Fred Singer, science contrarian
Last year I posted four exchanges I had with Dr. Kelley Ross, operator of the philosophy website Friesian.org. He’s probably one of the more interesting people I’ve argued with because unlike most right-wingers, he’s an academic who has a good sense of history when he isn’t blindly supporting right-wing revisionism. Since he isn’t very famous, he’s probably the few people who bothers to reply to email, but even if I could get answers back from Fox News personalities or whatever, I doubt they would be anywhere near as entertaining. Wingnut cranks spewing political disinformation is a dime a dozen, but wingnut cranks spewing historical disinformation is a rare gem to be taken out and mocked in public. I suppose it isn’t too much crazier than the stuff that comes from Fox News, which he obviously takes a lot of inspiration, but it’s definitely more conspiratorial and grandiose:
Letter 1: Hippie Stalinists and the Pro-Saddam Left
Letter 2: The Left Believes Science is Euro-Centric Oppression
Letter 3: Nietzsche vs. Fries
Letter 4A: Satan is a Democrat
Letter 4B: Regulators (and Democrats) Forced Banks to Lend to Minorities
Letter 4C: Democrats Believe Islamic Fundamentalism is “Fully Redeemed by Its Hatred of America”
There are very few places Kelley has not gone on his website, offering tons of commentary on tv shows and movies alongside history and philosophy. He even goes into great detail about his nudism and even mentions nudism on his ad running for congress, yet there are certain questions unto which he appears to act as if they are beneath him to answer.
As crazy as his arguments were in the past, the 2008 update he made to his webpage on “Unstoppable Global Warming & Michael Chrichton”, his slurs against the New York imam behind the Cardoba Center near Ground Zero, and the subsequent exchange I had with him over it really seemed to hit to new low. I often try to imagine how the Right is able to convince themselves of positions when they are presented with concrete evidence that contradicts their claims. Usually I get frustrated and attribute it to insanity, but the more conversations I have about global warming that include the statement that it doesn’t matter because we’ll all be dead if and when the real disaster comes, the more I begin to suspect that they are not insane but self-admitted liars and propagandists. That is certainly the case for Fred Singer, as we shall see, and after this last conversation with Kelley Ross, I’ve pretty much become convinced that this is also the case for him as well.
Anyway, here’s the latest email I sent him. Just like the previous emails, I will be posting the subsequent replies in the comments section.
Letter 5: Gore’s Inspiration for ‘Inconvenient Truth’ Makes a Death Bed Conversion and Employment by Bush Doesn’t Discount You as a Terrorist
I see you updated your “Unstoppable Global Warming” page with new propaganda and have repeated some easily refutable lies about the Cardoba center in New York. I would very much like to see if you still have the stomach to defend Fred Singer’s work and his lawsuit against Justin Lancaster or to attack Feisal Abdul Rauf as a Hamas-sympahtisizing America-hater with a “Jihad Victory Mosque” when confronted with the actual facts of their cases and history.
>>Dr. David Viner, Climatic Research Unit (CRU), University of East Anglia, 2000 [the winter of 2010-2011 will be among the 20 coldest in the last 100 years; and, according to Britain’s Meterological Office, December 2010 was “almost certain” to have been the coldest in Britain since 1910]
I’ve heard of having a Euro-centric view of the world, but this is ridiculous. Although more extreme weather was one of the predictions of a climate in transition, no one weather event in just one part of the world has any statistical meaning to the much larger question of climate trends. More relevant is the fact that the year 2010 tied with 2005 as the hottest year ever recorded despite the chilling effects of La Niña. It tied as the 8th warmest winter ever recorded, not one of the coldest. It is also the hottest decade ever recorded for the third straight decade in a row and 13 of the world’s hottest years on record have all occurred in the past 15 years. Here are two articles that may help you understand the difference between weather and climate: “What Does Winter Weather Reveal about Global Warming? No single weather event proves or disproves the fundamental science of climate change, but extreme weather is what scientists expect from global warming.” and “Why Global Warming Can Mean Harsher Winter Weather: Scientists look at the big picture, not today’s weather, to see the impact of climate change.”
>>It is not just that falsifying evidence is dismissed or explained away, something that often happens with scientific theories; but when any scientists produce or cite such evidence, they are smeared with personal attacks and attempts are made to discredit their bona fides as scientists and damage their professional standing.
I admit it is very hard to smear the scientific bona fides of most of the people you cite, like Avery, Chrichton, McIntyre, McKitrick, Lomborg, etc., but only because they aren’t scientists. What I think you’re trying to say is that it unfair to correctly point out that despite there being plenty of climate scientists with reputable bona fides throughout the world, right-wing think tanks/lobbyists still can’t find any that will shill for them and have found it increasingly difficult to pull even physicists or statisticians or whatever out of retirement so as to pretend they have a serious argument against the 97-98% of climate scientists, 84% of total scientists, and virtually every recognized scientific institution that agrees manmade climate change is “irrevocable” so as to propagate the myth that it’s a 50-50 “debate,” though you hardly need a climate scientist to tell you the world is getting warmer with the arctic quickly disappearing, the fabled Northwest Passage opening up, the loss of glaciation from the world’s mountains, Inuit committing suicide because “the big ice is sick,” and the changing of animal migrations and the seasons. The science behind anthropogenic climate change is accepted by NASA, NOAA, AMS, AIBS, AMQUA, AAP, INQUA, the world’s national scientific academies, the Pentagon, and the CIA. The IPCC authors are not paid, are subject to close scrutiny for conflicts of interest, and do not create their own work but compile the latest climate science into 3,000-page summaries.
What makes climate denial so much more despicable than evolution denial is the way people are tricked into believing it is a Left vs. Right debate within the scientific community rather than admit that the paltry number of cranks you and other deniers cite are taking an extreme minority position far outside your (and their) realm of expertise, but I guess since the Right can not use divine authority in this matter, deception is the only recourse. The debate about whether climate change exists or not is no more relevant in climate science circles than the discussion about whether evolution exists in biology circles. But I suppose after reading Singer’s book and watching Fox News you think you have more understanding of the subject than all those morons who foolishly spent years getting their degrees on the subject, though I believe if you actually took the time to read some of the IPCC reports, you might notice a slight upgrade in the technical quality of the work compared to the crank websites you prefer. The one citation you give to the IPCC was to say that one of the members (out of 2500) had withdrawn from the panel in protest, but that was over the issue of hurricane strength, not whether anthropogenic warming exists.
Also, you are the last person who should be complaining about personal attacks.
>>The original inspiration for Al Gore’s involvement with the global warming issue was one of his professors at Harvard, Roger Revelle… In 1991, he coauthored an article with Fred Singer, saying, among other things, “Drastic, precipitous, and especially, unilateral steps to delay the putative greenhouse impacts can cost jobs and prosperity and increase the human costs of global poverty, without being effective.” This was not what Al Gore and his friends wanted to hear. In the 1992 Presidential campaign, claims were floated that Revelle had become senile before his death (of a heart attack, later in 1991). Singer was publicly accused by Justin Lancaster, who was a science advisor to Gore, of taking advantage of Revelle’s mental incapacity and putting his name on the article without his consent. Singer sued. Lancaster settled, with a public retraction (which he has subsequently tried to take back, though all the details and evidence of the case are on the public record).
Actually, that exact “drastic” quote you cite, including the bulk of the article, and even the title of the entire piece had already been written and published a year earlier by Singer as the sole author, meaning it is not an accusation but an incontrovertible fact that Singer is the primary author of that paper. What you forgot to mention is that Revelle was 81 at the time, gravely ill, and, as the public record you mentioned reveals, his own secretary testified that Singer showed up at Revelle’s office, invited himself in, spent four hours going over galley proofs when at the time the old man couldn’t handle 20 minutes of work, and just before Revelle’s death kept sending him drafts of the article that were shoved to the bottom of the pile on his desk in order to ignore them.
Another thing you forgot to mention is that Justin Lancaster was not just a science adviser to Gore but Revelle’s graduate student, who, rather than blundering into the episode after the fact as you imply, personally witnessed Revelle speaking about how unhappy he was with the article. Lancaster settled the lawsuit after being talked into it by his wife because he had no money for adequate council and had to represent himself. More importantly, it was not only Lancaster but Revelle’s family who believed he had been taken advantage of by Singer. His daughter, with the help of the rest of the family, wrote: “Contrary to George Will’s “Al Gore’s Green Guilt” Roger Revelle – our father and the “father” of the greenhouse effect – remained deeply concerned about global warming until his death in July 1991…. Some of those steps go well beyond anything Gore or other national politicians have yet to advocate.” But I guess if it’s a credibility contest between Revelle’s own family and the guy who labored over whether or not one of Mars’ moons was a Martian-constructed Death Star and believed that, if not, we could tow it back to Earth with technology we had back in the 60s, then it’s no contest. I’m sure if I had started talking to an elderly relative of yours and came out with a revelation that he repudiated his entire life’s work just as he died, then you would accept it without question. Anyone familiar with the “deathbed conversion” of Darwin should know well to be suspicious of such declarations.
And as long as we’re using quotes that fly in the face of the writer’s entire career, no one had to “co-author” with Singer for him to write in 1970: “I am persuaded to think that any climate change is bad because of the investments and adaptations that have been made by human beings and all of the things that support human existence upon this globe. Even minor fluctuations of climate could change the distribution of fish, … upset agriculture,…and inundate costal cities…… Such changes could occur at a faster rate perhaps than human society can evolve.” Also: “So far in human history, disasters have not taken place on a global scale. Therefore we don’t really have a tested mechanism for dealing with global threats, such as a long-range, worldwide degradation of the environment. If we ignore the present warning signs and wait for an ecological disaster to strike, it will probably be too late. The distinguished biologist Garrett Hardin has pointed out how very difficult it is psychologically to really believe that a disaster is impending. “How can one believe in something – particularly an unpleasant something – that has never happened before?” This must have been a terrible problem for Noah. Can’t we just hear his complacent compatriots: “Something has always happened to save us.” or “Don’t worry about the rising waters, Noah; our advanced technology will surely discover a substitute for breathing.” Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t tell us much about Noah’s psychological trials and tribulations. But if it was wisdom that enabled Noah to believe in the `never-yet-happened,’ we could use some of that wisdom now.”
So what changed with Singer? Well, Singer has long history of defending fringe theories. His work was extensively cited in “Bad Science: A Resource Book,“ circulated by the industry in 1993. More importantly, he learned in the early 90s how profitable it is to shill for the tobacco industry by refuting the EPA’s 1992 findings that secondhand smoke is harmful. As late as 2010, Singer was still claiming that the EPA had to “rig the numbers” even though four new lung cancer epidemiological studies all support the EPA’s conclusions, including the Brownson study, which pro-tobacco critics typically cite despite the fact that it concluded that there was “a small but consistent increased risk of lung cancer from passive smoking.” Singer also attacked critics of his by saying they made claims about the Oxygen-15 isotope they never made and denies ever ”been paid by Philip Morris or the tobacco lobby” or having ”joined any of their front organizations,” though released tobacco documents say otherwise. In February 1993, Ellen Merlo, a senior VP at Philip Morris, sent a memo in February 1993 to their president explaining that their “overriding objective is to discredit the EPA report,” after which she hired the public relations firm APCO, which sent her a memo the next month, saying: “As you know, we have been working with Dr Fred Singer and Dr Dwight Lee, who have authored articles on junk science and indoor air quality (IAQ) respectively.” Other letters stated that it was important that their fake grassroots  group, the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, had “a diverse group of contributors” to “link the tobacco issue with other more ‘politically correct’ products” and to link studies on smoking with “broader questions about government research and regulations” such as “global warming,” “nuclear waste disposal” and “biotechnology.”
Since 1953, tobacco companies have had public relations campaigns to convince people that there was no scientific basis for claims that cigarette smoke is dangerous as they underwrite researchers to support that claim. As a leaked memo from Philip Morris put it, they “coordinate and pay scientists on an international basis to keep the environmental tobacco smoke controversy alive.” A memo from Brown & Williamson Tobacco in turn admitted: “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.” Ayn Rand believed that the science behind tobacco smoke was a hoax, but when she got lung cancer, she found out that all the books she sold about how immoral it is to take money from the government couldn’t pay for her hospital bills, so she ended up having to break her vow to never file for social security. In many ways, climate denial is very similar to tobacco denial except for the obvious fact that the pollution from tobacco is largely limited while the climate puts the fate of everyone’s lives into the hands of those who profit the most from the pollution.
But wait, there’s more! By an amazing coincidence, Fred Singer also turns out to be one of the only scientists that realized the hole in the ozone had always been there and anyway wasn’t a health risk. His research was funded under “The Science and Environmental Policy Project,” or SEPP, bankrolled by Exxon and Shell. Considering such amazing credentials, it is a wonder you didn’t list these other adventures in disproving other cases accepted science!
But wait, there’s still more! Singer was also appointed by the Reagan Administration to a task force on acid rain. In this particular case, Singer agreed with the field experts and submitted a report outlining how the problem posed by acid rain was sufficient to warrant policy action. Just kidding. Singer broke with the other panelists on every question, arguing that it could not even been proven that sulfur emissions were the cause, and his political statements were relegated to the report’s appendix. Not that it mattered since Reagan ignored it anyway, saying it would do massive harm to the economy, though that’s not what happened when the Clean Air Act was passed under George H.W. Bush. Needless to say, the latest research shows acid rain has “widespread effects not only on the ecosystem, but also on infrastructure and the economy” and that the Clean Air Act mitigated the effects. Although you accuse the vast majority of scientists of being political hacks, Fred “Don’t trust anyone between 30 and 80” Singer seems to be the Matlock of the of scientific contrariness, a polymath at disproving all of the experts in their own field, which always happens to back right-wing corporatist causes linked to his paycheck.
There is nothing new about moving from tobacco denial to ozone denial, acid rain denial, and climate denial. Steven Milloy of CATO Institute attacked the links of tobacco and cancer, spun a U.S. ban on DDT as a worldwide ban that caused an African genocide, tried to blame the fall of the twin towers on asbestos replacement, and ran an action fund that attacks corporations that voluntarily adopted higher environmental standards than the law requires. Bill Nierenberg and Robert Jastrow were both retired physicists and cold war hawks who went from being paid large consulting fees for convincing everyone that the Reagan “Star Wars” Initiative would be totally feasible and inexpensive to being paid to explain how secondhand smoke isn’t dangerous.
Frederick Seitz was another “consultant” who had gone from protesting tobacco’s cancer link to shilling for “Star Wars” before diving into the massively profitable climate denial business. In 1989, Alexander Holtzman at Philip Morris in an internal memo suggested that his company find another cooperative science expert since “Dr. Seitz is quite elderly and not sufficiently rational to offer advice,” yet on March 2nd, 2008 – 18 years later when Seitz was 96 and Fred Singer was 84 and working for the tobacco and fossil fuel-funded Heartland Institute – passed around a new climate report crediting Seitz with a foreword praising Singers’ credentials on the very day of death! The whole situation seems so familiar… I don’t suppose this episode reminds you of anything, does it?
Singer also perjured himself in his tax filings by claiming Seitz as the chair of the Science and Environmental Policy Project for two years after Seitz was dead, on top of other representations in his tax filings that allowed him to shelter his own investments. Not only that, but Heartland keeps Singer on a $5,000/month retainer as a tobacco/oil lobbyist while maintaining a non-profit status, so we can see how he can out outspend Lancaster on a frivolous lawsuit. Singer is also responsible for the 1995 “Leipzig Declaration,” which purported to be a list of 33 signatures from “independent scientists researching atmospheric and climate problems” though over a third of them denied signing it and two of those who did were a doctor and an expert on flying insects. In 2005, the false claim that the world’s glaciers were expanding, which appeared dozens of times from different denier sources, led back to the website of Singer’s “Science and Environmental Policy Project,” but when confronted about it, Singer denied writing it before eventually admitting that the information originated from his site, promising to correct the “mistake” – and then failing to do so.
Heartland’s “Environment and Climate News” was sent mostly to elected officials and Heartland incessantly touted its access and influence with such officials, but its tax forms claimed no lobbying despite the fact that the only activity that could vaguely be considered policy development is the writing of an anti-climate change curriculum package for schools. Leaked Heartland documents outline “Operation Angry Badger,” a plan to spend $612,000 to influence the outcome of recall elections and related fights this year in Wisconsin over the role of public-sector unions, hardly a “research” topic for a “think tank.”
According to you, the 97% of climate scientists who believe anthropogenic warming are just being political, while Singer and Avery, a non-climate scientist and a non-scientist, are not. In fact, Singer is a former board member of the CATO Institute, former fellow of the all-too-appropriately named Hoover Institute, former fellow of the Heritage Foundation, former fellow of the afore-mentioned Advancement of Sound Science Institution, but most of his “research” on climate was done not working for a scientific organization but for the Heartland Institute, which of course has long had financial ties to Shell, Uniroyal, ARCO, and ExxonMobil.
Dennis Avery’s extensive climate expertise consists of being Director of the Center for Global Food Issues at the conservative think-tank, the Hudson Institute, and is an outspoken supporter of free trade and factory farms. He also denies the science behind the detrimental effects of DDT, which is not surprising since agricultural companies and pesticide manufacturers are the ones who pay the Hudson Institute’s bills.
You would think that after being wrong every issue, from cigarette smoke to evolution to the ozone, people would figure out that the debate is never Conservative Science vs. Liberal Science but Conservatives vs. Science, yet your article proves that the propagandists don’t even have to bother hiring different hacks in order to hock their wares.
>>They apparently think that free speech has now been suspended and that denying global warming should have the same legal prohibition as Holocaust denial in France. Joseph Kennedy II has called global warming skeptics “bastards” — something I have never noticed anyone calling Albert Einstein because of his skepticism over quantum mechanics.
No one died because Einstein was wrong about quantum mechanics. Also, quantum mechanics was a new science, unlike climatology, which was old even back then. Also, Einstein didn’t go out of his way to push his opinion on the public or misinform them about what the majority scientific opinion was. Also, there weren’t any giant corporations funding Einstein to prevent competition from quantum technology.
After Einstein brought about the great controversy in physics with relativity theory, he is quoted as saying: “This world is a strange madhouse. Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.” He also said: “Anti-relativists were convinced that their opinions were being suppressed. Indeed, many believed that conspiracies were at work that thwarted the promotion of their ideas. The fact that for them relativity was obviously wrong, yet still so very successful, strengthened the contention that a plot was at play.”
One of those people who argued in favor of this “relativity conspiracy” was Petr Beckman, a libertarian scientist from Czechoslovakia and editor of an Ayn Rand publication. He claimed that he had debunked Einstein’s theory in his book, Einstein Plus Two, published in 1987, a full 82 years after Einstein’s famous theory was introduced. It is therefore quite fitting that the contemptible Marc Morano, producer for Rush Limbuagh, swiftboat-smearer, and creator of Climate Depot (which you cite approvingly), was given the “Petr Beckmann Award for Courage” by the so-called “Doctors for Disaster Preparedness,” a pro-war, anti-climate lobbying group, for his work in fighting the global warming conspiracy. Apparently, “courage” to them means contesting a scientific theory that satellite data had (or in Morano’s case, has) proven for 20 years. And just to prove that he was truly deserving of such an honor, Morano, within hours of receiving the award, posted the email of a climate scientist in response to a story he read of that scientist receiving death threats from a neo-Nazi group. Classy.
As an example of Climate Depot’s journalistic integrity, it ran a piece called “‘Runaway climate change’ ‘unrealistic’, say scientists”, written by Tim Edwards, quoting Max Planck Institute scientist Markus Reichsteinin in a way that, according to Reichsteinin himself said was “exactly opposite to what I said (and what is correctly reported in other newspapers). The 4th IPCC report is not challenged at all by our study…”
This kind of thing happens all the time. In March 2010, climate scientist Simon Lewis had to lodge a complaint against the Sunday Times when their journalist Jonathan Leake tried to source him as an expert to make the erroneous claim that the UN had based the statistic for the Amazon depletion on an unsubstantiated claim from “green campaigners.” The Sunday Times apologized and retracted the story. The UK Telegraph apologized in June of 2010 for pieces by Christopher Booker and Richard North smearing IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri. Sir John Houghton, founder of the IPCC, has been falsely quoted as saying, “Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen.” Dr. John Wahr had to correct false Fox News just recently when they falsely claimed that his study showed that the polar ice caps were melting less than previously believed. After continuously complaining that scientists were ignoring the possibility of the sun causing global warming, Marc Morano, Anthony Watts and other deniers finally admitted that the sun is at a solar minimum, yet did so by repeating the recent lie that NASA and Met Office “quietly” released new figures predicting global cooling based on to the same solar minimum that supposedly caused the previous global warming. The story was instantly debunked by Met Office, not that anyone even remotely familiar with them or NASA or their websites needed it, but that does little to help the disinformed as there are never any retractions in the Denier Bubble.
In your article, “Satan is a Democrat,” you complain about how “tenured radicals have come to dominate academia, the press, and the intelligentsia…. They make George W. Bush look like Albert Einstein,” without seeming to realize that Einstein himself was a socialist and “tenured radical.” In his article, “Why Socialism?” he says: “The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil.” If Einstein were alive today, you would be saying, “Albert Einstein makes George W. Bush look like Fred Singer.” Of course, that mistake is just par for the course for a 17,200-word article on how Christians should view the socialism of “radical Democrats” as Satanic like the dystopian N.I.C.E. organization from C.S. Lewis’ novel, That Hideous Strength, despite the fact that you previously listed the socialism in the gospels as one of the reasons you are not a Christian and you apparently didn’t know (and didn’t bother to check) that C. S. Lewis himself wrote in Mere Christianity that a true Christian society would be more socialistic.
Einstein also designed and built a refrigerator that had no moving parts and used only pressurized gases to create low temperatures, the premise of which was used in the first domestic refrigerators until the design was abandoned in the 1950s for greenhouse effect-causing Freon compressors. But if he were around, I’m totally sure he’d be sticking up for the guys winning anti-Relativity awards for climate denial.
>>Well, the theory of anthropogenic global warming has become a political ideology, a quasi-religious crusade, where heresy cannot be tolerated and skeptics or “deniers” are bundled into the same category as neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers. This in itself serves to discredit the rhetoric and the case, if not the science, of the global warming alarmists.
If the debate was a 50-50 debate between scientists, then you could still forgive emotions for running high considering that the stakes involve a permanent dust bowl in the Midwest for thousands of years, but you complain about climate denial repression that doesn’t exist when there isn’t even any climate legislation on the table as even Reagan’s “cap-and-trade” idea is treated by the modern GOP as if Saul Alinsky dreamed it up. And for all your talk about how politically hyped climate change is, the content of your writings on climate change are so centered on celebrities, it looks like something that would come out of People magazine. The webpage is called “Unstoppable Global Warming and Michael Chrichton” and there’s more talk about Jurassic Park than the IPCC. You also have stuff about Clinton, Martin Sheen, Mary Tyler Moore, Albert Einstein, and Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but absolutely nothing from actual science organizations. You make the typical right-wing assumption that Al Gore invented global warming, while at the same time laughing at him for supposedly claiming to have invented the Internet just because he authored the bill that led to its development, a crucial step reaffirmed by every pioneer in the industry, despite the fact that the purposefully-forgetful Right blasted Gore’s “Information Superhighway” as another Leftist, government research boondoggle in the 90s, just like you and the Right are doing now with clean energy, and of course the irony that you continue that attack on Gore through the Internet is completely lost on you.
The arrogance you and the Right present yourselves as authorities on climate science is in many ways worse than Holocaust denial because climate denial has actual political consequences, probably the most important political consequence ever decided. Racists do not hate the Jews because they deny the Holocaust, they deny the Holocaust because they hate the Jews, so whether you decide to let holocaust denial happen or not does little to prevent the root cause, but polls have shown that denial propaganda can and has had a large effect on the public perception of climate science. You try and dismiss the consequences by using false equivalence, having argued without any supporting evidence that converting to clean energy would cause an equal or larger number of deaths despite the fact that France achieved 90% clean energy without anyone dying or enacting an economic meltdown. Yet at the same time you act as if the truth of climate science in this day and age is no more important than the truth of quantum mechanics in the days of Einstein.
Also, the only victims of a “quasi-religious” crusade are climate scientists:
Guardian: “Climate scientists in the US say police inaction has left them defenceless in the face of a torrent of death threats and hate mail, leaving them fearing for their lives and one to contemplate arming himself with a handgun.”
Canberra Times: “Australia’s leading climate change scientists are being targeted by a vicious, unrelenting email campaign that has resulted in police investigations of death threats… One researcher told of receiving threats of sexual assault and violence against her children after her photograph appeared in a newspaper article promoting a community tree-planting day as a local action to mitigate climate change. “
RealClimate: “Monckton recounted his efforts to get the police involved in an investigation of one IPCC lead author who (he says) committed criminal fraud associated with a graph in the IPCC report.”
BBC: “Online fraudsters are targeting climate scientists through invitations to fake conferences, often at fictional five-star London hotels.”
ABC: “’6 feet under, with the roots, is were you should be,’ one e-mail reads. ‘How know 1 one has been the livin piss out of you yet, i was hopin i would see the news that you commited suicide, Do it.’”
I challenge you to find a comparable number of hate mail and death threats aimed at famous climate deniers.
>>U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe have written an open letter to Exxon-Mobil threatening some kind of action because the oil company has been funding some anti-warming research at a think tank. They apparently think that free speech has now been suspended and that denying global warming should have the same legal prohibition as Holocaust denial in France.
There has been no such proposal to outlaw or otherwise penalize climate denial. ExxonMobil had already promised to stop funding climate denial groups in 2005 and 2008, so it is entirely appropriate that they be called out for lying. The action Rockefeller and Snowe threatened was to censure them, which is nothing. Exxon-Mobil was not even threatened with a reduction of their tax subsidies, whose tax benefits were so large, it caused the IRS to pay them $19 million in 2010. For a “libertarian,” you don’t seem too concerned about corporate socialism, even deflecting the blame from the bailed-out banks and estate agencies to Democrats and minorities forcing the poor unwilling banks to profit massively off sub-prime mortgages leading up to the 2008 crisis despite the fact that most of the loans weren’t subject to the CRA and that they hardly forced the loans to be cut into derivatives. Anyway, both Snowe and Rockefeller have blocked the EPA from acting on greenhouse regulation based on the pipedream that Congress will one day do its job and craft legislation on greenhouse gas regulation. Fed up with the partisanship and incivility in congress, Snowe will not be seeking re-election. So Exxon is avenged, I guess.
>>With very little in the way of skeptical comment from the media bandwagon for Gore, et al., Unstoppable Global Warming, Every 1,500 Years, by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery finally is a bit of fresh air.
The most obvious problem with this book is that there was no warming trend 1,500 years ago, period. The Medieval Warming Period, a phenomenon widely doubted to have been global if it existed, peaked 1,000 years ago, over some 150 years. So if that was supposed to be the last iteration, we shouldn’t be seeing any warming for another 500 years. In any case, our own climate has rapidly overshot that supposedly global peak in much shorter period of time.
Before authoring this book, Singer actually argued that the earth was cooling. In 1998, Singer testified to Congress that “the earth is not warming,” and as recently as 2003 wrote that “there is no convincing evidence that the global climate is actually warming.” Even after his 2006 book was published, he said, “Let’s grant there’s occurred warming. Some people doubt that, but let’s grant that…” Then in late 2011, he reversed himself again, writing that tree rings, ice cores, ocean sediments and stalagmites “don’t show any global warming since 1940!”
Dennis Avery also appears uncommitted to a single opinion, claiming in 2009 that the next 20 to 30 year will experience “global cooling.” That same year, Avery also claimed CO2 levels had declined in 2004, though he admitted later that he “misstated the case” by confusing growth and growth rate. Given Singer nor Avery’s inability to decide whether the climate is warming or cooling, they should have called their book “Unknowable Global Warming.” But whatever is happening, they are plenty confident that it has nothing to do with the industries that are giving them their paychecks!
>>Singer and Avery, of course, have a great deal more in their book than an examination of Veizer and Shaviv’s information. I lead with the latter because it is so devastating, and because public discussions of global warming still usually fail to note that the Earth has been much warmer in the past than now, and that for much of Phanerozoic time the Earth had no glaciers or polar caps
The existence of climate changes in the past is not news to the scientific community or really any particularly astute fifth grader. There is an entire chapter devoted to it in the last IPCC Scientific Assessment. Everyone knows it was hotter in the ancient past. The fact that deniers keep pointing this out as if it is some amazing discovery known only to them only exposes their social isolation. The problem is with how fast these changes occur. Scientific studies have shown that two of five great extinctions of in the Phanerozoic eon, the Triassic-Jurassic extinction and the Permian-Triassic extinction, the latter of which saw 90-95% of all life perish, are linked to rapid climate change. Recent studies show that the oceans are acidifying faster now than they did during four of the latest extinction events, including the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, which left a mud layer flanked by thick deposits of plankton fossils. The times that the Phanerozoic eon had no glaciers are attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by tectonic activity associated with the breakup of the supercontinents, and the glacial and non-glacial periods were separated by hundreds of millions of years, not 1,500 years, and not decades. The speed at which our climate is changing now is unprecedented. Far from being an inflexible sink-tank, the earth’s climate has shown to shift wildly from natural catalysts that trigger feedback loops such as the carbon and methane trapped in the rapidly disintegrating ice caps. Climate deniers try to claim the existence of natural catalysts prove all catalysts must be natural but that is a logical fallacy.
>>Whether any actual global warming would matter just depends. There used to be a lot more rain in the Sahara, which has steadily desiccated, as the Earth has cooled, for about 8000 years. A lot of poor countries would be better off with more of that rain. Certainly not everyone would benefit.
This concept of a worldwide experiment to see whether massive changes to the climate are ultimately good or bad is so bizarre and outlandish, I would only expect it from an unrealistic super-villain in a particularly lame B-movie if I didn’t actually hear right-wingers talk about it as if they really believe it. Did someone ever mention to you that if turns out that you’re wrong that the temperature cannot just be set back like an air conditioner control? One only has to look at Australia, Russia, Brazil and Texas to see how beneficial the desertification of the planet is going to be with the coming of a permanent Dust Bowl. But that isn’t even the critical issue! The critical issue is how fast the temperature is moving. As mentioned earlier, rapid climate change has been linked to mass extinction events.
>>Since the scare-mongering enthusiasts like to blame evils on the oil companies or the American consumer, targets they already seemed to dislike anyway, as part of the general agenda and ideology of the Left, they deserve at least as much in terms of ad hominem attacks as they dish out.
Your confusion of unrepentant charlatans with actual climate scientists is no doubt a product of your own hatred of the Left, stoked by a steady diet of Fox News and Koch brother-funded disinformation. I sincerely doubt you would give Fred Singer the time of day if he didn’t give you the excuse of picking the best-sounding confirmation bias that appeals to the preconceived notions on regulations. Also, if you actually followed Ron Paul’s campaign, you would know it is not only liberals who complain about government subsidies being given to giant international oil corporations even though he is certainly not concerned about climate change. And given that gas prices were at their highest when oil supply was up, one might think even you would be concerned. The security risks that aren’t factored into gasoline even has Arthur Laffer proposing a carbon tax even though he says he’s “agnostic” about climate change.
>>If that were not enough, now we have “Climategate.” E-mail correspondence from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia was recently leaked or hacked. The spectacle revealed in this material was not the practice of science, but the practice of politics. To any disinterested observer, it is an ugly business, with implications of destroyed data, stonewalling on Freedom of Information Act disclosures, and attempts to suppress the publication of research and/or to discredit skeptical scientists.
The work of Michael Mann and scientists targeted in “Climategate” have now been officially exonerated by investigations from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, the Science Assessment Panel, Penn State, the Independent Climate Change Email Review, the EPA, and even Inspector General Inhofe, who called global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind.” This also doesn’t include independent unofficial exonerations by Nature, Factcheck.org, Politifact.com, Reuters, the Associated Press, and Time. Yet according to conservative author Gerard Warner, these vindications are “good news” because it “spells out to the world that the climate clique looks after its own.” This “heads-I-win, tails-you-lose” attitude pretty much sums up all Republican calls for climate investigations: if it finds something, great, if not, even better because it proves the conspiracy is that much bigger. Aside from that, independent studies have replicated the data of Mann’s graph into a virtual ice hockey team, not that any of the proof of climate change ever rested solely on any individual institution or person any more than evolution would be questioned based on the acts of one biologist or biology department. Not that I want to portray the predictions of climate science as anywhere near perfect. As someone who keeps up with the actual scientific literature instead of CATO dispatches, I have to say that for a bunch of crazy far-left alarmists, “worse than the worst case scenario” is an all-too-common phrase in terms of both predicted carbon release and retreating polar caps, especially considering most of these predictions did not factor in the loss of production from the economic crisis.
>>If the evidence is against global warming, or ambiguous, or irrelevant, why has it become such an issue? The answer seems to be a moral and political one. We are trashing the planet with human civilization, foolishly wasting “natural resources,” and hoarding wealth in the advanced countries that should be shared with the underdeveloped ones.
It’s an issue because the most powerful corporations in the world want it to be an issue. There’s a difference between a public controversy and a scientific controversy. If the public controversy had any validity, it would be very easy to find climate scientists with decent credentials to make the argument. Instead, oil companies are stuck funding rag-tag groups of conspiracy theorists whose arguments all contradict one another. The most famous climate denier, Stephen McIntyre, has no science degrees but is a minerals prospector who worked in the fossil fuel exploration business. “Lord” Christopher Monckton (though the House of Lords is demanding he stop calling himself that) is a Birther with a Classics degree.
In one case, the strategy backfired. The Koch Brothers funded a physics professor and climate skeptic to contest the warming trends of temperature stations only to have his team confirmed the warming trend and disproved concerns about the skeptical concerns about the “heat island effect.” Anthony Watts promised that he was “prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong,” but then quickly back-flipped from that position. Of course, climate deniers immediately started attacking him as an evil liberal despite the fact that he was motivated by “Climategate” to do the project, considered Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre to be heroes of his and talks about geo-engineering the earth’s climate as if it isn’t a desperate move of last resort.
>>The Right thus plays right into the hands of Al Gore, who is happy to lump “Intelligent Design” and Global Warming skepticism as equally part of an “assault on reason.”
It’s funny that you make declarations like this with your typical conspiratorial gusto while failing to define how one is different from the other. Climate science is older than Darwinism. The Greenhouse effect was formulated by Joseph Fourier in 1824, was first reliably experimented on in 1858 by John Tyndall, one year before On the Origin of the Species was published, and was proven quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896 using the Stefan-Boltzmann law. Both evolution and climate change are equally accepted by their respective branches of science. Even the difference between the number of generic scientists who believe in anthropogenic climate change and evolution is only 3%. On your own page about Gordon Liddy, you wrote: “Liddy may be wrong about Global Warming, which may be affected by human activities,” though now anyone who doesn’t believe climate scientists want to enslave the “peons” of the world is a “planetary catastrophe and terrorist friend.” You aren’t the only one: as evidence for climate change greatly increased over the decade, Republican acceptance of climate change has decreased. The only difference between one science denial and the other is what is being defended: right-wing religious authority or right-wing political authority.
Most of the responses given by science deniers can be broken down into two arguments: The social conservative response is something like, “I am not an expert in this subject but I personally do not believe what the vast majority of scientists say on this subject. However, my personal beliefs should respected and an option to excuse my child from this controversial idea should be afforded to me.” But the authoritarian response is “I may not have an ‘official’ education in this subject, but ‘official’ scientists are nothing but ideologues who use the peer review process to suppress true science in favor of their predetermined conclusions. Science teachers should not teach what the vast majority of scientists say is science but what I say is science.” The social conservative response is lamentable for being less than intellectually curious and is not really concerned with the history or future of science, but it is at least honest and submissive to having inferior technical knowledge. The authoritarian response, which is your response, is really a con game that you know more than the so-called “experts,” or more often and more disingenuously, that there are a large percentage of experts that agree with you. But both of them work together to launch smear campaigns against entire fields of science: biology for Creationism, medical health for tobacco denial, astrophysics for relativity denial, and climate science for ozone denial and climate denial.
If you ever admit to being wrong, would you take responsibility for helping to contribute to an ideology that doomed an incalculable amount of suffering and death into the unforeseeable future? No more, I would suspect, that Fries himself took when his fascist hate-mongering condemned hundreds of Jews to death and homelessness during the Hep-Hep Riots.
>>This is very ironic when a great deal of enthusiasm for the Global Warming cause follows from hostility to science itself, in so far as science and technology represent human progress and the betterment of human life on earth. Thus, between the Earth Liberation Front and the Creationists (not to mention Post-Modernist nihilism), there is little real interest in the modern tradition of science begun by Copernicus and Galileo.
This is rich, blaming not conservatives but progressives for trying to stop human scientific progress for the betterment of mankind, especially coming from someone who fully admits that science has nothing to do with what’s written in “journals like Nature, the National Science Foundation, or the Royal Society of Britain,” or really any and all science organizations and journals throughout the world!! So effectively, the Platonic Idea of Science is completely divorced from all the technology you see around you in the real world so as to be effectively reduced to being a bullwhip for right-wing politics and an excuse to quote Popper’s implication of falsifiability without adhering to it yourself. Sure, scientific discoveries continue on in the world of quantum mechanics and genetics to this day, but the “modern tradition” of Copernicus and Galileo has been relegated to the same unassailable Golden Age past where the mythical libertarianism from the indivisible “Founding Fathers”™ reside.
>>Ironic or not, the use of “Islamophobia” is an attempt to demonize those who actually do fear Islam, when such a fear is well justified by recent events and by the behavior of people in the Islamic world. Since Islamists, terrorists, and assorted tyrannical regimes and radicals like to justify their attitudes and actions in terms borrowed from the Qur’ân and from Islamic Law, one might think that honest defenders of Islam would acknowledge this, find it an embarrassment, and attempt to both combat the radicalism and assuage the fears of its victims. But this is not done — except among a few well meaning Muslims who do not receive nearly as much attention as their militant brethren. Instead, public apologists for Islam seem to want to put the blame on the fearful victims, while discounting or ignoring the well-funded popularity of the terrorists. When Palestinians danced in the streets on 9/11, it was not because they believed that the Jews or George Bush were behind the attack on America, or because they believed that Islamic terrorism was an embarrassment to Islam. They were spontaneously celebrating a great heartfelt victory in the Jihad. Apologists who do not acknowledge this are simply exposing their bad faith and ill will.
It’s sad to see what was obviously once a great informational resource like your website get vandalized with ever more “updates” of a mind that is more and more angered and deranged by right-wing disinformation. The Palestinians danced in the street because of our support of Israel, obviously. Many Iranians held candlelight vigils in honor of the victims of 9/11. The fact that American Muslims are the most likely to reject violence and that one is more likely to be killed by lightning than by terrorism seems rather to prove those fears are not justified, though they are certainly useful politically.
>>There would have been a right way and a wrong way to do this project. The right way would have reflected the concern of well-meaning Muslims to dissociate their religion from the 9/11 attacks and to express their dismay and mortification that the terrorists should have invoked Islam to justify the atrocities. The mosque as an expression of contrition for the damage done by vicious co-religionists would have at least been a step in assuaging the justifiable fears of all the targets of terrorism. Indeed, there should be such a mosque at Ground Zero, in conjunction with facilities related to the religions of all the victims of 9/11.
I have to admit that you writing there should be a mosque is an improvement from you previous parroting Fannie and Freddie’s “historian” in saying, “The U.S. did not let Germany build a monument to Nazism here during World War II.” Gingrich went on to say that we would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor without realizing there is in fact a Shinto shrine next to it. But your argument that all Muslims should express contrition for what “co-religionists” would be bizarre even coming from someone as old and out-of-touch as Pat Roberson; even more ridiculous that this should come from someone who sees himself as an individualist-minded libertarian! One wonders if all Christians should make contrition for Milkosevic’s slaughter of Muslims, or all atheists should perform penitence for Stalin. Or perhaps Fox News should apologize for all the mosques being picketed that had nothing to do with the Cardoba center. You yourself have criticized Christians for apologizing for the Crusades, but given your Neo-Con attitude towards the Middle East, maybe I should assume that’s because you believe two centuries of failed, blood-soaked wars are a good thing.
Not only that, but Feisal Rauf was a Sufi Muslim, a sect well known for promoting a peaceful, non-political version of Islam that is under constant violent attack by al-Qaida and the Taliban, so basically you’re demanding that victims of our enemy make restitution for the actions of their tormentors. This is right in line with your complaints about the repression of Christianity in Iraq without any acknowledgement that it was the Iraq War that ran off or killed half the Christians in the country, as Ron Paul has pointed out.
As it is, Feisal Rauf performed the contrition you demanded long before you even knew his name. He worked with both the FBI and the Bush White House in an outreach program to “bring a moderate perspective” to foreign audiences about Muslims living in the United States, which was successful enough to be repeated in 2003. He also wrote a book called “What is Right With Islam is What is Right With America.” All of this you should know, as I explained this in an earlier correspondence with you, but apparently none of that is good enough for you!
It also seems to have eluded you that this issue was just another right-wing wedge issue, timed to occur right before the mid-term elections, just like when the homosexual RNC Chair Ken Mehlman cynically orchestrated the great gay marriage scare of 2004 for Bush’s re-election and how the hacked “Climategate” files were released immediately before the Copenhagen conference. Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham both supported Rauf and his project to his face on air before joining in on Fox’s parade of fear-mongering attacks about how much of a dangerous terrorist he was once they smelled blood. If not for right-wing propagandists looking for a cultural wedge issue to exploit, nobody would have known about the cultural center except a few local people at zoning meetings in Manhattan. And if you have any lingering doubts that Fox News was perpetuating the whole fiasco rather than just reporting on it, consider this fact that none of the Cardoba center’s protestors seems to be aware of: it opened to the public on September 21st of last year without incident. If it isn’t on Fox, it doesn’t exist.
>>The wrong way to promote the project, however, is the way it has actually been done. The leader of the effort, the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, himself is on record as blaming the United States for the 9/11 attacks and has refused to distance himself from terrorist organizations like Hamas. He and his wife have responded to objections to the project with accusations of “Islamophobia,” by which they clearly mean, not reasonable “fear of Islam,” but a bigoted and intolerant hostility for Islam. Thus, they give every indication of militancy and would leave any reasonable person with the impression that the mosque is not an attempt at reconciliation — which would be ill served by calling most Americans bigots — but is in fact a Jihad Victory Mosque whose purpose is to promote an Islamist agenda as close as possible to the place were militant Islamists killed almost 3000 victims. This makes the project an insolent gesture that both insults America and makes use of the anti-American “useful idiots” who are eager to cooperate in their own destruction.
The only people who believe that a Sufi cultural center, using a building design originally intended for a shipping firm and equipped with a gym, swimming pool, performing arts center, basketball court, childcare services, art exhibitions, culinary school, 9/11 memorial, and prayer spaces for Muslims, Christians and Jews, could be considered a Jihad Victory Mosque are bubble-entrapped “useful idiots” like yourself. Fesial Rauf said the U.S. did not deserve the attack and specifically condemned Hamas’ terrorist activities as well as “everyone and anyone who commits acts of terrorism.” So you’re wrong there, but that’s only natural since you obviously get your news from Fox. The project’s owners said that the cultural center was meant as “a platform for multi-faith dialogue. It will strive to promote inter-community peace, tolerance and understanding locally in New York City, nationally in America, and globally,” modeled on the Manhattan Jewish Community Center, the 92nd Street Y.” Rauf also traveled the daytime talk show circuit quite a bit for a terrorist. Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham both supported Rauf and his project to his face on two of these shows before joining in on Fox’s parade of fear-mongering attacks about how much of a dangerous terrorist he was once they smelled blood. Ron Paul, who correctly dubbed the whole fiasco a “grandiose demagoguery,” and “all about hate and Islamophobia,” said:
“The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque. In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it. They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill-conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.”
But who cares what Ron Paul thinks? He may be to the right of more genuine libertarians like Harry Browne, but that’s still 100 miles to the left of a Neo-Con like you.
>> Meanwhile, the City of New York has attempted to prevent the rebuilding of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which was actually crushed by the falling South Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. Bloomberg has not spoken out on this issue.
You obviously got that from Fox News, yet Fox News on the Internet often contradicts its own on-air pundits:
“On that question, we worked for many years to reach an agreement and offered up to 60 million dollars of public money to build that much larger new church. After reaching what we believed was an agreement in 2008, representatives of the church wanted even more public commitments, including unacceptable approvals on the design of the Vehicle Security Center that threatened to further delay the construction on the World Trade Center and the potential for another $20 million of public funds.”
Apparently the article’s authors didn’t get the memo that the Orthodox Church was supposed to be a symbol of repressed Christianity in a country increasingly being taken over by Sharia law.
From the New York Observer:
“The Reverand Mark Arey, the spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, told The Observer that he did not have direct knowledge of the Milstein deal but he had heard about it from other church officials. “The church just never sold out,” Father Arey said. “Churches generally don’t sell out unless there’s a tremendous offer or a spectacular need.”
“The Milsteins wound up selling the 18,889-square-foot property to the state in 2005 for $59 million–about as much money as the church is seeking from the Port for its new project. It was twice the amount that had been offered a year earlier, but the state acquiesced because the land was seen as essential to the construction of the vehicle security center at the new World Trade Center site. It is the exact same argument that has been made for taking the St. Nicholas property, though the Port has yet to pay for it. Whether it will remains to be seen, most likely in court.
Another interesting fact is that Rupert Murdoch gave $70 million to Saudi Prince al-Waleed, now the second largest stake-owner of Fox News, after every pundit on Fox successfully demanded that Guilianni return $10 million that the Prince donated to 9/11 victims after al-Waleed said that the U.S. “must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack.” Fox and Friends mentioned him several times, not by name but by the designation “founder of the Kingdom Foundation,” in their list of scary terrorists who may or may not be funding the “Ground Zero Mosque,” leaving out – either by stupidity or pure cynicism – that the guy is their second largest owner after the Murdoch family. Yet al-Waleed himself has bragged that he was able to change a Fox News on-air bulletin correcting “Muslim riots” to say “Civil riots.”
One would think that Republicans would have been completely discredited after Iraq, the Birth Certificate issue, the “9/11 Mosque,” the debt ceiling fiasco whose restored investor “confidence” desolated our economy a second time, but the problem that politics has been so polarized that flip-flops and hypocrisy has no effect on the average voter anymore. Starting with Fox News and ending with MSNBC, political arguments are no longer about issues but about party loyalty. Reagan raised the debt limit 18 times and Bush 7 times without any issue, but conservatives have no problem hypocritically making it an issue for Obama. Liberals in turn hypocritically attacked Bush for warrantless wiretaps but then immediately accepted warrantless assassinations from Obama.
Before this time, libertarians always described themselves as socially liberal and fiscally conservative, as you imply with the poorly constructed and nearly meaningless “Diamond Quiz,” yet every page on your web site does nothing but attack liberals, both socially and fiscally, on every misunderstood and fabricated issue you bring up. But this ignores the fact that both liberals and libertarians agree that the government spends too much money on corporate subsidies that harms society, like oil subsidies, while disagreeing on the historically-smaller funding of subsidies that benefits society, like solar and wind.
Over the past 60 years, liberals have been winning the social war and conservatives have been winning the fiscal war, but that seems to be lost on your ridiculous attacks about the Marxist Radicalism of the Left. You fully admit that a whole generation of Conservatives have signed on to social security and Medicare, yet the Left are “radicals” for not wanting to move the country back to the way things were right before the Great Depression. Even Newt Gingrich recognized the Paul Ryan plan as “right-wing social engineering” before he was whipped by the GOP and took it back. A mostly exaggerated reluctance to cut social programs for the elderly that have been around for 80 years and lowering taxes less than you would like when they are already at the lowest at any time or place is not “radical.”
Meanwhile, the Right simply redefined victory from a balanced budget to deficit-inducing tax cuts from Supply Side theory, just as the Father of Neo-Conservatism, Irving Kristol, wrote in the Wall Street Journal right before Reagan was elected: “And what if the traditionalist-conservatives are right and a . . . tax cut, without corresponding cuts in expenditures, also leaves us with a fiscal problem? The neo-conservative is willing to leave those problems to be coped with by liberal interregnums. He wants to shape the future, and will leave it up to his opponents to tidy up afterwards.”
Dick Cheney in turn defended his statement that “deficits don’t matter” by saying he was “referring to the beginning of the Reagan administration, when he simultaneously cut taxes, reduced revenue and increased defense spending. He didn’t pay a political price for the deficit that resulted. It turned out to be sound policy, both in terms of the military buildup, as well as the change in tax policy and the reduction in rates and so forth. And there are circumstances under which just the deficit per se doesn’t have the kind of political consequences that we’re faced with now.” And then the Neo-Cons just blame the Left for both the deficit and the economic crisis despite the fact that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had warned Bush early on about abuses in the sub-prime market. As designed, the debt exploded under Reagan and the two Bushes in order to pay for the unprecedented combination of increasing wars and decreasing taxes, while the budget was balanced under Clinton. And all this habitually renewed concern about the deficit has not inspired any of the Republican candidates to stop increasing it with even more tax breaks to the top 1% funding their campaigns, with the notable exception of Ron Paul whose plan to end the Fed would cost $400 billion in transition and untold trillions in market terror and future financial panics.
Real libertarians now feel besieged on both sides by both the Left’s safety net and the Right’s corporatism, but starting some time after the 2001, the label of Libertarian has been more often used by former Bush supporters and Tea Party types who have always been Republican but no longer wanted to defend his administration. This is why many libertarians have become associated with the Right as you proudly noticed, though you fully admit that you no longer hold any common ground with Harry Browne and have shown through your writings to side with Fox News against Ron Paul on practically every issue. Reading your new writings truly saddens me, but I grow more sympathetic (though certainly not empathetic) when I look back at your older, more libertarian writings and feel sorry for the fact that 9/11 took you away from Browne’s libertarianism to the Neo-Con hawks, and now, with 11 years of Fox News rotting your brain, it has finally brought you to the cultural conservatism of defending Islamophobia, continuously complaining about the repression of the country’s majority religion, and demanding that all American Muslims “express contrition” for their “co-religionists.” To show some integrity, I would council you to correct the mistakes posted on your website, admit your mistakes, and express contrition towards Justin Lancaster and Feisal Abdul Rauf.