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The Role Harassment Plays in Climate Alarmism

November 9, 2018

A Mother Jones piece about supposed harassment of alarmist climate scientists has the story exactly backwards.

Scientific theories stand and fall on their own weight. A scientific question is one that is subject to validation or falsification without resorting to moral values or subjective opinions. Either it is true, or it is not true. It is a tragedy, therefore, that skeptics of a predicted global warming crisis are often vilified and harassed by fervent believers of said crisis. It is an additional tragedy when the environmental Left invent a Through-the-Looking-Glass world in which skeptics harass alarmists.

On November 2, Mother Jones published an article by Rebecca Leber titled, “The Role Harassment Plays in Climate Change Denial.” The article asserts that skeptics of an imminent global warming crisis are corrupt, mean-spirited people whose primary weapon in the climate debate is harassment. Far from it, global warming alarmists are the ones who have set the standard for incivility and harassment.

Leber writes that studies have shown “a connection” linking “hate groups and climate denial.” To support her bold assertion, Leber quotes liberal activist Tom Steyer claiming skeptics “straight-up lie” and claiming President Donald Trump uses “violent and dehumanizing rhetoric.” Without even addressing the accuracy of what Steyer alleges, a liberal political activist asserting that his opponents lie and engage in insulting rhetoric is a far cry from asserting studies show a connection between hate groups and denial.

Leber follows up by quoting another irrelevant statement. Leber asserts a New York Times column supports her asserted link between “hate groups and climate denial.” The Times article reads:

“But the right’s denial of climate change science nonetheless repeats many of the same patterns that have appeared in other extremist targets, from guns to immigration to abortion. These patterns include the appropriation of Nazi or anti-Semitic imagery, the demonization of funders and prominent advocates, and the distortion of the terms of the debate. Climate change has become another flashpoint for irrational, hateful, sometimes violent rhetoric, and even personal attacks on people who have risen to some prominence as scientists, funders, and advocates.”

An opinion presented in the New York Times that climate skeptics are hateful does not qualify as evidence that skeptics are hateful. It is merely someone’s opinion. Ironically, however, the New York Times column illustrates that its climate alarmist authors are dishonest, hateful, and aggressive.

Climate skeptics certainly do not appropriate Nazi or anti-Semitic imagery. There is no skeptic coat of arms with a swastika. And hateful, violent rhetoric and personal attacks have been perfected by alarmists. Skeptics are publicly, frequently, contemptuously, and hatefully compared to Holocaust deniers, Apartheid supporters, slave owners, wife beaters, and every other contemptible group alarmists can think of. To the contrary, vilifying climate alarmists in such incendiary ways is rarely employed by skeptics. And on the rare occasion that a skeptic treats alarmists to a small dose of their own incendiary medicine, the alarmists howl in outrage and pretend that they never called skeptics hateful and incendiary names like Nazi sympathizers, Jew haters, and Apartheid supporters.

Leber quotes Texas Tech University climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe saying, “Rejection of climate change and harassment of scientists is a package.” Really? This is the same Hayhoe who attaches the deliberately demeaning and insulting term “denier” to any scientist who disagrees with her. Katherine Hayhoe and harassment of scientists is the true package.

To the extent harassment exists in the climate change debate, alarmists should tread very lightly before claiming to be victims. On my cell phone right now I have an Instant Message from a person I do not know reading, “your a dumb [expletive] … what the [expletive]is renewable energy going to hurt anyone you egotistical [expletive].” Another reads, “You’re a disgusting piece of [expletive]. I put a [expletive] curse on you and your family.” I have over the years deleted dozens and dozens of others, including some that have threatened my family and myself with bodily harm.

Before calling skeptics “liars,” “deniers,” and supporters of hateful, aggressive rhetoric, Mother Jones and Rebecca Leber should clean up their own act.

Author
James Taylor president of The Heartland Institute
jtaylor@heartland.org
James Taylor discusses global warming with MSNBCs David Shuster

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