In Denial – the politics of global warming

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The term “holocaust denial” is defined as follows by the American Anti-Defamation League:

Holocaust denial is a contemporary form of the classic anti-Semitic doctrine of the evil, manipulative and threatening world Jewish conspiracy. It was this doctrine that was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Holocaust. What is on the surface a denial of the reality of genocide is, at its core, an appeal to genocidal hatred. (ADL 1996).

In other words, if you are unconvinced of the official view of the Nazi holocaust, you are complicit in it. Note that the party line changes. Thirty years ago, someone who refused to believe that Jews were made into soap, glue and lampshades by the Nazis, was allegedly party to murder. That is no longer the case. But today, if you question cattle trucks, gas chambers, or a number of Jewish fatalities less than about five million, you are still, by the above definition, someone who is trying to replay that genocide. Note that I don’t reject the latest version of the official story; I reject the idea that rejecting it is a crime. But that doesn’t satisfy the thought police; it just makes me an “apologist” rather than a “denier”.

The acceptance of the concept “holocaust denier” is the result of a successful assault on the highest principles of Western civilization – sceptical enquiry and presumption of innocence. It was unlikely it would stop there. Legislators, activists and journalists have tried to extend the term “denier” to protect another sacred tablet: the belief that there is irrefutable evidence that human activity is causing the earth’s climate to enter a period of unprecedented, irreversible warming.

Like the high priests of the holocaust, when the warm-mongers change their tune, they expect us all to march in step. Once it was “global warming”; today it’s “climate change”. Scientific theories usually get more precise, but this isn’t normal science. Once they said Britain was bound to get hotter. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” complained Charles Onians of The Independent in March 2000. Several record winters later, the theory is as strong as ever; when their predictions fail, they change them. The current “consensus” is that the melting of Greenland will cut off the Gulf Stream, and Britain will shiver. And it’s not just this sceptred isle: “Global warming is making the world colder”, a recent headline announced. I’m not making this up.

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Anthony Watts runs the world’s most popular “climate sceptic” site. He uses sound scientific arguments to counteract the official view that global warming is certain. But he is incredibly politically naïve. In March 2010, he wrote an article about moves in Germany to imprison “climate change deniers”. He immediately drew a connection – this reminded him of the Nazis. “This is what the allies fought for: freedom of speech and freedom from tyranny”. German politicians want to put people in prison. For “denying” something. The obvious continuity, is not with Hitler’s regime, but with Germany’s post-war government, which jails people for “denying the holocaust”.

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The similarities don’t end there. The official holocaust religion, and the party line on climate change, both depend on ad hominem attacks, appeal to authority, circular reasoning, and the assumption that the other guy’s arguments need a psychological explanation, not a reasoned reply. Naomi Klein recently argued in The Nation that “conservative white men” tend to disbelieve the theory of global warming “because it threatens to upend their dominance-based worldview” (Klein 2011). The warm-mongers claim to understand the motives of climate change “deniers”. But you can’t read someone else’s mind, particularly someone you’ve only met via their writing. The Anti-Defamation League is being less than candid when it says it knows the motives of holocaust doubters; the same is true of someone who claims to have ascertained the intentions of climate change sceptics.

Instead of fighting for freedom, the climate sceptic community pleaded that the term “denier” should be reserved for “holocaust deniers”. The commissars, scenting cowardice, responded by barking louder.

First they came for the holocaust deniers, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a holocaust denier

Then they came for the climate change deniers, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a climate change denier

Then… well, you know the rest

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References

Anti-Defamation League (1996). Holocaust Denial: An Online Guide to Exposing and Combating Anti-Semitic Propaganda.

http://www.adl.org/holocaust/theory.asp

Klein, N. (2011, November). Capitalism vs. the Climate. Naomi Klein. The Nation.

http://www.thenation.com/article/164497/capitalism-vs-climate?page=full

Onians, C. (2000, March 20). Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past. The Independent, London.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

Watts, A. (2010, November 11). Germany’s Greens get ugly with climate skeptics.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/11/germany-gets-ugly-with-skeptics/

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