A clarion call for clarity

“[His] party called it the Poison Kitchen. That was the preferred epithet for his newspaper nemesis, the persistent poisoned thorn in his side, the Munich Post. The running battle between [him] and the courageous reporters and editors of the Post is one of the great unreported dramas in the history of journalism – and a long-erased opening chapter in the chronology of attempts to explain …

“The Munich Post journalists were the first to focus sustained critical attention on [him], from the very first moment this strange specter emerged … They were the first to tangle with him, the first to ridicule him, the first to investigate him, the first to expose the seamy underside of his party …They were the first to attempt to alert the world …
[…]
“[The stab in the back myth] was an obvious lie, but it was a lie he rode to power on. More than that: it was not just a lie [he] exploited, it was a lie that in some very important ways created [him], made him who he was.
[…]
“And if one examines [his] behaviour … one realizes he didn’t merely use counterfeit documents and forged interpretations of history, he counterfeited the very stuff of history itself …” –Ron Rosenbaum, Explaining Hitler: Chapter 3, “The Poison Kitchen: The Forgotten First Explainers”, ISBN 0-06-095339-X

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to consider that there might be some parallels between the Cassandras of the Munich Post and those who consider the behaviours of some “climate scientists” to be “counterfeiting” the very stuff of science itself.

Nor do I think it’s too much of a stretch to consider that there might be some parallels between the greenshirts (those whose preferred epithet, “denier”, for any who disagree with and/or question the human-generated CO2 as primary cause of “global warming” hypothesis) and the brownshirts whose commander-in-chief’s preferred epithet for the Munich Post was “Poison Kitchen”.

But speaking of poison, propaganda and preferred epithets … Pierre Gosselin, whose NoTricksZone blog presents “Climate Science News And Free Commentary From Germany”, had a chillingly disturbing post the other day. Some opposition (Green) parliamentarians in Germany had sent a “short query” to the Government.

But first a little background. About a month ago, Gosselin reported:

German Parliamentarian Under Massive Fire – For Skepticism

It was bound to happen sooner than later. A high level German politician speaking out against dubious climate science. Marie-Luise Dött, German Parliamentarian and a central figure on Angela Merkel’s environmental committee, expressed scepticism on climate change, […]

Now she is at the receiving end of brimstone and hellfire from all sides, including the media.

Here in Germany, climate skeptics face a level of intolerance not seen here in 65 years.

[…]

Dött’s comments not only left environmentalists and climate protection activists speechless and gasping for air, but exposed Dött as a climate skeptic. She is reported to have called climate protection a:

…replacement religion, and that anyone who dared to express doubt could be branded an outlaw, forced to confess sins, sent to purgatory, or even cast into hell, if being really bad.

Free scientific thinking is a myth here.

Her comments were made at a forum at which Dr. Fred Singer was a guest speaker. Now, here are some excerpts from Gosselin’s more recent post:

Short Query [from the Green faction of Parliamentarians to the German Government]

from Parliamentarians Dr. Hermann Ott, Bärbel Höhn, Hans Josef Fell, Sylvia Kotting-Uhl, Oliver Kriseher, Undine Kurth (Quedlinburg), Nicole Maisch, Dorothea Steiner and the Parliamentary party BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN (ALLIANCE 90 / THE GREENS)

Subject: Deniers of climate change in the coalition government

The so-called “climate change sceptics” or “climate change deniers” for years have been a permanent fixture in American politics. Their influence on American politics is not insignificant. They are mainly supported and funded by the fossil fuels industry like Exxon (Esso) or Koch Industries. Now it appears that their influence is now growing in Germany and in Europe. In the past weeks various press releases and other reports have appeared in the “Financial Times Deutschland” and news magazine “Der Spiegel” about on how certain climate change deniers were given a discussion forum by the CDU and FDP Bundestag’s factions and that some parliamentarians of the ruling CDU and FDP factions were sympathetic to the ideas put forth by climate denier Fred Singer. This and a range of other activities by the so-called climate sceptics in Germany compel us to ask the German Government for its assessment.

[followed by a list of 11 questions which included -hro:]

8. Are there voices within the German Government who question the anthropogenic causes of climate change?

9. How does the German Government view the activities of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) with regards to climate change? EIKE is supported by Fred Singer. In the Federal Government’s view, does the Institute work on the scientific question regarding the subject of climate change?

10. Is the German Government aware of whether climate denier conferences are also being financed by public funds, for example by the Liberal Institute of the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation?

11. Fundamentally, does the German Government approve of the use of public funds for spreading the ideas of climate deniers like Fred Singer?

Colour me somewhat alarmed by the above, particularly in light of the fact that the Green Party in Germany, according to Der Spiegel, has evidently “never been as high in public opinion surveys as they are now”.

One might be forgiven for wondering whether if the Greens were to achieve significant power, freedom of speech might quickly become a democratic right of the past. The intolerance and delegitimization inherent in this “query” is echoed by Franny Armstrong’s recently failed “No Pressure” video – which was supposed to be the “Internet film smash of the year“, an effort to “promote carbon cutting in a completely new, exciting, and eyebrow-raising way”.

It’s now fairly common knowledge that Armstrong’s video was a PR disaster. In a recent post, Australia’s Jo Nova posits:

This colossal PR disaster was 20 years in the making, and it took a special set of conditions to achieve a true marketing black hole. Never before in the history of public relations has so much star-power, money and kudos been used to score such a monstrous global own-goal. The campaign to dehumanize skeptics laid the groundwork and somehow, fittingly, the eco-terrorists own name-calling has come back to bite them.

[…]

They had spent years dehumanizing, ridiculing, and denigrating anyone that disagreed. Two decades of noxious name-calling and rampant bullying had laid the groundwork for The Marketing Disaster of the Century.

The dehumanizing, ridiculing and denigrating anyone who disagreed is certainly quite evident in many of the Climategate emails. It is equally evident in a recent article in Scientific American on Dr. Judith Curry. While one can perhaps forgive the ignorance and disrespect of the headline writer who chose to write “Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues”, one cannot forgive the bad taste left by author Michael D. Lemonick’s suggesting that Curry may be a “dupe”:

[Stating her views regarding the IPCC] publicly on some of the same Web sites that broke the so-called Climategate e-mails last fall, they are considered by many to be a betrayal, earning Curry epithets from her colleagues ranging from “naive” to “bizarre” to “nasty” to worse.

All of which sets up the two competing story lines, which are, on the surface at least, equally plausible. The first paints Curry as a peacemaker—someone who might be able to restore some civility to the debate and edge the public toward meaningful action. By frankly acknowledging mistakes and encouraging her colleagues to treat skeptics with respect, she hopes to bring about a meeting of the minds.

The alternative version paints her as a dupe—someone whose well-meaning efforts have only poured fuel on the fire. By this account, engaging with the skeptics is pointless because they cannot be won over.

Notwithstanding Lemonick’s best efforts, and those of the adherents to the tenets of IPCC dogma – who continue the denigration by posting obtuse and insulting comments on Curry’s blog – this dishonest portrayal, not unlike Armstrong’s video, has backfired. In a follow-up article, Lemonick poses the question:

So here’s the central question: Is Curry a heroic whistle-blower, speaking the truth when others can’t or won’t? Or has she gone off the scientific deep end, hurling baseless charges at a group of scientists who are doing their best to understand the complexities of Earth’s climate? Let us know what you think.

It’s followed by a link to a survey, the results of which can be found here.

Omer Bartov, is an historian; in concluding “He meant what he said“, a lengthy 2004 review of Hitler’s Second Book: The Unpublished Sequel to Mein Kampf, Bartov wrote:

“Hitler taught humanity an important lesson. It is that when you see a Nazi, a fascist, a bigot, or an anti-Semite, say what you see. If you want to justify it or excuse it away, describe accurately what it is that you are trying to excuse away. […] The absence of clarity is the beginning of complicity.

I don’t know if Dr. Curry is familiar with Bartov’s work. But I do know that she brought considerable clarity to a recent panel discussion at Purdue University, “Beyond Climategate” [link is to .wmv streaming file; it’s very worthwhile taking the time to view the whole thing].

Much to the consternation of IPCC-crowd’s acolytes and lesser-lights, Dr. Curry has been invited to present testimony to a US congressional sub-committee on Energy and Environment hearing – specifically “to discuss how we can go about responding to the climate change issue in the face of uncertainty, dissent and disagreement.”

My sincere hope is that at this Nov. 17th hearing Dr. Curry will continue to pursue her clarion call for clarity.

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