A week ago I joined Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Kirsten Powers, Bosch Fawstin and others on John Stossel's Fox News documentary special about free speech, "Censored in America". Thank you for all your kind words about the broadcast, most of which should go to Mr Stossel. As Ezra Levant's Rebel Media points out, this show marked the first time - notwithstanding the attempted mass murder of participants - that Bosch Fawstin's winning cartoon from the Garland, Texas event had been shown on American television. And John Stossel pulled no punches in his commentary:
It's only Muslims who seem to be doing the killing over free speech.
Indeed. Since the show aired, John has written a fine column on the subject:
When the TV series "South Park" was censored by its own network for depicting Mohammed, a fan of the show, liberal cartoonist Molly Norris, showed her support by drawing her own cartoons of Mohammed. For doing so, she received death threats. Fearing for her safety, she went into hiding.
Columnist Mark Steyn was appalled that "Her liberal newspaper -- the way they put it in announcing that she'd gone, ceased to exist , was: 'There is no more Molly.'" She hasn't been heard from in five years.
"The only way we're going to move to a real sense of freedom is if every time somebody puts a bullet in a cartoonist for drawing a cartoon of Mohammed," says Steyn, "every newspaper ... displays that picture."
Steyn argues that societies that censor create more violence by driving hate speech underground.
"You can have a society with free speech where I call you names, and you do rude drawings of me, and I say you're a hater, and we hatey-hatey-hate each other," said Steyn on my TV special, "Censorship in America," but "the alternative is the Muslim world where there's no open debate, and so there's nothing left to do but kill and bomb and shoot."
The western world is losing the habit of free, vigorous, open debate. Which means that we will soon be re-learning the habits of more primitive societies when it comes to conflicting ideas.
~One of the most repellent features of the global warm-mongers is their urge to shut down debate. Recently twenty scientists wrote to President Obama to demand that the RICO anti-racketeering laws be used against those who dissent from Big Climate alarmism. The Mister Big of this RICO mafia is Professor Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University. Given how the climate crowd go on about everyone who disagrees with them being in the pay of Big Oil, it's worth considering how lucrative a life in Big Climate can be. Roger Pielke Jr and Steve McIntyre have been following the money with respect to Professor Shukla. Aside from his gig at George Mason, he also controls a "non-profit" called IGES (the Institute for Global Environment and Security, Inc), which is part of George Mason's College of Science. Steve McIntyre:
Roger Pielke Jr recently made the remarkable discovery that, in addition to his university salary from George Mason University (reported by Pielke as $250,000), Jagadish Shukla, the leader of the #RICO20, together with his wife, had received a further $500,000 more in 2014 alone from federal climate grants funnelled through a Shukla-controlled "non-profit" (Institute for Global Environment and Security, Inc.), yielding total income in 2014 of approximately $750,000.
Actually, the numbers are even worse than Pielke thought.
- Pielke had quoted Shukla's 2013 university salary, but his university salary had increased more than 25% between 2013 and 2014: from $250,816 in 2013 to $314,000 in 2014.
- In addition, the "non-profit" organization had also employed one of Shukla's children (not reported, but say $90,000); and,
- IGES transferred $100,000 from its climate grants to a second corporation controlled by the Shukla family (the Institute for Global Education Equality of Opportunity and Prosperity, Inc.), which in turn transferred $100,000 to an educational charity in Shukla's home town in India, doubtless a worthy charity, but one that Shukla could have supported from his own already generous stipend.
Over a million dollars in total in 2014 alone.
So Professor Shukla's IGES appears to be some climatological equivalent of the Clinton Foundation.
The problem with this is that both George Mason University and the relevant federal agencies (NSF, NOAA, etc) have very strict rules about enriching oneself from grant monies. As a general rule, during college vacation you're allowed to earn no more than the equivalent of your monthly salary in research grants. So, if you're paid, say, 100 grand per year, you're allowed to top that up to 20 grand of grant money during the summer.
Professor Shukla's industrial-scale double-dipping is of an entirely different order. My old boss Conrad Black and his associates were prosecuted under the RICO laws because Patrick Fitzgerald, the US attorney, took the view that their bulking up their income with additional "non-compete fees" and bonuses was a form of racketeering. So Shukla and the various GMU colleagues of his who signed the letter to President Obama might be surprised to find the RICO laws appear to be far more relevant to their own malodorous behavior.
Perhaps for that reason, IGES has now removed the Obama RICO letter from its website and is apparently in the process of "dissolution". Still, this tireless "non-profit" had a good run, and provided a nice sinecure for Professor Shukla (president of IGES), his wife (business manager of IGES), and his daughter (assistant business manager of IGES). Since 2001 they've received $63 million in federal grants, so that's a lot of "business" to "manage".
~But, if you're that anxious to save the planet, why merely criminalize dissent? Wouldn't it be easier just to outlaw democratic government? Steven Hayward notes this letter in the current issue of the prestigious peer-review Hockey Stick launching journal Nature:
Climate change: Climate justice more vital than democracy
Decision-making based on social-justice principles could be more effective than democratic efforts against climate change.
Democratic decision-making involves multiple stakeholders, and democracy emphasizes the mutual roles of actors: all preferences are treated as equal. In many regions of the world, however, the results of democratic choices can be strongly influenced by power relations and inequitable social arrangements, owing to differences in economic development, access to technology and knowledge.
Elites may use democratic processes to entrench their status or encroach on other social goals. This can lead to incremental or undesirable results, which might explain why large democratic nations such as the United States continue to oppose progressive climate legislation.
In our view, sound climate and energy planning should not treat all stakeholders in the same way. Instead, preferences and roles should be weighted to consider criteria related to equity, due process, ethics and other justice principles. This would ensure that stakeholder discussions and resulting policies serve to eradicate, rather than exacerbate, socio-economic vulnerability to a changing climate.
Jingzheng Ren and Michael Evan Goodsite, University of Southern Denmark;
Benjamin K. Sovacool, Aarhus University, Denmark.
No doubt there's a 97 per cent consensus among climate scientists that they don't need a 51 per cent consensus from the electorate.
You gotta admire the brazenness of these Big Climate enforcers in appropriating "social justice" appeals to "socio-economic vulnerability" and "inequitable social arrangements". There's no more inequitable social arrangement than the world Big Climate wants to impose on us. As the University of London's Professor Philip Stott says on page 58 of my new book, ideologically settled climate science is a form of "neo-colonialism" that will keep 1.6 billion people in the less developed world in lifelong poverty.
But don't worry. The likes of Professor Shysta - whoops, Shukla - will still be collecting a million bucks a year from their climate-change "non-profits".
If you like the cut of Professor Stott's jib and you'd like to read more, my book is called "A Disgrace to the Profession": The World's Scientists - in their Own Words - on Michael E Mann, his Hockey Stick, and their Damage to Science - Volume One. It's the story of what real scientists think of the horrible politicized cartoon climatology that has perverted so many once distinguished institutions, from GMU to Nature. I like this review from Tony Morrison:
I never heard of anything like this book. Michael Mann, hockey-stick inventor, is suing Steyn for libel as he stated that the hockey stick was a fraud. In response, while waiting for the trial, Steyn has published a book, not as one might expect defending his statement, but instead meticulously detailing 120 scientists' view of Mann and his hockey stick. And the views are uniformly negative. Together, they cast Mann as not just a fraud (hockey stick based on incomplete and deceptive data), but bad for science in general (vitriolic and vituperative in support of his stick)... In essence, Steyn has come out shooting armed with bullets provided by Mann's own peers and colleagues.
I am not sure where Mann will go after what is an overall succinct devastating published critique of his work. I would assume he will have to forego his lawsuit as the same evidence will be brought up in court and he would presumably lose. But Steyn is counter-suing. As Doc Holliday says about Wyatt in the movie, "he does not want revenge, he wants a reckoning." And so far he is also bringing hell with him.
"A Disgrace to the Profession" is doing boffo biz on the Climatology Hit Parade, with its companion volume Climate Change: The Facts still at Number Nine and both outselling Michael E Mann's unreadable new book.
~While we're talking up individual liberty, I'm honored to be part of a new book, with Chris Berg and John Roskam, marking the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. If you live anywhere in the English-speaking world, this is part of your story. If you'd like your copy personally autographed by me, do swing by the SteynOnline bookstore.