Totalitarianism of the Left

Berean Jeff Haymond wrote a blog yesterday which overlapped my blog, but you should read both.  His is broader.  Mine focuses on the global climate change issue.

A recent Rasmussen poll indicates that 27% of Democrats surveyed favor prosecuting those who do not agree with global warming.  Here is the question from the Rasmussen Report of November 9-10, 2015:

2* Should the government investigate and prosecute scientists and others including major corporations who question global warming?

To be sure, 68% said the dissenters should not be prosecuted.  But nearly 30% is in a sense mind-boggling in the United States.

Now I thought science was a free inquiry with peer review designed to prevent fraud in the methodology, but not governmental intervention  to guarantee only a favored outcome.  Apparently some people believe the state’s power should be used to do just that—to stifle dissent.  Man-made climate change as a major factor in environmental degradation is by no means “settled science.”  The reigning paradigm is of course that it does exist and that it does make a major difference.  But as we ought to know (see Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) paradigms shift.  And if some authority intervenes to force the reigning paradigm on everyone, only then will it generally persist.  Witness the “Galileo Affair” of the early 17th century (not that Galileo’s argument was all that good either, as he wanted to interpret Scripture his own way and would always err away from it if in his mind it contradicted his particular paradigm—he happened to be correct on this one).

So what has happened?  It appears totalitarianism has found a safe haven among a sub-set of liberals, not the majority, but all too many.  Nearly 30% is a lot of people.  And for what?  They seem oblivious to the fact that man-made global climate change is only a theory based on models rooted in unreliable past figures (as I have shown in an earlier blog).  Somehow they have been convinced that this theory is absolute and unchallengeable fact.

Some commenters on this blog may be tempted to write off my comments, convinced that climate change is man-made and threatens our very existence.  But I remind them that even if they hold that view, they should not sympathize with those whom would legally punish dissenters.  The Galileo Affair is instructive.  Those who would argue for prosecution of climate dissenters would ironically have absolved Galileo from his dissent.  They might argue in defense that Galileo was “right” but that was not determined at the time and not accepted by many, including church authorities.  Moreover it should be interesting to climate change advocates that it was the church that did prosecute dissenters.  Today’s advocates would condemn that, but it is exactly what they want to do in 30% of those Democrats polled.  I call that totalitarianism.

13 thoughts on “Totalitarianism of the Left”

  1. Although the preponderance of evidence is in support of the AGW hypothesis, and although much of the criticism of the AGW hypothesis is funded by corporations who have a vested interest in downplaying the demonstrable effects of climate change, I cringe when I see efforts to criminalize unpopular speech anywhere–whether it be in public universities, Christian colleges, newspapers, blogs, the internet, churches, sidewalks, the radio, etc.

    I also cringe when people are so determined to hold to an ideology, whatever that ideology might be, that they are unable and unwilling to change their minds, even if the weight of the evidence is against the position they currently hold.

  2. Marc
    This poll is so dangerous because of our loss of the rule of law in America. Now that we basically have the rule of men, if that # climbs to closer to 50%, you’ll actually have criminal prosecutions. Even now they are making waves against oil companies, such as the NY attorney general targeting Exxon:

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/06/more-oil-companies-could-join-exxon-mobil-as-focus-of-climate-investigations.html

    Free speech is not free if the people are willing to surrender the constitution and the rule of law to the rule of men.

    1. If it is true–and I am not convinced that it is–that “”There was a concerted effort by multiple American oil companies to obscure the emerging climate science consensus throughout the 1990s,,” what should be done?

      Nothing?

      If they are not legally culpable, are they not at least morally culpable? The effects of (human-caused) climate change are already evident.

      Check rapidly increasing insurance rates, especially those living near coasts. Insurance companies for sure accept that the AGW hypothesis has merit.

      There may be a precedent. I am thinking of tobacco manufacturers who obscured research on the deadly effects of tobacco. We will never know how many lives were lost because some people put profits over human lives in that case. Sadly, tobacco is one of those products which if used correctly injures and sometimes even kills those who choose to use it (have to wonder why God created it in the first place).

      Those who put profits first reveal their true immorality. We may see if Exxon is one of those.

      1. Morally, yes, IF the scientific evidence were beyond question (and very few things are in the realm of science, relatively speaking), but since the science is and will likely remain an open question, not legally culpable, as if that were true, any time someone suppresses information for whatever reason, they could be prosecuted for that alone, even if it was not a settled issue. Suppression of information is not a crime in itself, nor should it be by itself.

      2. “The effects of (human-caused) climate change are already evident.”

        Which effects? Be specific.

        Of course there are differences in the climate now than it was 100 years ago. Has it warmed? I would agree it has. Has man negatively impacted the environment? Of course. But the problem is that we have no idea of how to compare today to 1,000 years ago, or even 2,000 years ago because the tech we use to measure and record such data did not exist then.

        There are studies that show that Roman and Medieval Britain was warmer than it is today. A few historical records refer to the Romans growing grapes there, which cannot be done today because the climate is too cold. Was that warmth caused by burning coal or oil?
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2171973/Tree-ring-study-proves-climate-WARMER-Roman-Medieval-times-modern-industrial-age.html

        So, global warming may be real, and humans might be a contributing factor. But I tend to think the so-called existential threat of AGW is much exaggerated. After all, wasn’t the Article Ocean supposed to have been ice free by “fill in the year”? (I say that because numerous years have been predicted). One current IPCC study bewails the loss of Antarctic ice in a certain area however a NASA study shows that ice gains in other areas more than offset the loss. (http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/nasa-study-indicates-antarctica-gaining-more-ice-than-losing-climate/53533246)

        But even if we assume that global warming is happening and is mainly caused by man, there is one great lie out there being used to scare nations into spending money. The sea level. However, anyone with a brain should be able to know this is a fallacy. A recent article I read on the subject used an interesting demonstration.

        Put ice cubes in a cup or bowl and fill it to the top. When the ice melts, the overflow on your counter is a rough “proportional” representation of how much “rising” has occurred. Since floating sea ice (which ALL of the Arctic ice is comprised of) already displaces its own mass in the water, sea level rise from melting sea ice is minimal at most.

        Might some action (maybe a sea levy or something) need to be done in the future in some places? Maybe. But the notion of a massive sea level rise that will flood entire coastal areas and submerge entire cities is at best an exaggeration, an outright lie at worst.

        Some links of the sea level rise debate.
        http://www.c3headlines.com/are-oceans-rising/

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/09/24/alarmists-are-in-way-over-their-heads-on-rising-ocean-claims/

        So…
        “Check rapidly increasing insurance rates, especially those living near coasts. Insurance companies for sure accept that the AGW hypothesis has merit.”

        Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Or maybe these insurance companies need to be investigated for using this as an excuse to price gouge. I am sure there are insurance companies out there that would certainly take advantage of even the remotest possibility of sea level rise to justify raising premiums. That’s how, unfortunately, the world works. Or maybe its due to something entirely different, like maybe the recent damage caused by two hurricanes (Katrina and Sandy). And of course we have always had hurricanes. Anyway, just saying, we may never know the actual truth.

        Like you said, Mr. Adams, companies that put profits above all else reveal their immorality. On that we agree.

    2. Jeff, our government no longer represents the will of the people, so you don’t have to worry about that.

      If it did gay marriage would have been legal long ago and abortion would have more restrictions then it does.

      One whole party has a vested interest in there being threats of not being able to deny global warming without any actual consequences. So it will remain the way it is.

  3. The thing that always interests me is that whether or not you agree with climate change, what are egregious regulations going to do except hurt average Americans? Regulations in the U.S. alone and maybe even with a few other countries is not enough to stop this. Shouldn’t we focus on allowing Americans to prosper and examine innovative ways to use cleaner energy?

    I also am deeply concerned by this alongside college campus’s trigger warning/safe spaces. I fear that my generation is the generation that is afraid of dispute and that refuses to offend. Do you have any advice for how Americans (both on the local/community level and the policy/macro level) can foster free thinking and discourse and remove this desire for the government to solve every dispute? What can we do to change a culture that is afraid of disagreement and that simply rejects that any truth could be real?

  4. “but since the science is and will likely remain an open question”

    Science is always an open question. We are talking about the inductive method here, which cannot provide absolute proof.

    There is however an ever increasing amount of quality scientific evidence in favor of the AGW hypothesis, which you reject, for some reason; and YET there is absolutely NO quality scientific evidence in favor of young-earth creationism, which you accept, for some reason.

    Please do not fault me for pointing out the fallacies and absurdities I see in your thinking.

    1. I am not faulting you for anything except that you are not correct:
      1. There is good and ever-increasing evidence for a “young earth” (not necessarily 4004 BC) earth
      2. BUT, even so, the issue here is not ultimately one of my science vs. your science, but a matter of basic presuppositions, in other words, a philosophical/religious question. I will not allow science to trump reasonable interpretations of special revelation. You are open to whatever science says in that realm because you have a different set of interpretations that filter (or don’t filter) what you can accept and not accept. That is the difference. If that makes me appear to be closed-minded and simple, then so be it. My conscience will not permit me to move beyond certain vital limits. One more point: I am not saying my beliefs are irrational, but supra-rational, something of mystery.

      1. “Reasonable interpretations of special revelation”

        With that statement right there, you showed your cards. Debate over.

        Reasonable deemed by whom? Educated individuals who employ human reason? Like, um, scientists?

        You are using the SAME TOOLS scientists do, except scientists use it to understand natural revelation. Thanks for finally admitting what I knew the whole time. Honesty about epistemology honestly is a good thing! :-)

      2. Of course I am showing my hand. Science itself is both one way or method of knowing as well as the content of that, but I argue that every person must begin (and does begin) with some set of presuppositions that ground what he/she will or will not accept (the “boundary conditions”). I take those boundary conditions to be set by special revelation, not science itself which is subject to those conditions. WITHIN those boundaries I can certainly give credence to what science says–I am not anti-science, just anti-scientism. The problem as I see it is that you consider science itself as its own self-validating boundary condition, whereas I do not.

  5. “I take those boundary conditions to be set by special revelation.”

    Not really. You take those boundary conditions to be set by YOUR SUBJECTIVE, HUMAN INTERPRETATION of special revelation. Special revelation does not interpret itself. Natural revelation does not interpret itself either.

    A good scientist should be much like a good scholar of the Bible and like a good scholar of the social sciences in that all should have an awareness of the limits of their understanding and therefore a deep humility throughout the whole process.

    If you (not Dr. Marc Clauson specifically, but us all) cannot accept that you may be wrong, you already are.

    Way too much work to do now. All the best.

  6. Regardless of your opinion of climate change, you should be afraid when you hear people talk about being criminalized for disagreeing with a scientific point of view. One of the great principle upon which I nation was founded was that of free speech. To take away freedom of speech would be to take away one of the most essential aspects of a free and prosperous society. This would take away the ability to innovate ideas and develop our society. Without freedom of speech, we will be stuck with the status quo.

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