Global Warming, Fanatics, and Freedom
People who claim to be making the world a better place have often delivered
misery. The Soviets, for example, said they were building a more equal society.
Instead, they murdered
tens of millions.
The environment is important. But so are other things. The freedoms that
generations of our forbearers sacrificed and died for cannot
be brushed aside in the name of saving the planet. Do we want to live in a
- where asking questions is considered immoral?
where industries that have helped us achieve long, prosperous lives are
- where elected politicians who think differently than
unelected activists are jailed?
Most people concerned about global warming are sensible individuals who know the
ends don't justify the means. But every movement has its extremists. And in this
case, those extremists are hearing some disturbing messages about our right to
hold different points-of-view.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, the United Nations' Special Envoy
on Climate Change, insists:
"It is irresponsible, reckless and
deeply immoral to question the seriousness of the situation we are in."
[p. 2, paragraph 3]
James Hansen, NASA's activist scientist and Al Gore's
science advisor, thinks oil company bosses should be put on trial for
challenging the global warming hypothesis.
"I'm not a lawyer, I don't know how you do it, but it seems to me
that it is, indeed, a crime against humanity and nature."
[quote comes from mp3 here]
David Suzuki, a Canadian activist scientist who is critical of elected
officials' response to global warming, has advised audiences:
would challenge you to do is to put a lot of effort into
trying to see whether there's a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into
jail because what they're doing is a criminal act."
Environmental activists who believe their cause is more important
than other people's free speech aren't hard
to find. DeSmogBlog.com argues that alternative
perspectives on global warming amount to a plot to confuse and mislead the
public. In other words, everyone else is a deliberate liar who has no
right to be heard. Declares DeSmogBlog: "Free speech does not include the right
to deceive." [read a
The American Library Association
Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to
both seek and receive information from all points of view without
restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas
through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may
Intellectual freedom is the basis for our democratic
Green activists who attempt to silence the voices of climate
skeptics threaten intellectual freedom as well as free speech.
It's difficult to dismiss the DeSmogBlog group as fringe players who don't
represent mainstream environmentalism. Its founder, James Hoggan, is currently
chairman of the David Suzuki Foundation and the author of
Climate Cover-up -
which has received rave reviews from Leonardo DiCaprio and NASA's James Hansen. DeSmogBlog's operating officer,
Kevin Grandia, was
"trained by Al Gore."
Nor do environmentalists stop at repudiating free speech.
Democracy itself is
now being presented as a problem that must be solved in the interests of saving the
planet. According to the authors of
The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy, liberal democracy
must give way to "a form of authoritarian government by experts."
[Experts have often been spectacularly wrong.
here, here and
The online description of another book,
The Green State: Rethinking Democracy and Sovereignty, indicates that its author
proposes "constitutional and multilateral arrangements that could help transform
the liberal democratic state into a postliberal green democratic state." In
other words, if we can't convince the electorate to undertake the measures we
believe are necessary, we'll have to replace democracy with a re-jigged system
that ensures our own point of view prevails.
Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman has argued in the pages of the
New York Times that
human-rights abusing China's system of government is superior to American
words, its leaders are "a reasonably enlightened group of people" who
(because they don't have to worry about that pesky matter of getting re-elected)
"can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies
needed to move a society forward in the 21st century." Such measures, in
Friedman's view, include promoting clean power, energy efficiency, and "boosting
gasoline prices, from the top down."
Individual freedoms are also imperiled by the concept of personal carbon rationing,
which has been discussed seriously since at least
2006. This means that ordinary people's vacations, educational opportunities, and
restricted for the good of the planet. In a blog post on May 28th, 2007 [near
the bottom of the list of comments], one person illustrates such thinking:
"The cases [sic] for exemptions on the grounds of educational benefit or overseas
charitable work sound weak to me. In the case of students, there is nothing
stopping parents or relatives from saving or transferring their allowance to the
again we're told that global warming effects every part of our life - and
that individuals, communities and nations must now do everything differently. A 2009 report commissioned by
the British government declares: "Global, national and local systems...must
[p. 2, paragraph 2]. The authors of the report say a new world order is
inevitable, and that countries that choose not to participate in international
carbon reduction programs could be excommunicated.
Such countries would "sit outside the
international system and [be] effectively barred from all forms of international
cooperation" including trade
[p. 29, 3 paragraphs from the bottom].
Vaclav Klaus, the current President of the Czech Republic, is the author
Blue Planet in Green Shackles - What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?
Klaus involuntarily lived most of his life under Communist rule and is, therefore, sensitive
to the notion that there is "only one permitted truth" in public
He is also suspicious of a movement "which puts nature...before
and above freedom."
While he believes we have a responsibility to protect the environment on behalf
of future generations, he considers it another matter altogether to embark on "ambitious attempts to radically reorganize and change the world,
human society, our behavior and our
Global-warming activists say we must act for the sake of our children and
grandchildren. But how grateful will those children be if we leave them a planet
- free speech and other democratic rights have disappeared
- voters in individual countries are no longer able to chart their
- government bureaucrats decide whether you'll be permitted to take a
flight to visit a dying friend - or whether your child has sufficient carbon
credits to study abroad
In May 2010 BBC radio devoted an entire
to a discussion of whether democracy should
be abandoned so that governments can impose
anti-global-warming measures. Here are some of the scary comments
made by those appearing on the show:
Mayer Hillman: "I think itís irrelevant how I sound. Iím just trying to
talk commonsense...there are times in history when democracy has to be set aside
because of our wider obligation."
Michael Jacobs: "I donít think itís right to call something anti-democratic if it
has the consent of the public, even if you couldnít say that they were
actively in favour of it."
Halina Ward: "We donít have to be driven by what 50% plus 1 of the
population wants [in order] to say that we represent a majority view...I think what this really points to is in a democracy are there
issues where the sum of individual views can be overridden by
Bullies need not apply
Green time capsule: 1970 eco ideas not pretty
Climate skepticism is free speech
Can we recycle Bono?