Saturday, October 14, 2006

Witch Trials Ahead

I've always felt there was something missing in the global warming debate and that's the debate part. When proponents dismiss thousands of dissenting opinions and proclaim that there is a "consensus of opinion" on warming, there's something wrong.

I've always felt that the thing was a classic UN redistribution scam. Russia burns a dozen, dozen and a half natural gas fires east of the Urals 24/7. Look at a nighttime map of Russia. Yet they don't have to pay, they have to be paid - one of the world's greatest polluters. Why? no bread.

The whole thing seems to me a classic case of the return of the repressed content Freud spoke about. Having denied the consequence of action in the moral (and especially religious) sphere, it comes back into "science." Stripped of all the artificially scientific clothing, the emperor looks like this: "We've been bad and because we'ver been bad we will burn." It's the most primitive of terrors in the guise of science.

And what of the science? Can someone explain to me why different methods were used to determine relative temperatures in the centuries leading up to our day? No one has to my satisfaction and I don't need to believe something because someone else believes the sky is falling. has an excellent piece on the fascist green movement and their plans to hold "war crimes" trials over those who refuse to accept their inquisition. I'm quoting the whole thing, it's so good.

The green witch-hunters
A charming new idea from the delightfully imaginative green lobby. David Roberts in something called
Grist magazine writes:

When we've finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we're in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards -- some sort of climate Nuremberg.

Such is the contemporary progressive thinker. In an excellent article on Spiked OnLine, Brendan O'Neill rightly expresses horror and disgust at te obscene use of the phrase "climate-change denial" by the green lobby to demonise and vilify climate sceptics and thus shut down debate in totalitarian fashion:

Some take the moral equivalence between climate change denial and Holocaust denial to its logical conclusion. They argue that climate change deniers are actually complicit in a future Holocaust - the global warming Holocaust - and thus will have to be brought to trial in the future.

Green author and columnist Mark Lynas writes: "I wonder what sentences judges might hand down at future international criminal tribunals on those who will be partially but directly responsible for millions of deaths from starvation, famine and disease in decades ahead. I put [their climate change denial] in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial - except that this time the Holocaust is yet to come, and we still have time to avoid it. Those who try to ensure we don't will one day have to answer for their crimes." (11)

There is something deeply repugnant in marshalling the Holocaust in this way, both to berate climate change deniers and also as a convenient snapshot of what is to come if the planet continues to get warmer.
First, the evidence is irrefutable that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis; that is an historical event that has been thoroughly investigated, interrogated and proven beyond reasonable doubt. (Although as the American-Jewish academic and warrior against Holocaust denial, Deborah Lipstadt, has pointed out, even the Nazi Holocaust is not above debate and re-evalution; it is not a "theology".) There is no such proof or evidence (how could there be?) that global warming will cause a similar calamity. Second, it is, yet again, a cynical attempt to close down debate. The H-word is uttered as a kind of moral absolute that no one could possibly question. We are all against what happened during the first Holocaust, so we will be against the "next Holocaust", too, right? And if not - if you do not take seriously the coming "global warming Holocaust" - then you are clearly wicked, the equivalent of the David Irvings of this world, someone who should possibly even be locked up or certainly tried at a future date. At least laws against Holocaust denial (which, as a supporter of free speech, I am opposed to) chastise individuals for lying about a known and proven event; by contrast, the turning of climate change denial into a taboo raps people on the knuckles for questioning events, or alleged events, that have not even occurred yet. It is pre-emptive censorship. They are reprimanded not for lying, but for doubting, for questioning. O'Neill's article might be read in conjunction with a fascinating piece from 1999 by
Wolfgang Behringer who points out a historical conjunction between witch-hunting and irrational anxiety about the weather -- particularly during the Little Ice Age in the 15th and 16th centuries. Behringer homes in on the year 1560, when a combination of exceptional coldness and wetness led to witch-hunts against women suspected of weather-making. The strange weather conditions were thought to be not the work of God but the work of mankind:

The resumption of witch-hunting in the 1560ies was accompanied by a debate about weather-making, because this was the most important charge against suspected witches. Though witches were certainly made responsible for all kinds of bad luck, in an agrarian society weather is especially important. Crop failure caused increases in prices, malnutrition, rising infant mortality, and finally epidemics. Through sources we can observe that while individual "unnatural" accidents resulted in individual accusations of witchcraft, in case of "unnatural" weather and collective damage whole peasant communities demanded persecution. In comparison to individual accusations, which tended to lead to trials against individual suspects, collective demands for persecution - when accepted by the authorities - regularly resulted in large-scale witch-hunts (Behringer 1995). Without going into details, the fundamental interdependance of meteorologicaldisaster, crop failure, and a popular demand for witch-hunts can be demonstrated by two further examples: the largest witch-hunt of the sixteenth century, and the largest witch-hunt of the seventeenth century, which occurred between 1626-1630 and was the climax of European witchcraft persecutions. The mechanisms detected in the background of these persecutions can be applied to all large witchcraft persecutions in traditional EuropeÂ… It can be shown from many individual witch-trials that meteorological events contributed decisively to many individual suspicions and accusations, and as we know now from climatic history, these events often had super-local, super-regional, or "super-national" character. Areas of low pressure could cover large regions; the advance of arctic air could harm at least the northern part of the continent or even the northern hemisphere. What we can learn from this is that contemporary lamentation about decreasing fruitfulness of the fields, of the cattle, and even of men where far from being just rethoric devices, but rested on empirical observation (Lehmann 1986). The rising tide of demonological literature did in no way ridicule such lamentations, but was written by members of the contemporary élites like the famous French jurist Jean Bodin, the suffragan bishop of Treves Peter Binsfeld, the chief public prosecutor of Lorraine Nicolas Rémy, or the King of Scotland James VI. who was about to become James I. of England. They all shared the idea that witches could be responsible for the weather theologically based on the theory that on the basis of the evil compact, the devil could exercise his wishes (Clark 1996). According to the status of scientific theory, however, these demonologists did not draw their theories from dogma, but from experience.

Sound familiar?

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