Climate Alarmists and Individual Rights

I am not sure this even needs comment:  (HT:  Maggies Farm)

I’m preparing a paper for an upcoming conference on this, so please comment if you can! Thanks. Many people have urged for there to be some legal or moral consequence for denying climate change. This urge generally comes from a number of places. Foremost is the belief that the science of anthropogenic climate change is proven beyond reasonable doubt and that climate change is an ethical issue. Those quotes from Mahorasy’s blog are interesting. I’ll include one here:

Perhaps there is a case for making climate change denial an offence. It is a crime against humanity, after all. –Margo Kingston, 21 November 2005

The urge also comes from frustration with a ‘denial’ lobby: the furthest and more extreme talkers on the subject who call global warming a ‘hoax’ (following James Inhofe’s now infamous quote). Of course there would be frustration with this position–a ‘hoax’ is purposeful and immoral. And those who either conduct the science or trust the science do not enjoy being told they are perpetrating a ‘hoax’, generating a myth, or committing a fraud….

I’m an advocate for something stronger. Call it regulation, law, or influence. Whatever name we give it, it should not be seen as regulation vs. freedom, but as a balancing of different freedoms. In the same way that to enjoy the freedom of a car you need insurance to protect the freedom of other drivers and pedestrians; in the same way that you enjoy the freedom to publish your views, you need a regulatory code to ensure the freedoms of those who can either disagree with or disprove your views. Either way. While I dislike Brendan O’Neill and know he’s wrong, I can’t stop him. But we need a body with teeth to be able to say, “actually Brendan, you can’t publish that unless you can prove it.” A body which can also say to me, and to James Hansen, and to the IPCC, the same….

What do you think? Perhaps a starting point is a draft point in the codes for governing how the media represent climate change, and a method for enforcing that code. And that code needs to extend out to cover new media, including blogs. And perhaps taking a lesson from the Obama campaign’s micro-response strategy: a team empowered with responding to complaints specifically dealing with online inaccuracy, to which all press and blogs have to respond. And so whatever Jennifer Mahorasy, or Wattsupwiththat, or Tom Nelson, or Climate Sceptic, or OnEarth, or La Marguerite, or the Sans Pretence, or DeSmog Blog, or Monckton or me, say, then we’re all bound by the same freedoms of publishing.

He asked for comments.  I really did not have much energy to refute something so wrong-headed, but I left a few thoughts:

Wow, as proprietor of Climate-Skeptic.com, I am sure flattered to be listed as one of the first up against the wall come the great green-fascist revolution.  I found it particularly ironic that you linked my post skewering a climate alarmist for claiming that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects.  Gee, I thought the fact that objects of different masses fall at the same rate had been "settled science" since the late 1500s.

But I don’t think you need a lecture on science, you need a lecture on civics.  Everyone always wants free speech for themselves.  The tough part is to support free speech for others, even if they are horribly, terribly wrong-headed.  That is the miracle of the first amendment, that we have stuck by this principle for over 200 years.

You see, technocrats like yourself are always assuming the perfect government official with perfect knowledge and perfect incentives to administer your little censorship body.  But the fact is, such groups are populated with real people, and eventually, the odds are they will be populated by knaves.  And even if folks are well-intentioned, incentives kill such government efforts every time.  What if, for example, your speech regulation bureaucrats felt that their job security depended on a continued climate crisis, and evidence of no crisis might cause their job to go away?  Would they really be unbiased with such an incentive?

Here is a parallel example to consider.  It strikes me that the laws of economics are better understood than the activity of greenhouse gasses.  I wonder if the author would support limits on speech for supporters of such things like minimum wages and trade protectionism that economists routinely say make no sense in the science of economics.  Should Barrack Obama be enjoined from discussing his gasoline rebate plan because most all economists say that it won’t work the way he says?  There is an economist consensus, should that be enough to silence Obama?

  • That particular Green Shirt has had his error pointed out and is recanting (or at least rethinking). In fact his being slapped around with a cluebat appears to have been beneficial.

    Of course he is far from the only AGW greenshirt that seems to believe in propaganda and censorship as a way to silence the heretics

    I wrote an article today where I found a few more – http://www.di2.nu/200808/05.htm

  • John Galt

    Like many left-wingers, the author can’t grasp that people might have real disagreement with him or her and are not motivated by greed or selfishness or some form of evil.

    This is the mindset of the PC crowd. Don’t believe in extreme measures to prevent AGW? You must be motivated by hate. Don’t believe we should spend trillions on the possibility that “carbon” emissions are changing the climate? You must be on the payroll of “Big Oil”. Don’t believe the science is settled? You must be some kind sociopath.

    This is a Fascistic mindset. It promotes emotion over reason and dogma over science. This type of rhetoric closes the mind to debate and is designed to squash all dissent. Uncle Joe Stalin would be quite proud.

  • mjh

    Dirty Dingus: Let’s be civil. The guy made a mistake and he’s backing away from it. That’s the kind of behavior that is beneficial in debate. Try not to punish it by piling on. Or maybe next time, he’ll be more steadfast in defending that mistake – a pattern of behavior that seems rampant in the catastrophic AGW crowd.

  • Iblis

    Thought crime, double plus ungood, and subject to correction by the Ministry of Love.

  • Yes, I think he has recanted almost completely.
    The scary thing is that a teacher of journalism would have had such an idea in the first place.
    One other thought: I doubt that the energy companies are spending much thse days on refuting AGW.
    For a scientist, there are far greater career opportunities – money, appointment, promotions – in supporting the AGW “industry” than in opposing or questioning it. That, on its own, is a worrying thing for those of us who hope that eventually science will produce the right answers. There are in fact too few sceptics.

  • KJ

    I can’t find any comments at Lockwood’s post.
    When I go there, I get only his post, but no comments.
    When I go to his home page, and scroll down to that particular post, and click on “Comments”, all it does it take me to the same page, but still with no comments.

    Am I doing something wrong?

  • Mesa Econoguy

    I’m an advocate for something stronger. Call it regulation, law, or influence. Whatever name we give it, it should not be seen as regulation vs. freedom, but as a balancing of different freedoms.

    By all means, let’s enact regulations, as these global warming socialists seem to be so enthusiastic about, and let’s have uniformity of reporting and performance monitoring.

    Say, something like this which applies to the financial industry, one of (the?) most heavily regulated industries in the world. It should work just fine for the global warming industry. And the consequences should be just as severe.

    And then let’s watch the parade of subpoenas of these “scientists.” A few perp walks in handcuffs and jumpsuits for some of these frauds sure would be amusing…

  • This is the comment I left: “My god you are such an idiot. Have you even stopped to think that someday things might be different and that the “consensus” is that there is no climate change? Then when you start talking about climate change they will say you’re the one committing a crime against humanity. You are such an idiot.”

    Yeah I know I probably should have been civil. Sorry.

  • If or when President Obama assumes office, and Congress has a larger Democratic majority, I fully expect that the Dems will spend a significant chunk of their so-called “political capital” on implementing the Fairness Doctrine (“The Fairness Doctrine”. Wow. The fascist overtones to that phrase are truly breathtaking.) Anyway, it’s been dicussed that the Fairness Doctrine is aimed at talk radio, i.e. El Rushbo, but why would they stop there? If it’s good for talk radio, it’s surely good for bloggers too is what they will say. These are Progressivs we are talking about – and they must you know…progress.

  • Nick

    There is the flipside.

    What penalties do the alarmist have to pay when the temperatures don’t rise?

    Clearly there is financial damage being done. They are quite open about it. If you damage people fiancially, without merit, then restitution should take place.

    Will they pay out for the trillions in costs they have imposed?

    What about for the deaths they have caused by diverting money to useless projects?

  • A quote – “Call it regulation, law, or influence. Whatever name we give it, it should not be seen as regulation vs. freedom, but as a balancing of different freedoms. In the same way that to enjoy the freedom of a car you need insurance to protect the freedom of other drivers and pedestrians; in the same way that you enjoy the freedom to publish your views, you need a regulatory code to ensure the freedoms of those who can either disagree with or disprove your views. Either way. While I dislike Brendan O’Neill and know he’s wrong, I can’t stop him. But we need a body with teeth to be able to say, “actually Brendan, you can’t publish that unless you can prove it.””

    I can’t understand how much your American minds are screwed up by the state propaganda. And your faith in regulations, state regulations. Where is the American spirit of XIX century?

    1) Your insurance is ONLY A WAY to insurance YOURSELF if something went wrong and you made harm to somebody. It should be voluntary and only in order not to go bancrupt if someone sued you for the demages. How on earth you could say that your compulsory (highly unAmerican and anti-freedom!) insurance is for freedom of others! Going the path of your thought you have gotten freedom to kill them! You are insured anyway, aren’t you?

    2) Why do you need regulatory code for freedom of expression? You got courts for those kind of offenses (slanders). Why do you need STATE to regulate your freedoms? Are you mad? What or who will be regulating the regulators? STATE again?

    This time is the last one I read anything you wrote on this blog. Never ever I read on American website such Anti-American bullshit. You are either red (a commy) or insane. Tertium non datur.

  • Kyle

    Long time reader and fan of your blog. Just wanted to say thanks for all you do.