The resurrection of McCarthyism

In the 1950s, the late, and now infamous, Senator Joseph McCarthy used the fear of communism to gain national recognition by making reckless charges against a wide array of public figures, the film industry, a war hero, and the President of the United States. In the end, his reckless disregard for facts, evidence, common decency, and the rule of low led to his downfall and ultimate disgrace. McCarthyism became a term that describes the use of accusations and shame without evidence or regard for the damage caused by reckless allegations.

McCarthyism reared its ugly head in the Washington Post on May 29. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse in an opinion piece accused “fossil fuel companies and their allies (of) funding a massive and sophisticated campaign to mislead the American people about the environmental harm caused by carbon pollution.” He went on to compare those who do not support the climate orthodoxy to Big Tobacco, reminding readers of the judicial finding that its behavior represented a racketeering enterprise under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

That is a serious charge. His evidence is a 1998 memo proposing a public relations campaign pointing out the scientific uncertainties about global warming and an article by a Drexel Professor Robert Brulle that allegedly documents “industry’s denial operation”.

To him, denial equates to pointing out that there is no compelling scientific evidence that human activities are responsible for most of the warming that has occurred over the past 50 or so years. Denial is also challenging the idea that CO2, a nutrient that is necessary for plant, crop, and tree growth is a pollutant. Again, there is no scientific evidence for that assertion and the earth’s history provides contrary evidence.

It is absolutely clear that raising the prospect of racketeering activity Senator Whitehouse is using his position as a senator to intimidate those who don’t agree with him and those who kneel at the altar of climate orthodoxy. Innuendo and guilt by association are not evidence. As a former state attorney general, he obviously knows that. And, as someone who took an oath to defend the Constitution, he should defend the Constitutional right to free speech.

It is not the fossil fuel industry and climate skeptics who are misleading the American people, it is people like Senator Whitehouse who are using climate change as a Trojan Horse to hide a political agenda that would concentrate even more power in Washington that would be used to inflict serious damage to our economic well being. An over governed society is an underperforming society.

Since the late 1980s, the climate establishment has been asserting that increasing levels of carbon dioxide—CO2—were causing rising global temperatures and extreme weather events. Their certitude was based on complex computer models that have been unable to accurately predict any climate events over the past 25 years. Instead of temperatures rapidly rising, they have been stable for the last 17 years and extreme weather events—hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.—have not been increasing. Gavin Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Science has said:  “General statements about extremes are almost nowhere to be found in the literature but seem to abound in the popular media. . . . .It’s this popular perception that global warming means all extremes have to increase all the time, even though if anyone thinks about that for 10 seconds they realize that’s nonsense.”

The new McCarthyites are turning to threats and intimidation because with each passing day their case becomes weaker and as it does, their credibility becomes ever more suspect. History shows that suppression of free speech is followed by the loss of liberty. Senator Whitehouse and those that adopt his tactics have embarked on a very dangerous path.

This article appeared on the FuelFix website at http://fuelfix.com/blog/2015/05/31/the-resurrection-of-mccarthyism/

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