Bill McKibben, who leads the anti-carbon group 350.org and has been described by The Boston Globe as "probably the nation's leading environmentalist", seems a bit of a humorless plonker even by the standards of global warm-mongers. But I had to read this piece twice just to make sure it wasn't one of those leaden April Fool's jests the author can't quite pull off. But apparently McKibben means it. Irked by the failure of the world to act on yesterday's IPCC report, he writes:
They've said it with graphs, they've said it with tables. They've offered color-coded guides to future decades. They've told us about basic science and, when that didn't work, they've tried to explain it in terms anyone could understand... They've done their job. (And they've done it for free – working on these endless IPCC reports is a volunteer job). They've warned us, amply. The scientific method, with researchers working hard to disprove each others' hypotheses, has worked. It's yielded a concise answer to a difficult problem in chemistry and physics. When you pour carbon into the air, the planet heats up and then all hell breaks loose. That's basically what you need to know...
So at this point it's absurd to keep asking the scientific community to churn out more reports. In fact, it might almost be more useful if they went on strike: until you pay attention to what we've already told you, we won't be telling you more.
Really? Hey, here's your tree-ring and what's your hurry? Don't let the melting ice-cap hit you in the ass on the way out.
Alas, Bill McKibben may be ready to flounce off in a big queeny huff, but the rest of the Big Climate enforcers are still hanging around, eager to take the tire-iron to Roger Pielke Jr or anybody else who gets out of line. The contempt for freedom of expression from those who (as McKibben's whinge implicitly concedes) can't win the debate grows ever more brazen.
Which brings us, inevitably, to serial litigant Michael E Mann. The story so far: He sued me, so I countersued him. So he filed a Motion to Dismiss my Counterclaims with Prejudice. Insulted by my anti-SLAPP motion against him, he filed an anti-SLAPP motion against my anti-SLAPP motion. Considering Dr Mann has five $800-an-hour attorneys on the payroll, it struck me as pretty thinly argued. You'd almost get the impression they figured that, as defendants go, I was a bit of a joke, and they could slough off any old response and take an early lunch. So they were largely reduced to arguing that Mann was entitled to attorneys' fees because I'd insulted the previous judge. Presumably, if I insult the Court janitor, Mann gets exemplary damages.
Be that as it may, I've now filed my response to his motion to dismiss my counterclaims. You can read the whole thing here, but here's a few excerpts:
Defendant Mark Steyn's counterclaims aim to make plaintiff Michael Mann accountable for his abuse of the judicial process. They are designed to protect one of the highest values in our society: freedom of expression, for Steyn and for all of us. These counterclaims seek to defend the jewel in the crown of our civil liberties... If successful, they will make plaintiff liable for his serial efforts to stifle and avoid criticism of his work on a highly controversial issue of intense public interest...
Indeed. Here's the summary of all three of my counterclaims:
Steyn's counterclaims are simple and straightforward, vindicate important public interests, and have a common thread. All grow out of plaintiff's use of this lawsuit and others to silence criticism of plaintiff himself.
To take them in order:
1. Steyn's first counterclaim is an implied right of action under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP law. Steyn is a member of the class the statute was meant to benefit, there is no indication that the statute was not meant to create such a right of action, and a remedy for Steyn is consistent with the purposes and public policy considerations underpinning the statute.
2. Steyn's second counterclaim, for constitutional tort, is appropriate because Mann's lawsuit infringing on Steyn's First Amendment rights qualifies as state action under the Fourteenth Amendment, and the lawsuit by its very existence creates a chilling effect on free speech.
3. Steyn's third counterclaim, for abusive litigation, is an appropriate use of the common law to remedy tortious use of the court system. It does not impinge on Mann's right of access, which Mann's abusive conduct has rendered unprotected.
As for Mann dressing himself up in anti-SLAPP garb, don't make me laugh:
His misguided attempt to invoke the Anti-SLAPP law's provisions to discourage Steyn's counterclaims would defeat the very purpose of that law. That is so because Steyn's counterclaims - unlike Mann's lawsuit - do not seek to interfere with a right of advocacy...
Mann's attempt to enlist the Anti-SLAPP law as a weapon to silence Steyn's criticisms is perverse. It is contrary to the fundamental salutary purpose of that statute... Mann apparently believes Steyn should be penalized not only for having the temerity to challenge Mann's views on this vital public interest issue, but also for standing up for his right to do so...
Steyn, on the other hand, does nothing to silence Mann, chill his speech, or prevent him from criticizing Steyn if he chooses.
Oh, and for good measure we quote the First Lady of the United States speaking recently in Beijing:
"When it comes to expressing yourself freely," she said, "and having open access to information - we believe those are universal rights that are the birthright of every person on the planet."
Steyn's counterclaims protect that birthright.
Thank you to everyone who also wants to protect that birthright and is helping me do so by swinging by the Steyn store. These counterclaims, for which we wish to move to discovery as soon as possible, are funded by the profits from sales of autographed books, our special Liberty Stick vs Hockey Stick mugs, mousepads and shirts, our new SteynOnline gift certificates, and our other products. It's truly gratifying to wander into the office each morning and read the supportive notes that accompany these orders, from readers in midtown Manhattan - and in Slovakia and Indonesia and Vanuatu and the Falkland Islands. Dr Mann and his ilk (as that ridiculous threat to strike only underlines) don't want to win the debate, they want to shut it down. He will not succeed.