Or as a young reporter once told me years ago when I begged to differ with him on some issue that was all the ideological rage at the time: "That is a mindset that must be crushed!"
This time the target was the Heartland Institute, a relatively small, relatively obscure think tank that sponsors an annual conference of scientists who dare express dissenting views about climate change.
I should say once obscure because an attempt to smear it has given it a new prominence and respectability -- much the way Dan Rather's "fake but accurate" letter backfired and gave George W. Bush a boost in the 2004 presidential campaign. And ended Dan Rather's tenure at CBS. So do the worst-laid schemes o' mice and anchormen gang aft agley.
Now the Heartland Institute found itself accused of engaging in a nefarious plot aimed at "dissuading teachers from teaching science."
The proof? A memo from the institute that one Peter Gleick, who used to be a respected scientist, seems to have stolen, then hoked up and circulated, claiming it was leaked to him. Some of the details are still foggy, but not this: At some point Mr. Gleick ceased being a scientist and became a true believer who thought the ends justified the means -- which is the standard defense when they don't.
By now he's confessed to "a serious lapse of my own professional judgment and ethics...." He's currently on leave, at his own embarrassed request, from the Pacific Institute, which he led for more than 20 years, while his conduct is investigated.
If all goes as it did with earlier miscreants in the continuing story called Climategate, some excuse will be found for him, and he'll be back lecturing the rest of us -- on ethics, no doubt -- after a brief pause in the climateers' regularly scheduled programming.
Would you believe that said Mr. Gleick is also the chairman of an American Geophysical Union "task force" on scientific ethics? Or at least he was until a few weeks ago. Fanaticism has exacted its usual price -- embarrassment, if not worse -- from those who fall under its spell.
Here is one more episode that has to make an observer wonder why, if man-made global warming is such an established fact, those who believe in it have to play these disreputable games to establish it. And set out to suppress, discredit and generally tar those scientists, however few or brave or distinguished, who take a different position.
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