I have a post I planned to run today about a topic which arose from a recent post of mine. It needs a bit more work to finish it up, but I think it is interesting both for it's "big picture" meaning and some of the technical details which are involved. The thing I find most interesting about it is there's a question in it I can't figure out an answer to. I was hoping some public discussion might produce an answer.
But I can't run that post today. As much as I'd like to have a substantive discussion, I just can't since I see an article which came out yesterday which included any number of lines like, "Wind power was all the rage among Nazis, many of whom shared the party's fanatical commitment to the environment." This statement, and many more like it, come from James Delingpole, a prominent member of the global warming Skeptic movement.
This is the same Skeptic movement which likes to freak out any time someone calls them "deniers" because of how that's supposedly comparing them to Holocaust deniers. Why that would be beyond the pale while comparing people to Nazis would be okay is a mystery I could never hope to solve. All I can do is note I can't find a single Skeptic who has spoken out about Delingpole's article. Nor any previous article of his, as I have since discovered Delingpole has made this same comparison a number of times in the past. A remark like:
What Darwall demonstrates is that the ideology driving the current climate scare originated in Hitler’s Germany.
Ought to have caused some concern, but not even:
The Fuhrer, in other words, was as big a Gaia worshipper as even Naomi Klein or Emma Thompson or Leonardo di Caprio.
Caused anyone in the Skeptic community outrage. When Delingpole's later article says things like:
But it has taken until now for the Nazis' dream of a world powered by wind to become even remotely plausible.
As those Nazis believed in the Thirties, so today's Greens — and the attendant climate industry — would have us believe today: that wind is the kinder, cheaper, cleaner, more natural solution to our energy problems.
Not a single Skeptic seems to be speaking up to say, "Hey, uh... maybe comparing people to Nazis isn't something we ought to do in a polite society." After a bit of searching, I've found over a dozen different times Delingpole compared the "left" to Nazis, but I've been unable to find a single case where Skeptics spoke out against this. Quite the opposite. Skeptics seem to have embraced this approach, with people like Anthony Watts running articles like:
Author: current environmentalism/climate alarmism has roots in Nazi tactics
On his site, Watts Up With That, the single most popular site within the Skeptic movement. Using the word "denier" to refer to Skeptics throws Watts into conniption fits, provoking reactions like:
Well yesterday, the former senator insulted the Jewish race with the tired old “denier” label
Even though he actively defends calling people he dislikes deniers, as seen in cases like this one where he said there was nothing wrong with an article he run which included remarks like:
Even the Pope denied the deniers by excluding them from his climate conclave...
Sadly he doesn’t know enough to know who the real deniers are...
Either way they are the real deniers.
Here are just a few, but sufficient to expose the deniers.
The phrase “cherry-picking” is all too familiar to those following the history of the real deniers.
Logic says it’s those who want to stifle debate, to silence individuals and groups, who are the real deniers.
It appears the President is the denier in chief.
Further proof of who the real deniers are is found in...
In the case of the real climate deniers, they ignore the demonstrable facts and compound their denial by changing the record.
According to Watts, all of these were okay. I suspect if the president at the time had been Donald Trump instead of Barack Obama, he'd have felt differently. Similarly, i am sure Watts would never have tolerated this post which, amongst a number of other offensive things, try to smear a person because a person's father supposedly fought for the Nazis, if that post were about someone he liked. But he doesn't like the person it was about so he not only tolerated the attempt at smearing ap erson with Nazi references, he wrote a blog post specifically to promote it.
The worst part of all this is I found a small glimmer of hope when researching the history of what Delingpole's Nazi smears. I found a post by Watts where he seemed to realize Delingpole's behavior was wrong. Five years ago, Watts responded to similar rhetoric by Delingpole (showing just how long Delingpole has been doing it) to say:
We don’t need either side of the climate debate invoking Godwin’s Law on any level, as it is ugly and pointless, yet here we are again.
I’m growing weary of this.
When I first went to write this post, I was going to praise Watts for this. I wasn't even going to comment on the seemingly strange conclusion of his post:
My point is, no matter who says it, in whatever context, it will turn into a shouting match no matter how many qualifiers or caveats you attach to it, and we simply don’t need it, because all it does is polarize the tribal nature of the climate debate even further.
To Delingpole, take a cue from Dave Roberts at Grist: fix it and apologize.
Assuming it was poor wording, and Watts really did recognize Delingpole's behavior as offensive and disgusting. Only, then I saw a follow-up post from him which clarified his position:
I wasn’t suggesting James apologize to Dr. Mann, nooo, I was suggesting that James apologize to climate skeptics.
...it is we individual climate skeptics who are the ones having to fight those rhetorical battles in the blogospheric trenches. We’ll now be in a defensive position over Delingpole’s article.
My issue with James Delingpole simply had to do with handing our opponents another tool to beat us up rhetorically with.
That's right. It's not that Watts thinks it is outrageous to compare people to Nazis. It's not that he thinks it's offensive and rude. Calling people deniers is insulting the entire Jewish race and something Watts will yell and scream about because it (supposedly) compares people to Holocaust deniers, but directly comparing people to Nazis is fine by him. That is, as long as doing so is tactically sound.
This is not the sort of thing I wanted to talk about today, but it's also not something I can ignore. I never followed Watts Up With That, visiting it only on rare occasions. I also never followed Delingpole, having long since concluded he was a pathetic hack who said nothing worth listening to. Given that, I didn't notice just how offensive Delingpole is or how hypocritical Watts is. If I had, I never would have gotten involved with Watts.
Quite frankly, I wish I had never gotten involved with the Skeptic community at all. Global warming advocates have done all sorts of inexcusable things, to the point the entire movement promoted fraud at the highest of levels. They have done plenty of offensive, disgusting and terrible things which I felt ought to be condemned. I still do. I just can't see anything about the Skeptic movement which paints it in a better light.