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« Sticking one's neck out | Main | Quote of the day, El Nino edition »

The inner Duce

My review of Liberal Fascism the other day provoked a very long comments thread and lots of strong views. I was therefore interested to see this article by Joel Kotkin - a Democrat, albeit a conservative one.

Today climate change has become the killer app for expanding state control, for example, helping Jerry Brown find his inner Duce. But the authoritarian urge is hardly limited to climate-related issues. It can be seen on college campuses, where uniformity of belief is increasingly mandated. In Europe, the other democratic bastion, the continental bureaucracy now controls ever more of daily life on the continent. You don’t want thousands of Syrian refugees in your town, but the EU knows better. You will take them and like it, or be labeled a racist.

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Reader Comments (111)


I find this a strange question:

"Finally, I invite Chambers & Keyes to explain how if so eloquent a guy as Dick Lindzen ( whom I've known personally since 1984) is right, and the several hundred other climate scientists in the NAS and at MIT ,are wrong, he has so completely failed to persuade them?"

Zerothly, because my name is Brad, not Keyes.

Firstly, because I don't doubt Lindzen ['s hypothesis] is wrong. I have no idea what hypothesis we're talking about, but then, any given hypothesis in science is almost certainly wrong. Exquisite falsifiability and all.

Secondly, because Lindzen strikes me as having better things to do with his time than "persuade them." Since when was science a rhetorical endeavour?

(Oh, right.... I'm getting climate science and science confused again!)

Thirdly, because I understand you're a scientist. So I would've expected something less inane than the argument from mass incredulity.

Since you asked the question though, I do like stan's comeback:

-- 'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.' -- Upton Sinclair

Ultimately however: who knows or cares? It's a question of group psychology, and it's not one I'm really inclined, able or obliged to answer.

What did Oreskes say about you, and where? I'll assume it was unjustified. (I managed to suffer through MOD, but the only Seitz I remember being slandered therein is Frederick.)


PS Dear all: can someone fill me in on the "vvussell" joke? Unless it's a particularly clever one, is it really sufficient grounds for misspelling a person's name?

(As someone who's admittedly not in on the gag, I can't help thinking it'd make "us" look better if we left that kind of thing to "them".)

Jan 8, 2016 at 4:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

Life is too short to turn on spellcheck.

Jan 8, 2016 at 4:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterrussell



Jan 8, 2016 at 5:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand


understood now. thanks.

Jan 8, 2016 at 5:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

I've had quite a few conversations with scientists over the years who have published climate propaganda:

1. None have ever read anything written by Lindzen. They just defer to the large consensus who apparently disagree with him - just as Russel did. When asked what Lindzen has supposedly got wrong, they may eventually come up with the Iris effect despite that never having been rebutted. Arguments about positive feedback - or lack of it - just wash over them as if they never knew it existed in the first place.
2. Most never seem to know anything outside their own field of endeavour and hence refuse to answer questions about things don't really understand; ie almost everything. When you ask why they wrote about something they now freely admit they know nothing about they say they are only repeating what a respected colleague had said to them. Yet when you ask their colleague for clarification you find that they had been misunderstood, selectively quoted or not even consulted at all.
3. When you ask a pertinent question in their own field (so they can't really refuse to answer) they :
a) make something up and hope you don't realise it; eg "CO2 ended the last ice age".
b) bluster when you quote literature that disagrees with what they just made up. eg "ok CO2 is not the main cause but it is very likely part of the cause".,
c) squirm about why they only believe the one set of data that supports their worldview and ignore the other 4 sets that don't,
d) find a reason not to answer anything else.

I've also discussed climate policy with paid climate policy 'experts' and mostly they agree with everything I say about unreliable renewables, unrealistic future scenarios, unrepresentative costing and imminent energy shortages but they say the government just doesn't listen to such things and anyway there is a binding legal requirement for CO2 emissions reduction. Quite how the government is supposed to fine itself when it inevitably falls foul of this law is not a question that is ever explored.

All in all I fear it is our education system letting us down. There are very few polyglots so everyone, despite finding massive holes in the hypothesis in their own narrow field, nevertheless supports the 'consensus' position because....well because all of their peers believe it and anyway it's immoral not to. The trouble is that everyone is doing the same mental massage, demonstrating just how groupthink creates a consensus. The idea that in reality more harm than good is being done is not a question that ever enters their minds because it's something that only a fossil-fuel funded 'denier' would say.

Jan 8, 2016 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I meant polymaths of course.

Jan 8, 2016 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG


Hmm. Well, the prerequisite language competence for a cli sci to work in the public eye seems to be conversational English plus native-level gibberish.


If only. You're lucky to find a scientist with 2 math degrees, let alone several.

Jan 8, 2016 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrad Keyes

Putting this in the fanatasy context of a worldwide torie movement, when tories have become little more than conservative lite is hardly inspiring. Speaking of incompetents, would not a little more light on those driving the discussion, the apocalyptic climate kooks, be in order? Low hanging fruit and all that. Certainly the litany of failed predictions, the literally tens of billions wasted, the calls for climate Nuremberg, the self dealing, the rent seeking pal reviewed studies would be of some interest if described by a sharp member of the Academy?
A small fraction of the wit and venom you so generously spend on skeptics might have some benefit if spent on the true believers.

Jan 8, 2016 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Low hanging fruit, Hunter?

Eat your fill:

Jan 8, 2016 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterrussell

You could have sided with Lindzen and Dyson and intellectual integrity. Instead you chose to team with the likes of Mann, Ehrlich and Schneider.
Enjoy the company you selected.

Jan 10, 2016 at 7:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

And by the way, rationalization of silencing those proles and other unwashed because they disagree with a majority of your pals over claims about the weather and the fine sciencey distinctions between weather and climate is compatible with the advancement of what, exactly?
By the way, add Prof. Oreskes to that list of those you have thrown in with and consider the implications of that.

Jan 11, 2016 at 4:14 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

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