“The debate in the scientific community is over,” said Al Gore during an ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos to discuss the former vice-president’s sortie into the movie business, “An Inconvenient Truth.” This is a “scientifically based” documentary that asserts that an environmental apocalypse is gathering strength, and that its sole cause is man’s uncontrolled carbon dioxide emissions.
But in a revealing article in the Wall Street Journal (“Don’t Believe the Hype”), Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, writes that there has been no “debate” in the scientific community, and that what passes for truth about global warming is a mere consensus among those who wish to believe that man is the cause of catastrophic climate changes.
After bursting the bubbles of computer models and theoretical projections, and detailing the level of ignorance about climatology among scientists honest enough to admit their ignorance about what causes glaciers to retreat or the frequency of hurricanes, Lindzen concludes his article with, “Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods, but by perpetual repetition.”
I would have put it: But by perpetual chanting by savages to entice the rain gods to make rain.
Perpetual repetition it has been for years, and also by dramatic pictures intended to frighten the unwary and persuade the impressionable with guilt. “You wanted your SUV! Well, there’s the result, that avalanche of ice falling off of Greenland!” However, as Dr. Leonard Peikoff years ago remarked about the anti-abortionist tactic of using gruesome photographs of aborted fetuses, “A picture is not an argument.”
And this is the substance of the environmentalists’ scare campaign: impressive sounding but nevertheless bogus science, razzle-dazzle photography, and a belief closed to reason. Remember that today’s environmentalist establishment had its roots in the ecology movement of the anti-establishment hippies and “radicals” of the 1960’s. Those creatures are now the establishment, and tolerate no criticism. If you never credited the power of unopposed irrationality, of faking reality at the price of dismissing or suppressing reason, the success of the environmental establishment ought to convince you of it once and for all.
“I am here to say the debate is over: the science is clear,” Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona said in a televised news conference about the alleged dangers of secondhand smoke. In a New York Times article, reporter John O’Neil on June 28th wrote that, according to Carmona’s new report, “the evidence is now ‘indisputable’ that secondhand smoke is an ‘alarming’ public health hazard, responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths among nonsmokers each year.”
Of course, the science of the health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke is not clear, either. The issue has been “debated” on government terms for decades, and is an obsession of those who would impose their “findings” on everyone, regardless of the truth. Anymore, a government report on any subject — whether on secondhand smoke, the dangers of cholesterol, or the thriving of the spotted owl or jeopardized salmon runs or the decline or increase of teenage pregnancies — is an invitation to hard scrutiny. So many government-funded findings and studies, as well as those emanating directly from the government, are just so much a priori number juggling and reality-faking legerdemain.
In the disguise of science, a cohort of totalitarians has ascended to prominence. To what end? Ultimately, to absolute control of the individual, the extinction of selfish pleasure, and the inculcation of voluntary, public-spirited abstinence (from any pleasure you care to name), for the sake of the allergic, for the elderly with heart and respiratory problems, and, of course, for that regular Trojan horse of justification, the children, born and unborn.
“Dr. Carmona warned that measures like no-smoking sections (in restaurants and bars) did not provide adequate protection,” reports the Times article, “adding, ‘Smoke-free environments are the only approach that protects nonsmokers from the dangers of secondhand smoke.'”
Adolf Hitler, a virulent nonsmoker, also intended to impose such a policy on Germany if it had won the war. And, his Aryan scientists could just as well have conducted a study that meshed perfectly with such a policy, one that concluded that a “Jew-free Germany is the only approach that would protect Germany from the dangers of Zionism.”
What is opposing the advance of the nanny-statists? Certainly not reason. Lindzen, writing about the speciousness of the environmentalist premise that man alone is causing global warming, remarks:
“Even among those arguing [in the alleged “debate”], there is general agreement that we can’t attribute any particular hurricane to global warming. To be sure, there is one exception, Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., who argues that it must be global warming because he can’t think of anything else.”
That is an example of the consequences of repetition creating a “truth.” It is nothing less than the death of thought. In George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” O’Brien eventually convinces Winston Smith that two plus two equals five. We have been witnessing the same phenomenon, only in slow motion, over a vast field of issues, for decades.
There is little difference between the means and ends of the environmentalists and the anti-smoking brigades in the U.S. and the means and ends of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s preparations for the G8 summit in St. Petersburg this weekend. Under the headline, “Putin cracks the whip for summit,” the Daily Telegraph (London) of July 12th reported that “The Russian authorities have been instructed to banish the poor — and the rain – from St. Petersburg.”
People who are likely to demonstrate are being forced to leave the city, activists are being jailed, stray dogs are being killed, and the homeless evicted for the duration of the summit. To what end? To create the illusion of serenity, stability and order.
“Mr. Putin,” reports the article, “wants to ensure that the world’s most powerful politicians never come face to face with aspects of St. Petersburg that most discomfit him.” In short, he is exercising his power to fake reality. The faking even extends to having the Russian air force on standby “to ‘seed the clouds,’ pumping ions into the air that supposedly will ensure the rain falls anywhere but on the Konstantinovsky Palace, where leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations will stay.”
“I think, therefore I am.” “I wish it to be true, therefore it is true.” And if repetition will not make it “true,” or result in a consensus that will create an “accepted truth,” force will. Force, not facts, will settle the issue. Facts, or the absence of evidence, have always been an “inconvenient truth” to those who wish to resort to force to accomplish their ends when indoctrination and brain-washing have failed. And what is their supreme end? Power, in the name of the “public good.”
When a petit totalitarian reaches for his gun, or threatens to use it unless one submits to his moral or “scientific” authority, then the debate is indeed over.