There exists an environmentalist strain of armchair psychology that dismisses the input of free-marketers on the issue of global warming, due their supposed affinity for conspiracy theories about runaway government. According to this line of reasoning, some “conservatives” are “individualists,” who innately reject global warming alarmism, because of an unfounded fear that mitigating climate change would endanger their civil liberties.
I’ve long dismissed this reasoning as self-serving propaganda. After all, what better way to de-legitimize your opponents than to call them kooks? It seemed to me like a cheap debate trick. Now, however, I’m not so sure. It’s not that I’ve joined the black helicopter crowd. Rather, evidence is mounting that environmentalists both prominent and plebeian are all-too willing to forsake my civil liberties in order to mitigate climate change, the supposed #1, end-all problem now facing mankind.
To wit, a group of Senators in January formed an ad hoc caucus of global warming alarmists and their first task was to pressure Sunday news programs on global warming coverage. To this end, nine Senators sent a letter to Fox News chief Roger Ailes, CBS News President David Rhodes, ABC News President Ben Sherwood and NBC News President Deborah Turness, deploring the paucity of coverage given to climate catastrophes. They concluded,
“We urge you to take action in the near term to correct this oversight and provide your viewers, the American public, with greater discussion of this important issue that impacts everyone on the planet.”
Not coincidentally, each network that received this letter ran a major climate change segment on its Sunday show within weeks.
Alas, these news nannies aren’t yet done. This week, one of the group, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, took to the floor of the floor of the world’s greatest deliberative body so as to bemoan the absence of coverage of the recent UN climate report by the cable news networks. No doubt, a strongly-worded letter “urging” the networks to “correct this oversight” is in the works.
Similarly, I found it worrisome last month when a blogger at a prominent gossip website endorsed the work of Rochester Institute of Technology assistant professor Lawrence Torcello, who believes that global warming “deniers” should be jailed by the state. Presumably, this academic still teaches. So he’s influencing young people with these ideas. This disturbs me. It should disturb you, too: When his argument is stripped to the root, this guy is advocating incarceration for those with whom he disagrees.
Jailing people for thought crimes is the sort of thing that only happens in countries that have little to no respect for civil liberties. With that in mind, it was disconcerting last January, when Christiana Figueres, the United Nation’s top climate diplomat, praised the Chinese government for “doing it right” on climate policy. According to Figueres, China’s secret for “doing it right” is authoritarianism. She marveled at the Chinese government’s ability to implement policies while avoiding the impediments engendered by representative forms of self-government.
You might think: That’s just typical UN socialist-speak; that stuff couldn’t happen here in the USA. Alas, of all the affronts to my liberties, none is as unnerving as the President’s climate action plan. He unveiled it last June, and it is avowedly authoritarian. In a speech before students at Georgetown University, President Obama said that his administration would impose climate change mitigation, because the Congress failed to do so. Congressional inaction thus became a pretext for executive policy-making, separation of powers be damned. Surely, Madison is spinning in his grave.
So here I am, finally playing into my stereotype. I really do feel as though the global warming alarmists are out to get me. It could be that this is a case of suggestion, and I’m subconsciously adopting the role that’s been assigned to me. But maybe, just maybe, my mind isn’t playing tricks on me, the mounting evidence is real, and a significant subset of global warming alarmists is willing to forsake my civil liberties.