When we really want to win an argument in America, we claim that science is on our side. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t, and so there is a potent and lucrative expert witness industry in our court system, advising plaintiffs, defendants, judges and juries on everything from mental illness to economic impacts of monopolistic mergers to DNA evidence and blood spatters.
If you want to make somebody sound dumb, you can just say that the experts disagree with them. For example, liberal arts majors like John Kerry and Al Gore love to tell you that 97 percent of scientists agree that human activity is the cause of global warming. What kind of mouth-breather would disagree with 97 percent of the experts?
This is not a new tactic. When Russian dissidents dug in their heels against tyrannical state socialism, Soviet officials called in the psychiatrists for “scientific” diagnoses of the obvious mental disorder, and to prescribe Marxism-Leninism as an actual therapy. Thus the politicized Soviet mental hospitals began to swallow up people of conscience.
Alfred Kinsey, an academic whose professional expertise was in the study of insects, marshaled the prestige of “science” to transform Western sexual culture and behavior, under the protection of his university president, Herman Wells, and a hedonistic millionaire publisher, Hugh Hefner, who had their own reasons for blocking downfield. All three men mastered the art of intellectual fraud in an atmosphere of condescension and rhetorical smoke.
Kinsey’s so-called research has been thoroughly debunked by Dr. Judith Reisman. It is a total fraud, not even borderline. But academia and the mainstream media are not interested in exploring the implications of Kinsey’s unmasking, because the culture has already shifted. His frauds are too foundational to be renounced now.
This is what the Left is trying to accomplish in its public opinion stampede on global warming. Their position will certainly be exposed as a fraud sooner or later, but they want to hasten us so far down the road in public investments, policy commitments and student indoctrination that it will be too late to turn back. The coercive potential of environmental extremism is just too delicious to forego.
Like Kinsey, entomologist Paul Ehrlich was a New Jersey native who went west in his academic career (to Stanford) and eventually tired of insects.
California environmentalist David Brower, executive director of the Sierra Club, persuaded him to write The Population Bomb in 1968. Brower was in a hurry because he hoped Ehrlich’s book would influence the outcome of the 1968 election. Ehrlich produced the first draft in about three weeks.
The book had no impact on the election, but Ehrlich promoted the book relentlessly and eventually got his big break when Johnny Carson invited him onto The Tonight Show for the first of several interviews. Carson’s late-night audience was in the tens of millions, and Ehrlich became a household name.
“Sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come,” Ehrlich told CBS News in 1970. “And by ‘the end,’ I mean an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.”
The entomologist’s theory was that our planet simply could not support the human population, and brisk reduction of human population was our only hope. He predicted “famines of unbelievable proportions” no later than the 1980s.
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” he told Mademoiselle magazine in 1970. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
In that decade, Ehrlich told The Progressive in 1970, about 4 billion people, including 65 million North Americans, would surely perish in “the Great Die-Off.”
I doubt that 97 percent of scientists agreed with Ehrlich’s opinions on population and resource exhaustion. But the population control establishment mobilized, and acted on his alarms.
Millions of people were sterilized in Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Indonesia and Bangladesh. In India, many states withheld water, electricity, ration cards, medical care and pay raises from men and women who failed to undergo mandatory sterilization. Teachers expelled students whose parents failed to get sterilized. In a single year (1975), more than eight million men and women were sterilized.
World Bank president Robert McNamara celebrated that “at long last, India is moving to effectively address its population problem.” He staffed a population division within the World Bank with about 500 employees. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund conditioned loans and emergency economic assistance to poor countries on their leaders’ willingness to impose draconian population reduction measures.
China announced its one-child policy in 1979. In April 1980, it was admitted to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, replacing Taiwan. A series of development loans from the West commenced in 1981. The one-child policy provided cover for millions of forced sterilizations and perhaps 100 million forced abortions, many of which resulted in infections, sterility or death. It was an entirely avoidable humanitarian disaster on a scale that is difficult to imagine. And reckless U.S. environmental extremists like Brower and Ehrlich never accepted blame for their role in it.
Can we expect more integrity from environmentalists this time around? Well, they’re not off to a very good start.
Begin with their claim that 97 percent of scientists agree with them. John Cook is the most recent partisan to claim he has surveyed climate scientists’ publications on the issue. He wrote that he found over 97 percent of the scientific papers he surveyed “endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.”
But skeptic Mark Bahner checked Cook’s work across 11,944 scientific abstracts and found only 64 that endorsed Cook’s proposition. That’s 1.6 percent, not 97 percent.
Dr. Richard Tol is a professor at two European universities. Cook surveyed 10 of Tol’s 122 eligible papers. Even within this cherry-picked data set, Tol wrote that Cook rated five of 10 papers incorrectly, including four that Cook falsely rated as “endorse” rather than “neutral.”
To the best of my knowledge, former Vice President Al Gore is the only environmental alarmist to win an Academy Award and a Nobel Prize for his efforts. In his Nobel acceptance speech, he said the Arctic sea ice might be completely melted by 2014. But it wasn’t. I worked in Alaska that year, and I think we would have noticed. In fact, I read that the Arctic ice cap increased that year, for the second consecutive year.
NASA chief climate scientist James Hansen was arguably the original global warming alarmist. He gave some 1,400 interviews about his climate change views during a long federal career, but nevertheless accused the Bush administration of muzzling him.
Whether it’s gay marriage, illegal immigration or climate change, Leftists understand that they can prevail through corporate executives and media organizations, even if they can’t persuade rank-and-file Americans.
Hansen is the federal official who proposed Nuremberg-style trials of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming deniers. That is the climax of totalitarian Leftist coercion. Hansen’s supervisor, John Theon, declared himself a global warming skeptic after he retired from NASA. Theon would thus be one of the people Hansen proposed to prosecute.
Theon said after his retirement that Hansen embarrassed the agency but was never muzzled. You can’t muzzle the Deep State. That’s fine. But I don’t want to be muzzled or prosecuted, either. Freedom-loving Americans had better resist tyrannical globalist elites and environmentalist thugs while we still can.