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This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.

Climate Skeptics: The Despised Minority

Vilifying climate heretics remains socially acceptable. 

Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics. Photo from NobelPrize.org (click)

Climate change is a full-blown religious crusade. News organizations, church leaders, schoolscorporations, and governments all insist something dangerous is underway, and that vigorous responses are necessary.

Anyone who dares challenge this doctrine is a heretic. In other eras, religious heretics were burned at the stake. Today, climate skeptics often remain in the closet. Some have been bullied into play acting, into mouthing what they secretly believe to be untrue in order to retain their jobs or their government grants.

It’s accurate, therefore, to describe climate skeptics as a minority – swimming against the tide, surrounded on all sides by a worldview to which they conscientiously object.

Independent thinkers don’t require society’s approval. But there’s a difference between an environment that is non-supportive, and one in which vilification flows like a river from the pages of the New York Times.

Members of other minority communities – be they religious, ethnic, racial, or sexual – are usually accorded tolerance and respect. Yet late last year, Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, called climate skeptics depraved in his Times column.

He declined to use the term ‘skeptic,’ choosing instead an emotionally-laden smear. Calling someone a ‘climate change denier’ is a deliberate attempt to link doubt over wholly unproven predictions about the future to people who dispute historically documented mass murder. (Ellen Goodman, another famous newspaper columnist, made this explicit a decade ago, when she declared that “global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers.”)

Krugman insists “there are almost no good-faith climate-change deniers” – just people motivated by “greed, opportunism, and ego.” What rubbish. He has no possible way of diagnosing at a distance the motives of any human being, never mind the thousands of diverse individuals across the globe who dissent publicly, and the multitudes more who do so privately.

In 2009, this man similarly accused climate skeptics of “treason against the planet.” In 2013, he said they deserved to be punished in the afterlife for their “almost inconceivable sin.”

This is extreme prejudice. This is outright bigotry. This is a grown adult stamping his foot and bellowing that people who disagree with him are immoral villains.

In other contexts, we make a point of treating minorities with courtesy. But it remains open season on people who think humanity has more pressing problems than climate change, who draw different conclusions from the available scientific evidence, who’ve concluded that science is being abused by political operatives, or who’ve noticed that many similar eco-apocalyptic predictions have failed to materialize.

To be a climate skeptic is to belong to a despised minority, one that respectable people think it’s OK to demonize.

 

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LINKS:

  • see my previous commentary, Polar Bears & the Sleazy New York TimesA gang of 14 scientists attack a lone scientist in an academic journal. Erica Goode justifies & amplifies the assault in the Times.
  • according to the title of this 2016 article, published in the Catholic press, Pope Francis equates global warming with “sin”
  • like Krugman, the Pope believes there’s only one acceptable opinion on climate change. A 2017 New York Times headline told us the Pope had criticized “Climate Change Deniers.” Within the article, the Pope implies that skeptics are stupid and willfully blind: “when you don’t want to see, you don’t see.”
  • From an alternative perspective, on his ClimateLessons blog, John Shade documents what children are being taught in schools. See also his 2014 report, Climate Control: Brainwashing in Schools, along with its Appendix.

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This entry was posted on January 2, 2019 by in ethical & philosophical, media and tagged , , .
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