An excellent column
which engages not the facts of the case for or against global warming (the causality, not the presence of it) but rather the state of the debate, or lack thereof, on such a crucial, public policy matter. First, David Harsanyi suggests the proper way for discerning members of the totalitarian left (aren't they all totalitarian?) clinging, in this instance, to their cherished pet cause, global warming:
You'll often hear the left lecture about the importance of dissent in a free society.
Why not give it a whirl?
Start by challenging global warming hysteria next time you're at a LoDo cocktail party and see what happens.
. . .
So next time you're with some progressive friends, dissent. Tell 'em you're not sold on this global warming stuff.
Back away slowly. You'll probably be called a fascist.
Don't worry, you're not. A true fascist is anyone who wants to take away my air conditioning or force me to ride a bike.
Harsanyi's main message is directed toward the pushers of the current fad, including hysterical scientists and demagogic politicians--Algore, not just their nattering acolytes:
Admittedly, I possess virtually no expertise in science. That puts me in exactly the same position as most dogmatic environmentalists who want to craft public policy around global warming fears.
The only inconvenient truth about global warming, contends Colorado State University's Bill Gray, is that a genuine debate has never actually taken place. Hundreds of scientists, many of them prominent in the field, agree.
Gray is perhaps the world's foremost hurricane expert. His Tropical Storm Forecast sets the standard. Yet, his criticism of the global warming "hoax" makes him an outcast.
"They've been brainwashing us for 20 years," Gray says. "Starting with the nuclear winter and now with the global warming. This scare will also run its course. In 15-20 years, we'll look back and see what a hoax this was."
Gray directs me to a 1975 Newsweek article that whipped up a different fear: a coming ice age.
"Climatologists," reads the piece, "are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change. ... The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality."
Thank God they did nothing. Imagine how warm we'd be?
Gray isn't alone in his criticisms, and finds an ally down the road from CSU at CU (nice to see Colorado scientists demanding free and open debate in scientific matters:
Another highly respected climatologist, Roger Pielke Sr. at the University of Colorado, is also skeptical.
Pielke contends there isn't enough intellectual diversity in the debate. He claims a few vocal individuals are quoted "over and over" again, when in fact there are a variety of opinions.
I ask him: How do we fix the public perception that the debate is over?
"Quite frankly," says Pielke, who runs the Climate Science Weblog (climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu), "I think the media is in the ideal position to do that. If the media honestly presented the views out there, which they rarely do, things would change. There aren't just two sides here. There are a range of opinions on this issue. A lot of scientists out there that are very capable of presenting other views are not being heard."
It is great to see the MSM challenged, but if Pielke waits for the MSM to finally do its job by reporting news rather than creating or directing it, he might see another Ice Age come and go. . .
Thankfully, Harsanyi points out just some of Algore's hypocrisy:
Al Gore (not a scientist) has definitely been heard and heard and heard. His documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," is so important, in fact, that Gore crisscrosses the nation destroying the atmosphere just to tell us about it.
Unfortunately, in both the public sphere and the scientific community, dissent is being squelched in favor of the more "trendy" view:
"Let's just say a crowd of baby boomers and yuppies have hijacked this thing," Gray says. "It's about politics. Very few people have experience with some real data. I think that there is so much general lack of knowledge on this. I've been at this over 50 years down in the trenches working, thinking and teaching."
Gray acknowledges that we've had some warming the past 30 years. "I don't question that," he explains. "And humans might have caused a very slight amount of this warming. Very slight. But this warming trend is not going to keep on going. My belief is that three, four years from now, the globe will start to cool again, as it did from the middle '40s to the middle '70s."
Both Gray and Pielke say there are many younger scientists who voice their concerns about global warming hysteria privately but would never jeopardize their careers by speaking up.
"Plenty of young people tell me they don't believe it," he says. "But they won't touch this at all. If they're smart, they'll say: 'I'm going to let this run its course.' It's a sort of mild McCarthyism. I just believe in telling the truth the best I can. I was brought up that way."
In the 17th century Galileo was condemned by the Church--not scientists, mind you--for having "heretical" views. At least one might say that they were operating out of erroneous faith, or at the worst, keen on maintaining religious control of science. But the scientists/hippies/enviro-wackos of today have a new religion, one that says man is the root of all evil, that human activity is out of balance with nature and is poisoning the Earth, and that that activity must be curtailed--and demands that there be absolutely no dissent. The present Galileos like Gray and Pielke face not the stake, but public disapprobation orchestrated by Algore's minions. Like Harsanyi says, just try suggesting an alternative viewpoint on global warming, and see the reaction you get. That's how you'll discover the true fascists of today.