The Corner


Global Warming, Chilling Effect


Twenty climate scientists called for RICO investigation in a letter to Obama and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The scientists argue that the systemic efforts to prevent the public from understanding climate change resemble the investigation undertaken against tobacco. They draw inspiration from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse who said on the Senate floor that there might be a similar conspiracy here, and a civil trial could provide the tools of discovery needed to find out.

Steve Goddard tweets:

They might want to consult with the Pope about this. The Vatican has considerable experience arresting heretics.

The list of the letter’s signatories is interesting. It includes six from George Mason University and three from Columbia, quite clearly schools where the spirit of free inquiry is not encouraged. Alumni should remember that fact the next time the begging bowl is handed round.  Another signatory is from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. How good to see that efforts to (effectively) suppress research are now being made on the taxpayers’ dime.

The distaste that the signatories, a nasty little gaggle of authoritarians on the make, feel for the regular democratic process can be seen in some of the language they use in the letter:

We appreciate that you [Obama and Lynch] are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress.

The use of the word ‘recalcitrant’ is telling, a word freighted with suggestions of petulance, stubbornness and unreasonability, a word that suggests that the signatories to this letter believe that it is impossible to disagree with their viewpoint in good faith, a belief that is all too consistent with a cult or, for that matter, the acolytes of a totalitarian state.

What Congress is doing is responding to the opinions of the voters. It can be an inconvenient thing, democracy. Sorry if it’s a nuisance.

The chances of any such RICO investigation remain, even under Obama, no friend of free speech, relatively small, but that’s not what this letter is about. What it’s designed to do is sow seeds of unease in dissenters’ minds, to make them think  that there is a chance, however remote, that they might come under the cosh of the state, with all the expense (and worse) that that might involve, to make them think that they might be wise to shut up.

That, I suppose, is one way to ‘settle’ the science. 

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