Face

  • Date: 27/02/15
  • Peter Foster, Financial Post

The U.S. Democratic witch hunt against scientists skeptical about official climate science threatens to blow up in the faces of the Inquisitors. It lays bare the totalitarian mentality behind the radical climate agenda.

Nobody must be allowed to dissent from “the consensus.” If they do, it is because they are either suitable cases for treatment, victims of “motivated reasoning,” or in the pay of the fossil fuel industry. The last-mentioned is the basis for this week’s McCarthyesque grandstanding by U.S. Democratic Representative Raul Grijalva, chair of the House committee in environment and natural resources.

Mr. Grijalva has sent letters to seven universities demanding details of the funding of prominent skeptical scientists including Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon of the of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and MIT’s Richard Lindzen. Meanwhile Senator Ed Markey and colleagues have gone on a huge fishing expedition, demanding details from corporations of any funding for science that deviates from that sanctioned by the Democratic Politburo.

The clear implication is that reputable scientists have been induced to lie by “dirty” money. More significant is the suggestion that the validity of science is determined by funding rather than objectivity.

Humans have real trouble understanding the scientific method. We are much more inclined to seek motives, especially dark ones, while often being impervious to our own.

Earlier this week, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was forced to resign after allegations of sexual abuse. But if Mr. Pachauri were a climate scientist —  which he is not – being allegedly abusive wouldn’t undermine any scientific conclusions he might have reached.

Certainly, one should always be suspicious of funding by interested parties, but any support for skeptical research by the fossil fuel industry is swamped literally thousands of times by funding for the official perspective from governments, anti-capitalist foundations and international organizations centred in the UN.

A minority (i.e. Republican) report last year from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works exposed a “Billionaires Club” of wealthy foundations that supported climate alarmism. Certainly billionaires such as Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer are unashamed to put their wealth and clout behind alarmism, although the motives here might include penance and/or appeasement.

At the heart of catastrophic climate theory is the spectre of capitalism as a greedy and short-sighted system with no regard for anything but the bottom line. That is, Marxism in the Emperor’s new cloak of green.

According to Senator Markey, “’Corporate special interests shouldn’t be able to secretly peddle the best junk science money can buy.” But note that he says “secretly.” That’s because he’d be pushed to provide significant examples.

One may not doubt the rent-seeking activities of corporations, nor their – sometimes well-justified – attempts to influence legislation, but another irony of this witch hunt is that fossil fuel companies – like corporate billionaires – tend to toe the party line on climate.

Against the hundreds of major corporations that grovel before environmental NGOs and the threat of bad policy, only a couple have ever dared to express anything approaching skepticism – Koch Industries and ExxonMobil. Their reward has been subjection to the equivalent of the Orwellian “Two-Minutes Hate.”

In his great book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn noted that scientific paradigms are fiercely, indeed irrationally, defended. They are particularly difficult to dislodge when they have been “professionalized” or when a moral element is involved.

No scientific theory since that of the geocentric universe has been as professionalized and moralized as climate. There is no bigger “moral” rationale for seizing global political control than that the world is in, or approaching, existential crisis. Thus skeptics are prepared to play Russian roulette with the planet. They must be silenced. The future of mankind demands it.

Kuhn noted that it was not altogether inappropriate to suggest that “the member of a mature scientific community is, like the typical character of Orwell’s 1984, the victim of a history rewritten by the powers that be.”

Nobody understood the totalitarian mentality better than Orwell. It not merely outlaws dissent, but attempts to crush even private doubt – “thoughtcrime.” In its milder democratic form it merely castigates its opponents for being motivated by self-interest, whereas it only seeks power for itself to do good.

“McCarthyism” has been invoked more than once by skeptical scientists who have been howled down and/or ostracized. British academic and television personality David Bellamy had been an environmental hero until he pointed out that the peer reviewed climate literature was in fact near-unanimous in not predicting climate catastrophe.

A more recent example was the eminent Swedish climatologist Lennart Bengtsson, who was fiercely attacked after it was announced that he would join the Academic Advisory Council of the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, one of the world’s leading skeptical think tanks.

Professor Bengtsson withdrew saying he was concerned not merely for his health, but for his safety.

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