Two centuries years ago, Voltaire proclaimed, “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.” Today, our free speech traditions are under assault.
Colleges prohibit “offensive” or “politically incorrect” speech. Radical Islamists threaten to kill scholars, artists and even popes who “disrespect” the Prophet. And when we desperately need unfettered scientific debate, intolerant eco-activists have ushered in an era of climate McCarthyism and eco-Inquisitions.
Al Gore wants to muzzle anyone who raises inconvenient truths about climate alarmism. Greenpeace wants “climate criminals” pilloried and silenced. Grist magazine wants “Nuremberg-style war crimes trials” for climate disaster skeptics, followed by hanging, one assumes, since burning at the stake would release greenhouse gases.
Climate catastrophist Ross Gelbspan told a DC audience: “Not only do journalists not have a responsibility to report what skeptical scientists have to say about global warming. They have a responsibility NOT to report what those scientists say.” Reuters, Time, 60 Minutes and the Discovery Channel appear to have taken his views to heart. UK alarmist George Monbiot says the airlines contribute to climate change – so “every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned.”
During a congressional hearing, Senator Barbara Boxer treated physician-scientist-author Michael Crichton like a child molester, for suggesting that claims about climate chaos should be reviewed by double-blind studies and evidentiary standards akin to what FDA uses for new drugs. And on October 27, Senators Olympia Snowe and Jay Rockefeller issued what the Wall Street Journal aptly called a “gag order” against ExxonMobil. “Its message: Start toeing the Senators’ line on climate change, or else,” said the Journal.
The Catholic Church’s dogmatic Earth-centered-universe theology has been replaced by an equally intolerant Church of Gaia catechism of cataclysm. But the problem goes well beyond that, well beyond constitutional rights and traditions of open, robust debate being trampled by newspapers and politicians duty-bound to uphold them.
It is, above all, an unprecedented power grab by activists, politicians and bureaucrats who want to be the final arbiters of every energy and economic decision.
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