Jail Global Warming Skeptics?
David Suzuki has called for political leaders to be thrown in jail for ignoring the science behind climate change.If somebody can be locked up in Canada or Europe for saying that homosexual acts are sinful (and they can), why not lock people up for saying politically incorrect things about climate change?
At a Montreal conference last Thursday, the prominent scientist, broadcaster and Order of Canada recipient exhorted a packed house of 600 to hold politicians legally accountable for what he called an intergenerational crime. Though a spokesman said yesterday the call for imprisonment was not meant to be taken literally, Dr. Suzuki reportedly made similar remarks in an address at the University of Toronto last month.
The proposal has lit up many conservative blogs since it was first reported by the McGill Daily on Monday.
Addressing the McGill Business Conference on Sustainability, hosted by the Faculty of Management, Dr. Suzuki’s wide-ranging speech warned against favouring the economy to the detriment of the ecology -- the tarsands in Northern Alberta being his prime example.
“You have lived your entire lives in a completely unsustainable period,” he told students and fans. “You all think growth and [climate] change is normal. It’s not.”
Toward the end of his speech, Dr. Suzuki said that “we can no longer tolerate what’s going on in Ottawa and Edmonton” and then encouraged attendees to hold politicians to a greater green standard.
“What I would challenge you to do is to put a lot of effort into trying to see whether there’s a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail because what they’re doing is a criminal act,” said Dr. Suzuki, a former board member of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
“It’s an intergenerational crime in the face of all the knowledge and science from over 20 years.”
The statement elicited rounds of applause.
Alexander Cockburn has felt the full fury of the moralistic crusaders, and explains what he faced.
Since I started writing essays challenging the global warming consensus, and seeking to put forward critical alternative arguments, I have felt almost witch-hunted. There has been an hysterical reaction. One individual, who was once on the board of the Sierra Club, has suggested I should be criminally prosecuted. I wrote a series of articles on climate change issues for the Nation, which elicited a level of hysterical outrage and affront that I found to be astounding - and I have a fairly thick skin, having been in the business of making unpopular arguments for many, many years.The key thing here is that environmentalists, and indeed the left generally, are secular. They don’t believe in God, and don’t like religion.
There was a shocking intensity to their self-righteous fury, as if I had transgressed a moral as well as an intellectual boundary and committed blasphemy. I sometimes think to myself, ‘Boy, I’m glad I didn’t live in the 1450s’, because I would be out in the main square with a pile of wood around my ankles. I really feel that; it is remarkable how quickly the hysterical reaction takes hold and rains down upon those who question the consensus.
This experience has given me an understanding of what it must have been like in darker periods to be accused of being a blasphemer; of the summary and unpleasant consequences that can bring. There is a witch-hunting element in climate catastrophism. That is clear in the use of the word ‘denier’ to label those who question claims about anthropogenic climate change. ‘Climate change denier’ is, of course, meant to evoke the figure of the Holocaust denier. This was contrived to demonise sceptics. The past few years show clearly how mass moral panics and intellectual panics become engendered.
But not believing in God doesn’t change the fact that people have a deep desire to feel righteous, to feel clean and redeemed and right with God -- or with something equivalent to God.
Environmentalists fulfil this need with environmentalism, and like the least tolerant religious people want to cleanse the world of unrighteousness. They want heresy stifled. They want goodness and virtue to prevail -- by force if necessary.
And they are quick to decide that force will be necessary.