Do we call them Nazis or not?
An Oxbridge don, after staggering out of a faculty meeting that had dragged on for hours, was heard to remark that how a predominantly male society could produce so many old women, was totally beyond him. What I think he was referring to was the more than usual amount of bitchiness one finds prevalent in academia, even between theology departments.
In a way it’s understandable because there are always contending ideas which have their own sets of passionate supporters. Academics are somewhat like warring fans of different football teams, except they wear beige cardigans and casual shoes rather than bomber jackets and bovver boots. Where it gets spiteful and nasty, is in personal attacks against the people who hold a certain position by people who prefer another explanation.
It’s not always a bad thing to debate a theory vigorously, as it does tend to lead to the occasional paradigm change in a field. Darwin’s ideas gained widespread support with the help of some powerful outspoken advocates like Thomas Huxley in the nineteenth century and in more recent times the theory of plate tectonics went from being an orphan beyond the pale to becoming textbook orthodoxy these days.
More importantly for the health of science as a whole, free debate also exposes fashionable but junk science for what it is, as it did in the end with Eugenics and Lysenkoism, and I think perhaps that’s why real debate about climate science is avoided at all costs by its advocates.
The undeniable politicisation of climate science has exacerbated the bitchiness tendency by orders of magnitude, with vitriolic personal attacks being mounted by advocacy elements well outside the relevant scientific disciplines on what few dissenters remain. All in all, it’s a tough field to express or maintain a minority view which does not rigidly reflect establishment thinking. When you consider the vileness and strength of abuse levelled at people not even in academia, you can imagine how much more difficult it must be to work inside it on a daily basis.
More than one dissenting professor has been forced out of tenure and in a particularly shameful episode, the three postgraduate children of another were threatened with expulsion from their doctorate courses. The sins of the father were going to be visited on the children. Incidentally, that official policy was called Sippenhaft or kin liability in Nazi Germany. It resulted in the murder of thousands of innocent Germans; men, women and children. It’s still alive and well in places like North Korea.
Both Jo Nova and Anthony Watts have written articles on Dr Spencer’s decision to refer to the extremists as climate Nazis and a subsequent attack on him by a climate activist working for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). What’s pertinent for this piece is the list of quotes contained in both those articles.
When you consider they were opinions being expressed not by the obvious street thugs pictured above, but by supposedly mature, educated and establishment figures, they were extreme, repulsive and violent. Read them but mentally substitute “Jew” for “Denier” and they would fit unchanged into a Joseph Goebbel’s hate speech to a rally of the party faithful.
Given that thumbnail sketch of the hostile environment a dissenting voice in climate academia has to endure for years, Dr. Spencer has in my opinion more than earned the right to call them in return anything he damn well pleases.
Do I think they’re Nazis?
Yes, I nailed my colours to that particular mast a long time ago, most recently in the final part of the “know your enemy” series which you can find here. They attempt to hide behind Godwin’s so-called law, but if they want to tattoo labels on people like Nazis, turn up with burning torches outside people’s homes in the dead of night like Nazis, witch hunt through academia for opposition like Nazis and dehumanise all resistance like Nazis, then that’s what they are – Nazis. I see them with clear eyes for exactly what they are and make no apologies for that judgement. It’s they who should hang their heads in shame.
So yes, I consider them to be Nazis but the true battle we’re engaged in is not against the extremists but for the middle ground, or in other words the opinion of ordinary person. By making such statements, the extremists are shunting themselves towards the irrelevant margin of the only battleground that really matters. They have no limits and are totally at ease expressing the repugnant sentiments quoted in Jo and Anthony’s articles. Views like that alienate any reasonable person but at the same time we have to exploit those mistakes to show them up for what they actually are; dangerous anti-democratic fanatics.
I’m only too aware how difficult maintaining a reasonable voice in the face of provocation can be, but then again, it’s partially meant to make you lose your cool anyway. Don’t. In the eyes of the ordinary onlooker, we’ll always come out so much better in contrast to their abominable hate speak.
For that reason, I try to avoid such invective, preferring instead to use terms like alarmist or eco-fascist as appropriate but I know I’m splitting terminological hairs. However, the disciple I keep in mind is that anything I produce is for consumption by the ordinary person, not an equally raving response addressed directly to various raving fanatics. The first draft of so many things I write has to be taken down a few pegs on the anger scale, and that usually involves finding less abrasive synonyms for words a lot stronger than Nazi.
Roy Spencer, like a handful of other people besieged inside climate science, is a person I deeply admire. I do so because they like Mr FOIA have moral courage and that’s a lonely road to walk when you’re forever going up against all the big battalions. It would be so much easier for them, their careers and no doubt their families if they just shut up, gave up or submitted to the relentless intimidation. They don’t, they hang on in year after year and they take a lot of elective bullets for that integrity.
They are our true heroes.
History will be kind to them and it’ll be at the expense of their detractors, to adapt a very fitting quote. That day is not as far away as people might think.
As global warming and its anti-human policies continue to move into the dustbin of history, its proponents will out of frustration increasingly turn to the language of the crypto-Nazi demagogue and the lynch mob but my thinking is to allow that to remain their liability, and our opportunity to be exploited as it occurs. Put on your hazmat suits ladies and gentlemen of a skeptic persuasion, because I have to tell you it’s going to get a lot dirtier before it gets better.
As for the ADL, shame on you, shame on you. Of all people, you should know better. Take another hard look at those vicious quotes. If the true believers ever had their way, there would be another shoah, but this time around against us skeptics. What would your descendants saying kaddish for those Jews amongst our number be worth then?
Shame on you.
Related articles by Pointman: