Over at the Telegraph the other day, the amazing James Delingpole had a post entitled “Time for the BBC to ban the ‘D’ word?” That D-word is “denier” — as in someone who doesn’t accept the standard global-warming line. And, yes, “denier” in this context is meant to be parallel to Holocaust denier.
Personally I don’t believe in banning words — but I do believe in intellectual and moral consistency. You’d never hear an organisation as eggshell-treadingly right-on as the BBC use pejorative terms for Jews or black people or homosexuals or sufferers of cerebral palsy. So why, pray, does it feel it can persist in using the deliberately offensive term “denier” to write off anyone who is sceptical about Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming?
Before I move on, a brief language note: Brits and Americans differ on the spelling of “skeptical,” or “sceptical,” as on other spellings.
You’ve heard me say it many times: Al Gore can’t stop calling his opponents “deniers.” He was at it again last week. In an interview, he said that “the ability of the raging deniers to stop progress is waning every single day.”
Gore has always favored Holocaust talk, when discussing the environment. Back in 1989, he had a New York Times op-ed that was entitled “An Ecological Kristallnacht. Listen.” In it, he warned of “an environmental holocaust without precedent.”
He is not the only one, of course. Let me quote from my book Peace, They Say, a history of the Nobel Peace Prize. The following is from the section on the 2007 award, which went to Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:
A reporter for America’s most important television news program, 60 Minutes, was asked why he did not include skeptics or dissenters in his global-warming reports. The reporter, Scott Pelley, said, “If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”
Today, that man, Pelley, is the anchorman of the CBS Evening News.
Here’s a little more from my book — the Pachauri is Rajendra K. Pachauri, head of the IPCC:
In 2004, Pachauri attacked Bjørn Lomborg, a Danish scientist who, while he accepted global warming, argued against radical and possibly bankrupting measures to counteract it. The IPCC chairman thought it appropriate to compare Lomborg to Hitler. He said to Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper, “What’s the difference between Lomborg’s way and Hitler’s way of viewing humanity?” He concluded, “If you follow Lomborg’s way of thinking, it might be right, what Hitler did.”
Sure. And let me focus on one more bit from the recent Gore interview. His side, Gore said, is “winning the conversation.” “The same thing happened on apartheid. The same thing happened on the nuclear-arms race with the freeze movement. The same thing happened in an earlier era with abolition.”
Gore’s self-congratulation, you see, is unlimited. And actually, the freeze movement lost “the conversation.” That was important, because this loss helped the United States and the West win the Cold War against the Soviet Union. Gore seems as addled as he is offensive.
‐Some friends of mine have a question: “Isn’t it curious” that the Cuban general in charge of the Castros’ air force and air-defense systems dies in a car crash in the very week that U.N. inspectors seek to travel to Cuba, to interview him about the fighter jets and defense systems intercepted on their way to North Korea?
Yeah, it’s curious, I’ll say. Inconvenient people have a way of dying in car crashes in the Castros’ land. (Oswaldo Payá, the great democracy leader, was one of them.) For more on this, go here.
‐I wanted to say something about my friend Ted Cruz, the new Texas senator. He is very optimistic about what can be done — way too optimistic, many conservatives say. I think I know a reason for his optimism.
When he ran for the Senate, people told him — and I mean experienced people, political veterans — that it was impossible. He had no chance. He’d embarrass himself. He had never run for office before. For the Republican nomination, he was up against the state’s lieutenant governor, a self-financer. Ted could never win.
And yet he won. Therefore, when people say, “This is impossible,” Ted is apt to say, “Really? Are you sure?”
Anyway, there’s one interpretation for you.
‐Since Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, I have had many occasions — too many — to recall JFK’s famous putdown of Richard Nixon: “No class.” I thought of this again, when Obama used the occasion of the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “Dream” speech to give a convention-style speech in which he tarred his political opponents. No class, no class.
We were told, when he was running (in ’08), that he had a “first-class temperament.” As I’ve often said, I think his temperament may be worse than his ideas.
(I should say, too, that there was good in Obama’s anniversary speech. But the partisan stuff just soured it for me.) (Then again, I don’t think Obama intended the speech for me. Is he conscious of being president of all Americans?)
‐You may wonder why the Muslim Brothers in Egypt, when they’re mad at the military, attack Christians and burn down their churches.
My answer: Because there aren’t Jews and synagogues left.
‐I’m on the mailing list of the ANSWER Coalition. “ANSWER” stands for “Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.” They say, “Nationwide protests planned to oppose U.S. war on Syria: ‘Hands Off Syria!’”
Yes, because Syrians are enjoying such a lovely life, without American hands on them. (They’ve got Assad’s hands, Iran’s hands, Hezbollah’s hands, Russia’s hands . . .)
‐I was reading an article in the New York Times that began, “The French, it seems, are falling out of love. Not with free health care, or short workweeks, or long vacations in August. But with bread.”
A nice opening. But may I just object that health care is not “free,” exactly?
‐When I was a kid, I saw a movie called A Little Romance, and, like millions of others, no doubt, fell in love with a girl named Diane Lane. Now I read that she’s to play Hillary Clinton in a movie.
Without undue offense to HRC: No. No.
‐Earlier this week, I had a “Salzburg Journal,” here at National Review Online. In Part I of that journal, I wrote,
The airport in Salzburg is the W. A. Mozart Airport. Its code is SZG, for Salzburg. I’ve always thought it should be WAM (pronounced “wham”). A cool code.
A colleague writes me to say that “WAM” is taken — by the Ambatondrazaka airport in Madagascar.
‐You know what I’ve long been sick of hearing? That American portions — food portions — are big. Huge. But, you know? It’s kind of true. You notice, when you return after a while away.
‐When Bill Buckley was here, I’d sometimes see Peter Flanigan, a friend of his. (Almost everybody was a friend of Bill’s.) Flanigan was an old Wall Streeter and Nixon aide who dedicated himself to the improvement of education in the inner city. I loved seeing him and talking to him. Such a cool, dashing gent — sort of aristocratic (in a good way).
Something happened a few years ago: I saw him in Salzburg. There he was, big as life, in the Sacher Hotel. Seemed so out of context! Turned out he had married an Austrian.
In any case, an obituary is here. Thanks for joining me today, Impromptusites. I’ll catch you later.