“It is not so curious that in the wake of the Danish cartoon conflict, during which the American press and news media revealed their tepid commitment to freedom of speech and the inviolacy of the First Amendment, incidents of assaults on that freedom would not only multiply, but assume odd but no less ominous forms.”
That was how I opened a commentary on the corruptive power of politically correct speech in “Moving Towards Freedomless Speech” on this site in May 2006. I further remarked:
“To return to thought control: The ‘control’ that enforces ‘orthodoxy’ in speech by individuals is simply fear of retribution, reprisal, or financial and personal ruin. To work, thought or speech control relies exclusively on self-censorship. The instances of operable thought control are as ubiquitous and innocuous in our culture as countless drops of water falling on one’s forehead in a Chinese torture.”
“On a fundamental cultural level, it is no coincidence that the introduction and gradual acceptance of the concept of ‘hate crimes’ paralleled the stealthy and de facto imposition of politically correct speech. Politically correct speech, in turn, has established the grounds for punishable ‘tactless language.’”
Politically correct speech, we are seeing, inevitably leads to politically correct thought, if the speech is not flouted, opposed, or corrected. Who can enforce that epistemology-wrecking and metaphysics-warping nomenclature? Who can enforce mental blank-outs?
Inevitably, government force. But our federal and state governments have not yet imposed censorship. They are evading that damning label – the term still carries an onus of tyranny that its advocates avoid like primitive savages, even though it is tyranny they wish to impose – by stealthily coming in through the backdoors of speech codes, vocabularies of “sensitivity,” campaign finance laws, and the like. No, they are allowing the gauleiters of correct speech to lay the groundwork for censorship in numerous fields of thought and action.
The latest casualties in freedom of thought and speech in the name of orthodoxy may be science and scientists. The Daily Telegraph (London) of March 12th featured this disturbing article, under the headline, “Scientists threatened for ‘climate denial’”:
“Scientists who questioned mankind’s impact on climate change have received death threats and claim to have been shunned by the scientific community.
“They say the debate on global warming has been ‘hijacked’ by a powerful alliance of politicians, scientists and environmentalists who have stifled all questioning about the true environmental impact of carbon dioxide emissions.
“Timothy Ball, a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Canada, has received five death threats by email since raising concerns about the degree to which man was affecting climate change. One of the emails warned that, if he continued to speak out, he would not live to see further global warming.”
What is the next step after threats to enforce goodthink in a semi-free society? Outright force, as we witnessed when homicidal anti-abortionists took shots at doctors, terrorized women seeking abortions, and firebombed abortion clinics.
“Last week,” the Daily Telegraph article continued, “Professor Ball appeared in The Great Global Warming Swindle…a documentary in which several scientists claimed the theory of man-made global warming had become a ‘religion,’ forcing alternative explanations to be ignored.”
Yes, environmentalism is a religion, although it didn’t just recently become one. It has been a religion – a system of reason-proof intrinsic values that places nature far above man’s survival – ever since the first savages sacrificed one of their own to placate the mysterious moods of gods. Reality, facts, evidence, and proofs have never stood in the way of faith in the incomprehensible.
“Richard Lindzen, the professor of Atmospheric Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology – who also appeared on the documentary – recently claimed: ‘Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves labeled as industry stooges. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of science.’”
Another scientist on the program stated, “The Green movement has hijacked the issue of climate change. It is ludicrous to suggest the only way to deal with the problem is to start micro-managing everyone, which is what environmentalists seem to want to do.”
Premise check here: Climate change, or global warming, is not a “problem.” And that scientist errs in another premise, that environmentalists wish to micro-manage everyone (as totalitarians are wont to do), presumably for their own good and the good of the earth. If he examined the Green movement as closely as he might data from a sample ice core from the Arctic or Antarctic, he would conclude that environmentalists wish to micro-manage man out of existence – first with solar and wind power, then with ethanol, then with florescent light bulbs, and God knows what other “energy-conserving,” “environment friendly” doodads and scams someone or some group might foist on a defenseless public.
What the environmentalists do not wish to hear – nor wish anyone else to hear – are some of the conclusions and observations of the scientists who appeared on the Great Global Warming Swindle program: that if there is warming, it is caused by sunspot activity, which drives up CO2 levels, which may or may not mean anything; that the environmental movement is driven by politics; and that scientists who question or deny the “truth” that man is causing the rise of CO2 levels find their names appended to international reports that endorse the man-made global warming mantra. That is consistent with the style of environmentalists: threats of force, preceded by fraud and forgery.
What about those polar bears clinging to melting icebergs as they drift into the ocean (and often landing in Iceland, where they are shot)? Another Daily Telegraph article from March 9th, “Polar bears ‘thriving as the Arctic warms up’,” among other things reports a rise in the polar bear population.
“Polar bear experts said that numbers had increased not because of climate change but due to the efforts of conservationists. The battle to ban the hunting of Harp seal pups has meant the seal population has soared – boosting the bears’ food supply. At the same time, fewer seal hunters are around to hunt bears.”
But those poor bears, hanging ten on shrinking ice cubes! Said one professor from the University of Alberta about “a celebrated photograph of a bear and its cub floating on a tiny iceberg, the animals often travel in that way. ‘Bears will often hang out on glacier ice or large pieces of multi-year ice.’”
Last week a biologist on a San Francisco radio program raised the point that since polar bears are a species closely related to grizzly bears, both species carnivores, they have no problem hunting on land and finding food that way.
“Tina Cummings, a biologist attached to the Alaskan government, questioned whether they needed sea ice to survive, saying they could adapt to hunt on land and find alternative food sources to seals.”
So, it isn’t just Muslims who object to freedom of speech and the “inconvenient” truths about Islam such freedom might reveal. The fire and brimstone faithful of another religion, environmentalism, also wish to squelch anyone who questions the soundness or truthfulness of their “science” of global warming and man’s contribution to it.
“Slay them wherever you find them,” orders the Koran about infidels and unbelievers. “Call them names, accuse them of denial, of trafficking with the capitalist Satan, of using tactless or insensitive language, shun them,” order the environmentalist gurus. And if the unbelievers won’t shut up, threaten them with death.
When men begin to resort to death threats and ad hominem arguments as means of persuasion, then one should know immediately that a fraud is being perpetrated and that the facts of reality are not on their side. To submit to such persuasion is to submit to thought control, which can “work” only if one vanquishes one’s own mind. A mind cannot be forced, said Ayn Rand’s John Galt; it can only abdicate.
Other articles by Edward Cline on censorship:
“Here Comes a Chopper to Chop Off Your Head: Freedom of Expression vs. Censorship in America” Essay: The Journal of Information Ethics (St. Cloud State University, MN/ McFarland & Co., Publishers, Jefferson, NC), Fall 1995
“The Ghouls of Grammatical Egalitarianism” a review of Guidelines for Bias-Free Writing, ed. Marilyn Schwartz and the Task Force on Bias-Free Language, The Social Critic, November/ December 1996
“Censorship” Entry: The Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, ed. Allen Kent, Marcel Dekker, New York, Vols. 62 (1998) and 70 (2002)
“Moving Towards Freedomless Speech” The Rule of Reason, 18 May 2006