Category Archives: Environment

Steyn: Celebrate Conformity!

[Ed. note: After reading Mark's essay, click on the title below
and buy a few things from his website. Your purchase will aid Mark in his defense against the lawfare of Michael Mann and the Climate Cabal. This is a most important legal fight, and the forces of darkness (literally) are well funded. Help give free expression a leg up.]

Celebrate Conformity!
by Mark Steyn  •  Apr 4, 2014 at 10:58 am

Mozilla’s chairman unveils the company’s exciting new plug-in

On Wednesday, I wrote about the Mozilla CEO in trouble for a five-year-old donation to Proposition Eight, the successful California ballot measure that banned gay marriage – if only until America’s robed rulers declared the will of the people to be “unconstitutional”. Brandon Eich is a tech genius: Aside from co-founding Mozilla and creating Firefox, he also invented JavaScript. Apparently, the disgusting homophobic hatey-hatey-hateful belief that marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman is not incompatible with knowing your way around a computer.

Nevertheless, unlike Hollywood director Brett Ratner, Mr Eich declined to eat gay crow. And so yesterday he was fired. Mozilla’s chairwoman Mitchell Baker issued the usual tortured justification:

“Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech,” Baker said. “And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.”

I heard a lot of this stuff during my free-speech battles in Canada. The country’s chief censor, the late Jennifer Lynch, QC, was willing to concede that free speech was certainly a right, but it was merely one in a whole range of competing rights – such as “equality” and “diversity” – that needed to be “balanced”. What the “balancing” boils down to is that you get fired if you are an apostate from the new progressive groupthink. Underneath the agonized prose, Mitchell Baker is a bare-knuckled thug.

~It’s the thuggishness and bullying that ought to disgust people, even those who support gay marriage. My final appearances at National Review Online were a spat with my editor, Jason Lee Steorts, over “two jokes one can no longer tell on American television” that I quoted in a column on Phil Robertson’s suspension for “homophobia”. First, Bob Hope, touring the world in the year or so after the passage of the 1975 Consenting Adult Sex Bill:

“I’ve just flown in from California, where they’ve made homosexuality legal. I thought I’d get out before they make it compulsory.”

Second, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on stage in Vegas throughout the Sixties and Seventies:

Frank: “How do you make a fruit cordial?”

Dino: “Be nice to him.”

Mr Steorts thought my resurrection of these ancient “slurs” was “derogatory” and “puerile”:

People who used them in different times need not be regarded as monstrous, nor must the canon be censored; we could instead feel good about having awoken to a greater civility and make generous allowances for human fallibility.

Yeah, just like Brandon Eich “awoke to a greater civility” yesterday morning. What Mr Steorts especially disliked about my column was “the slur in its borrowed concluding joke”. Which was:

How do you make a fruit cordial?

Be nice to him.

Or else.

But isn’t that what’s just happened to the Mozilla guy? Nobody’s asking him to have a genuine conversion. The gay enforcers don’t care if, somewhere deep down in his heart he still believes marriage is the union of a man and a woman; all that matters is that he’s not allowed to say so in public. Billions of people around the world believe as Mr Eich does, and they shouldn’t be allowed to say so in public, either – not if they want to keep their jobs. I’m currently trying to fund my own free-speech battles at the DC Superior Court through sales of my book Lights Out, personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available through the Steyn store – if you like the squaresville hardback edition, that is; but, if you’re part of the Mozilla set, you can also get it on Kindle, Nook and Kobo, at least until those outlets ban on it on the grounds of “respect” and “inclusion” and “balancing” free speech with “equality”. On page 181 of Lights Out, I write:

Most Christian opponents of gay marriage oppose gay marriage; they don’t oppose the right of gays to advocate it. But increasingly gays oppose the right of Christians even to argue their corner. Gay activists have figured that, instead of trying to persuade people to change their opinions, it’s easier just to get them banned.

Those words are not as old as Frank and Dean’s gag, but sad to say they’re likewise prescient. And that’s why, pace Mitchell Baker, what happened to Brandon Eich is not an “equality” issue but a free-speech issue.

~Ed Driscoll wonders, if you dump Mozilla’s Firefox browser, where do you go? Over at Free Canuckistan, the Binksmeister has a few suggestions.

~By the way, let’s not forget how all this targeting of “homophobic” contributions started. The IRS leaked “traditional marriage” donor lists to the gay enforcers at the “Human Rights Campaign”. America has a corrupt government – so corrupt that many Americans now think it entirely normal for the state tax collector to target the regime’s political enemies. I don’t, and for the last year I’ve called for the abolition of the institutionally corrupt IRS and its replacement by an agency with far more limited powers appropriate to a free society. Surprisingly few Republican candidates seem interested in joining that campaign. But the IRS’ wholesale corruption is a free-speech issue, too: it’s about using state power – the threat of audits and, ultimately, asset confiscation – to get you to shut up. And the alliance between the IRS and the gay enforcers is a foretaste of where things are headed. If your confidential financial information can be leaked to those who want to take you down, why should your medical information or your vote by “secret ballot” be any more secure?

~Meanwhile, serial litigant Michael E Mann takes time out of preparing for the forthcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century to ReTweet the following:

Remove David #Koch from the Board of Trustees at @wgbhhttp://dld.bz/dhE9c

Michael Mann isn’t really a scientist. Oh, yes, I’m sure he still dabbles in it now and then just to keep his hand in. But the bulk of his energies are devoted to getting people who disagree with him fired, banned or silenced. Real Nobel Prize winners (as opposed to fraudulent self-garlanded ones) don’t do that. But every day Dr Mann is demanding that someone be shut up.

~I don’t want to live in the world of “greater civility” that Michael Mann and Mitchell Baker are building for us. Oh, to be sure, it’s technologically exciting: There will be a thousand different apps on which to download Jessica Alba warning you about Antarctic sea ice. But there’ll be only one Thought App. And it will come pre-installed.

And eventually there won’t be any Jessica Alba apps, either. Because a society that imprisons opinion as tightly as Mann and Baker demand is a society that will cease to innovate, and decline.

© 2014 Mark Steyn Enterprises (US) Inc

Gallery

Ball: Why and How the IPCC Demonized CO2 with Manufactured Information

Why and How the IPCC Demonized CO2 with Manufactured Information by Dr. Tim Ball, November 13, 2013. (Crossposted from WUWT) Elaine Dewar spent several days with Maurice Strong at the UN and concluded in her book The Cloak of Green that, … Continue reading

Gallery

WUWT: A Big Picture Look at Earth’s Temperature

Editor’s Note: The following post is crossposted from Watts Up With That, and is available on WUWT at the link in the title below (note: WUWT has not verified the data contained within, and therefore does not specifically endorse or … Continue reading

Ground Control to Major Tom…er Cmdr Chris…

At the conclusion of his stint as commander of the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield signs off with a slick and fitting send-off prior to taking the somewhat hazardous return trip in the Soyuz capsule. Hadfield made a point in this tour of bringing the ISS mission to folks on the ground through link-ups and sing-a-longs with schools, video and photo presentations, and the general esprit de corps that says science, even space science, doesn’t have be all technical and devoid of humanity. The video is, of course, a slightly updated(!) cover of David Bowie’s well-known Space Oddity.

Gallery

Tracinski: The End of an Illusion

The End of an Illusion By Robert Tracinski, April 4, 2013, RealClear Politics Many years ago, I remember thinking that it would take many years to refute the panicked claims about global warming. Unlike most political movements, which content themselves … Continue reading

Gallery

McKittrick: We’re not screwed?

We’re Not Screwed? by Ross McKittrick, Financial Post, April 1, 2013 11,000-year study’s 20th-century claim is groundless We’re screwed: 11,000 years’ worth of ­climate data prove it. — The Atlantic, March 10 The modern rise that has recreated the temperatures … Continue reading

Gallery

WUWT: A Big Picture Look At “Earth’s Temperature” – “Extreme Weather

[Ed. Note 1: Cross posted from WUWT. This is a large, valuable, albeit semi-technical, discussion about the validity of the Global Warming meme so righteously (and religiously) promoted by mainstream media, and a variety of catastrophic climate scientists advocates and … Continue reading

Gallery

Shaw: Hurricane Warning: McKibben Alert

Hurricane Warning; McKibben Alert By Caleb Shaw August 21, 2012  (Reprinted courtesy WUWT). Forward by Anthony Watts: With Joe Bastardi stating an opening for an east coast hurricane is possible the next three weeks, it might be timely to submit this … Continue reading

Dyer: Govfall: Or, tell me again why federal courts are ruling on the validity of scientific theories?

Govfall: Or, tell me again why federal courts are ruling on the validity of scientific theories?

by J.E. Dyer, June 28, 2012, Hot Air

We in the US appear to be very close to becoming a theocracy.  The religion in question is not Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, nor is it even environmentalism.  It’s “government infallibilism,” or, as I like to call it, Govfall.  The central tenet of this religion is that government is competent to decide or rule on anything – anything at all, regardless of evidence or lack of it, knowledge or paucity of it, or understanding or dearth of it.

The branch of the US government that represents the proper use of Govfall’s main religious tenet isn’t always the same one (which, frankly, ought to be a clue for believers).  The judicial branch has been, as it were, on the throne of judgment for a number of decades, but Americans have also suffered a few presidents to seat themselves on it, like FDR and Obama.  (Contemporary accounts of FDR’s arbitrary morning decisions on what relationship the dollar should have with gold are a sort of emblem of that political theocrat’s brand of Govfall.)  Congress, which actually represents the people in their hamlets and villages, is rarely the infallible theocrat, but it has had its moments as well (and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi has certainly had a habit of speaking in a sort of goofy ex cathedra style).

The fundamental question is why we have come to accept this idea that government can and should rule on unproven theories about global cause and effect, and proceed to govern as if their propositions are “true.”  Setting aside the questionable nature of some theories, why should government take on this role?  Why should anyone?  What is it we think we know or need to accomplish, that we have agreed to submit our futures to this concept of Govfall?

The matter at hand is the D.C. court of appeals ruling on the EPA’s authority to kill economic activity in the name of global warmism.  The ruling describes the EPA’s opinion on global warming and greenhouse gases as “unambiguously correct” – which is a deeply silly formulation for characterizing any scientific theory, but would also have been considered, by our Founders and virtually all federal jurists up until the last 20-30 years, as comprehensively invalid language for any kind of judicial ruling.  Judges aren’t competent to make decisions for the public on this matter.  Their competence is in interpreting the law, not certifying scientific conclusions.

There is a difference, of course, between demonstrated harm and theoretical, yet-to-be-realized harm.  When trash piles up and emits gases into a local area, that can be detected and documented (although rarely “unambiguously,” which is a prohibitively humongous claim in the skeptical realm of science).  When toxic substances are detected in dead fish or decrepit urban trees – substances that actually kill forms of life, not just substances that advocacy groups don’t like – that too is often more certifiable than not, if not necessarily “unambiguous.”  The tradition of empirical, non-religious-based law has some remedies for demonstrated harm: property owners can sue polluters when the pollution, whatever it is, damages or impinges on the full rightful use of their property; legislatures can make laws prohibiting (or managing, as with fees and clean-up requirements) certain defined types of polluting activity.

But when there is no demonstrated harm, but only unproven theories about very generalized, potential, worldwide harm in the future, it is a central question why government, through any of its branches, should be doing anything about it.  This question gets at very basic things:  what we expect of our life in the world, and what we expect of government.

Do we expect human life in the world to need constant supervision from a central authority in order to ward off cataclysm?  Is our view of life pessimistic and fearful in this way?  Do we believe that we are an incontinent, destructive species, as unaware as infants of the damage we do?  Is there an unspecified cosmologic “judgment” hanging over us that we have to organize to avert?  Are we effectively insentient organisms in a system with predetermined processes and outcomes, operating in a universe of deadly limits and shortages?

As for government, do we agree that its job is to enforce on everyone a particular attitude about these matters?  We can’t agree among ourselves, from state to state or town to town, whether very present and material things like prostitution or abortion-on-demand should be legal, but we expect the central government to rule on an inchoate vision of what might happen in the future, however unlikely it may be, and then constrain everyone’s options – for just about everything – based on that ruling.

Why does there need to be an entity with the authority to do that?  We didn’t start our life as a nation with the idea that government should have that authority.  A state government, by its limited geographic nature, cannot effectively exercise such an authority, and our national idea is actually that the central government must not.  Our national idea is limited government and liberty of thought, conscience, and economic endeavor.

If we cannot behave, in our economic lives, as if we think catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is a much-falsified theory waiting for some solid proof, then we are not effectively free to think it.  We are constrained to behave as if we don’t.  That situation differs only by the jackbooted thugs at the door from the lifestyle of people under communist rule, in which you’re free to “think” whatever you want, as long as you say and do only government-approved things, and never speak about or live by your own beliefs.

Sometime in the last century, the weight of sentiment among those who aspire to government jobs, in any role in any of the branches, tilted toward the religion of Govfall.  It has become unendurable to them to think of the people out here doing things they disapprove of, and they have diligently enlarged the purview of government to encompass ruling on ideas and theories – always invoking the supposed disasters and wrongs that government power is either averting or redressing.

In the oft-invoked Galileo v. Pope analogy, today’s Govfall faithful, however much they may want to see themselves as Galileo, are actually “the Pope” (or, technically, the Roman Inquisition).  The Govfall believers are the people insisting on a single, cosmological orthodoxy, in spite of the continued lack of evidence for it and the strong arguments against it.  In the matter of global warmism, their orthodoxy is throwing into informative relief not only their religious attitude about man and the natural world, but the dangers of the religion of Govfall in general.

Just as the papacy could not be infallible on the matter of the earth’s and sun’s places in the solar system, so modern government cannot be infallible on whether the globe is headed for a man-made natural cataclysm.  No human organization can be infallible on something like that.  Being “the government” doesn’t confer special powers of insight or prophecy; it just hands a gun and a badge (or a black robe) to a bunch of ordinary people no smarter than the rest of us.  That’s why our Founders wanted government to be limited and constitutionally restrained: because nothing good comes from expecting too much of the government, or giving it too much to do.

The end result for Galileo and the Pope was that Galileo’s theory became the accepted one, and the papacy eventually changed its policy on inquiring into, or taking sides on, scientific questions.  The Catholic Church was undergoing the “Counter Reformation” throughout the precise period when Galileo lived and wrote, and ultimately, one of that reformation’s chief casualties was the idea of putting the imprimatur of the Holy Church on the material conclusions of politics or science.  Galileo’s personal story had an impact on that, but the change in attitude came at least as much from the Protestant Reformation, the Church’s recognition of internal corruption, the successful revolt of England’s Henry VIII against Rome, and the political turmoil on the continent from the Protestant-Catholic rift.

I see an analogy to these events in the religions of Govfall and global warmism.  Govfall, a cult of central, infallible authority, is the basic problem, and it is the thing that will have to change.  Warmism may well be a focused, singular precipitating factor – one that will be especially memorable in the centuries to come – but there are a number of others that highlight the sclerosis and unsustainability of Govfall.  What history tells us is that a political religion like Govfall is unsustainable.  In one way or another, the people, over time, decide against it.

The American people are waking up to the absurdity of a federal appeals court proclaiming that warmist theory is “unambiguously correct.”  The Govfall religion sits wrong with us, and the evidence of its pervasiveness is piling up.  In the end, it will not be Govfall that triumphs.  The ruling public idea of government will change, in favor of the wisdom of our Founders – and Govfall will fall.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, The Weekly Standard online, and her own blog, The Optimistic Conservative.

The 2012 Hurricane Season Gets Underway: Tropical Storm Beryl

Everybody was caught a bit by surprise by the early start of the hurricane and tropical storm season this year. Four named storms have occurred so far, two in the eastern Pacific and two in the western Atlantic. Tropical Storm Beryl is currently pounding down on the southeast US coast around Jacksonville, Florida:

Click on the near real-time radar scan to go to the EWR Atlantic hurricane page for more information on Beryl and access to other advisories.