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Adam Weinstein and His Call to Jail Global Warming Skeptics

Reading Time: 18 minutes

“Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

–President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, 1961

A young man named Adam Weinstein recently called for incarceration of disbelievers in the cult of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW). His argument mirrors the argument Goebbels used in 1930s to quash dissent from eugenics and to take immediate policy actions for the betterment of humanity.

I intend to demonstrate the parallels between the current cult of CAGW, public proponents of aggressive political action in response to their faith in CAGW, and their ideological ancestors of Nazi Germany.

 The Holocaust’s American Roots

We can’t talk about Nazi racial policies without talking about the debunked and discredited scientific consensus around eugenics. According to Wikipedia, Eugenics is:

the belief and practice of improving the genetic quality of the human population.[2][3] It is a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher reproduction of people with desired traits (positive eugenics), and reduced reproduction of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics).

When we think of racial crimes against humanity, genocide, and holocaust, we think of Nazi Germany. But Hitler and Josef Mengele, the most notorious of Hitler’s scientists, relied on the American Eugenics Movement for inspiration, ideas, and legitimacy. Why not? Look at the pantheon of American political, business, and social leaders and institutions who supported eugenics:

  • Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States
  • Margaret Sanger, Founder of Planned Parenthood
  • Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States
  • H.G. Wells, Author
  • Alexander Graham Bell, Scientist
  • Hermann Joseph Muller, Nobel Laureate
  • Robert Andrews Millikan, Nobel Laureate
  • David Starr Jordan, President of Stanford University
  • The Carnegie Institution
  • Harriman Railroad Corporation
  • The Rockefeller Foundation

Not to mention prominent British thinkers:

  • John Meynard Keynes
  • George Bernard Shaw

What might eugenics look like in practice? We don’t have to guess. From the same Wikipedia article:

American William Goodell (lived from 1829 to 1894) advocated castration and spaying of the insane.[6] Mortality rates from “Battey’s operation”, the surgical removal of healthy ovaries, was as high as one in five deaths at the time, but the surgery kept being performed.[7]

Francis Galton, a distant relative of Charles Darwin, founded eugenics in the 1860s, but eugenics floundered until picked up and dusted off by American academics and politicians in the 1900s. Stanford president David Starr Jordan turned on the whole academic, progressive, do-gooder world with his 1902 article, Race of a Nation.

Most states in the US passed eugenics laws beginning in the 1920s. In a famous eugenics Supreme Court case, Beck v. Bell, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes defended the practice by writing:

It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind… Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

Imbeciles of the world, UNITE!

Today, CAGW skeptics find difficulty getting published or winning faculty seats in universities. Likewise, scholars who opposed or questioned eugenics were shunned in the 1920s and 1930s. America’s major universities, its most respected business leaders and institutions, its dominant politicians, its newspaper editors, and its state legislators considered anti-eugenicists crackpots—possibly the sort of feeble-minded imbeciles the enlightened progressives were trying to exterminate. Speaking out against eugenics was tantamount to volunteering  as subjects for scientific human experimentation. As Hans Schantz writes on the technology blog AetherCzar:

Eugenics supporters advocated immediate and sweeping actions to keep society from being overwhelmed by the higher birth rate of social undesirables. More than thirty states in the U.S. had compulsory sterilization for certain individuals aimed at keeping undesirables like mental patients, “imbeciles,” and criminals from polluting the genetic pool. [emphasis added]

There was no to time to waste! The science of the day was overwhelming and clear. Anyone who opposed eugenics was opposed to civil society and, thus, an existential threat to humanity. To the planet! To God and His angels in Heaven.

“Kill the heathens!”

Think American ingenuity would stand by while Hitler showed the world how to identify and round up undesirables? Think again, you doubter of American Excellence:

The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, trumped up confinement or forced sterilization. [source]

Somehow, the Hennessys  slipped that noose, escaping to the yay-hoo world of Middle America where highfalutin ideas like eugenics hadn’t yet arrived. (Washington University was, after all, was only 50 years old when the Harrimans were rounding up the Hennessys and Harrigans in New York City.)

In 1914, Harry H. Laughlin published a study with recommendations for the final solution to the problem of Jews, Italians, Irish, Emancipated Negroes, and other feebleminded peoples under the pithy title, Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder’s Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population. (I’m guessing he got paid by the word.) The link takes you to a PDF of the entire document, which pairs well with a medium-rare filet and a 1989 Russian River Valley Hemlock. I’ll treat you only to the table of contents for section 3, “Suggested Remedies”:

  • Life Segregation
  • Sterilization
  • Restrictive Marriage Laws and Customs
  • Eugenical Education
  • Systems of Matings Purporting to Remove Defective Traits
  • General Environmental Betterment
  • Polygamy
  • Euthanasia
  • Neo-Malthusianism
  • Laissez-Faire

In the work, Laughlin praised Spartan mothers for drowning their weaker offspring, but stopped short of calling for mass extermination of America’s Least Wanted. A few years later, though, American eugenicists were calling for stronger action:

At the First National Conference on Race Betterment, University of Wisconsin eugenicist Leon J. Cole lectured on the “dysgenic” effects of charity and medicine on eugenic progress. He made a clear distinction between Darwin’s concept of natural selection and the newer idea of simple “selection.” The difference, Cole explained, “is that instead of being natural selection it is now conscious selection on the part of the breeder.…Death is the normal process of elimination in the social organism, and we might carry the figure a step further and say that in prolonging the lives of defectives we are tampering with the functioning of the social kidneys!”

While American eugenicists sorted out the thorny issue of whether to get on with killing the unwanted or if regular beatings would suffice, the American movement developed a big fan across the Atlantic. New York Times best-selling author, Edwin Black, describes the fan mail a young Austrian sent to two prominent American eugenicists:

America had established the value of race and blood. In Germany, the concept was known as Rasse und Blut. Yet the catch phrase was developed by David Starr Jordan, the racist president of Stanford University. U.S. proposals, laws, eugenic investigations and ideology were not undertaken quietly out of sight of German activists. They became inspirational blueprints for Germany’s rising tide of race biologists and race-based hatemongers, be they white-coated doctors studying Eugenical News and attending congresses in New York, or brown-shirted agitators waving banners and screaming for social upheaval in the streets of Munich.

One such agitator was a disgruntled corporal in the German army. He was an extreme nationalist who also considered himself a race biologist and an advocate of a master race. He was willing to use force to achieve his nationalist racial goals. His inner circle included Germany’s most prominent eugenic publisher. In 1924, he was serving time in prison for mob action. While in prison, he spent his time poring over eugenic textbooks, which extensively quoted Davenport, Popenoe and other American raceological stalwarts. Moreover, he closely followed the writings of Leon Whitney, president of the American Eugenics Society, and Madison Grant, who extolled the Nordic race and bemoaned its corruption by Jews, Negroes, Slavs and others who did not possess blond hair and blue eyes. The young German corporal even wrote one of them a fan letter.

In The Passing of the Great Race, Madison Grant wrote: “Mistaken regard for what are believed to be divine laws and a sentimental belief in the sanctity of human life tend to prevent both the elimination of defective infants and the sterilization of such adults as are themselves of no value to the community. The laws of nature require the obliteration of the unfit and human life is valuable only when it is of use to the community or race.”

One day in the early 1930s, AES president Whitney visited the home of Grant, who was at the time chairing a eugenic immigration committee. Whitney wanted to show off a letter he had just received from Germany, written by the corporal, now out of prison and rising in the German political scene. Grant could only smile. He pulled out his own letter. It was from the same German, thanking Grant for writing The Passing of the Great Race. The fan letter stated that Grant’s book was “his Bible.”

The man writing both letters to the American eugenic leaders would soon burn and gas his name into the blackest corner of history. He would duplicate the American eugenic program—both that which was legislated and that which was only brashly advocated—and his group would consistently point to the United States as setting the precedents for Germany’s actions. And then this man would go further than any American eugenicist ever dreamed, further than the world would ever tolerate, further than humanity will ever forget.

The man who sent those fan letters to America was Adolf Hitler.

Hitler’s infatuation with American science was a mutual admiration society.  By 1935, American eugenics found its perfect, if lethal, advocate.

The Scientific Consensus of 1935

“To that great leader, Adolf Hitler”

–American eugenicist Clarence G. Campbell, 1935 Population Congress in Berlin

Scientific consensus is nothing new. Numerous hypotheses have earned a consensus of interested scientists. Usually, consensus involves data-driven  hypotheses of large systems that are not easily subjected to laboratory tests.

Many scientific consenses are wrong. Long held but recently debunked scientific myths include:

  • Eggs cause heart disease (they don’t)
  • Saccharin causes cancer in humans (it doesn’t)
  • Dietary fiber reduces chances of colon cancer (it doesn’t)
  • Sustainable cold fusion is just around the corner (it isn’t)
  • Coal-fire electric plants cause deforestation through acid rain (they don’t)
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) deplete the ozone layer (they don’t)

Six scientific consensuses you’ve learned about, all which were dead wrong or dramatically overstated by breathless, emotionally blinded advocates. All lies or errors backed, not by some mob of Walmart shoppers, but by United States Surgeons General, television doctors, and leading climate scientists. Just as eugenics was once the scientific consensus accepted without question by Alexander Graham Bell, Woodrow Wilson, John Maynard Keynes, the faculty of Harvard, and the president of Stanford University, catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is, today, accepted without question by Al Gore, Barack Obama, the faculty of Harvard University, and the president of Stanford. And many more.No, they weren’t blithering idiots. And they didn’t seek to do evil. They were blinded by cognitive biases and faulty heuristics into accepting as truth a flawed prescription for the betterment of humanity.

In other words, great scientists are just as susceptible to falling in love with an error as is the average Walmart shopper.

So go ahead and spray some CFC-infused saccharin sweetener on your whole egg cheese omelet while basking in the glow of your coal furnace. Just don’t let the miseducated paragons of climate and health virtue catch you, or you’ll be fed to Clarence Campbell’s lethal chamber. (Burning human flesh is, no doubt, a form of renewable green energy eligible for tax deductions.)

But enough of our modern pseudo-plagues.

In the early 20th century, population and social problems dominated studies of human conditions and societal extinction, much as CAGW dominates today. As with CAGW, scientists interested in these human problems reached a consensus on the cause and final solution to problems of population, poverty, inherited disease, racial capacities, crime, and feeblemindedness. The scientific and political consensus was called eugenics:

At the peak of its popularity, eugenics was a widely held scientific consensus with broad social support. It reinforced existing prejudices and racism. More competent and rigorous analysis has shown the sweeping claims of eugenics to be grossly overstated, if not completely wrong. But, eugenics led to the implementation of far-reaching policies and practices that in the fullness of time we have come to deeply regret. [emphasis added]

–Hans Schantz, AetherCzar, July 1, 2010

Nazi Germany, eager for international support for its racial policies, looked to the international scientific community for support. From The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism by Stefan Kühl:

In the summer of 1934, one and a half years after the Nazis came to power in Germany, the International Federation of Eugenic Organizations (IFEO), meeting in Zurich, passed a resolution to which Nazi propaganda frequently referred in order to illustrate the international acceptance of their race policies. In this unanimously [consensus!] passed resolution . . . the IFEO state that, despite all differences in political and social outlooks, the organization was “united by the deep conviction that eugenic research and practice is of the highest and most urgent importance for the existence of civilized countries.” It recommended that all governments “make themselves acquainted with the problems of heredity, population studies, and eugenics.” It stated that eugenic principles should be adopted as state policies “for the good for their nations . . . with suitable regional modifications.”

Replace “IFEO” with “IPCC” and “eugenics” with “global warming,” that paragraph might well appear in tomorrow’s Washington Post. Here, I’ll do it for you:

In the summer of 2010, one and a half years after the Obama administration came to power in the United States, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meeting in Brussels, passed a resolution to which American propaganda frequently referred in order to illustrate the international acceptance of their climate policies. In this unanimously passed resolution . . . the IPCC stated that, despite all differences in political and social outlooks, the organization was “united by the deep conviction that climate change research and practice is of the highest and most urgent importance for the existence of civilized countries.” It recommended that all governments “make themselves acquainted with the problems of greenhouse gasses, global warming studies, and climate regulation.” It stated that climate change principles should be adopted as state policies “for the good for their nations . . . with suitable regional modifications.”

International consensus on bad science finds fertile soil in the minds of madmen. As we saw at the end of the previous section, Adolf Hitler fell in love with the science of eugenics and the political case eugenics provided. Hitler’s dark obsession with Jewish treachery against Germany was mere prejudice in Hitler’s mind—until American scientists armed his mind with scientific proof.

When Hitler seized control of the German government, he made eugenics the official state policy. Racial laws and regulations, academic regulations, racial propaganda, and discrediting of “deniers” were all justified by the scientific consensus that had formed around eugenics and metastasized to every country in the industrial world.

German racial hygienists and Nazi race politicians viewed this resolution as confirmation of German and American dominance in the eugenics movement and as international approval of the 1933 German sterilization law. . . . Nazi racial hygienist Heinz Kürten, who led a Committee for the Implementation of the National Revolution with the goal of forcing Jews out of medical positions in Germany, explained that the conference had shown eugenicists from all over the world that the implementation of comprehensive eugenics measures in Nazi Germany represented an important step in global eugenics. [source]

At the next eugenics conference in Germany, the world toasted its new, global, scientific consensus for the preservation of civilized society. Again, from The Nazi Connection:

The 1935 International Congress for Population Science in Berlin marked the apex of international support for Nazi race policies and represented a great success for the Nazi race propaganda machine. This Congress assembled prominent eugenicists, anthropologists, population scientists, and geneticists from all over the world. German racial hygienists constituted the largest group of participants, delivering 59 of the 126 presentations. [source]

How could mere science launch a holocaust? Because the scientists who defended their non-scientific consensus used existential fear-mongering to promote and defend their work. Pro-eugenics scientists, politicians, and philosophers locked themselves into a logic-tight echo chamber and launched the world on the fast track toward the Holocaust.

The Nazis’ Scientific Justification for Eliminating Dissenters

Once Hitler’s dictatorship seized power, it really didn’t need a scientific consensus to implement its racial policies. But the scientific consensus behind eugenics didn’t hurt.

Hitler’s dictatorship, backed by sweeping police powers, silenced critics of Nazi eugenics and supporters of individual rights. After all educational and cultural institutions and the media came under Nazi control, racial eugenics permeated German society and institutions. Jews, considered “alien,” were purged from universities, scientific research institutes, hospitals, and public health care. Persons in high positions who were viewed as politically “unreliable” met a similar fate [source].

Few could argue that Hitler’s purge was anti-scientific. After all, a review of the world’s scientific journals of 1935 showed the overwhelming majority of published studies affirmed the validity of eugenics and the need for society to rid itself of undesirables. As Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

Even though Hitler didn’t need anyone’s permission to silence critics of eugenics, he justified the purge:

  1. Eugenics is the scientific consensus
  2. Eugenics proves that bad breeding weakens the race
  3. Dissenters seek to block implementation of our science-based policies to save the race
  4. Therefore, dissenters are an existential threat to humanity

Who wouldn’t want to silence an existential threat to humanity? To argue against Hitler’s racial purity laws was to argue for human suffering, misery, and eventual extinction. Scientists and profiteers of human suffering are despicable. They should pay for their crimes, and they should not be allowed to pollute the minds of people unfit to form a sound scientific judgment on such complex matters. That’s what we have scientists for, right?

Once a madman’s aims seem justified by a scientific consensus, Katy bar the door.

Parallels Between Eugenicists and Modern CAGW Proponents

 

Why do CAGW evangelists call skeptics “deniers?” Probably, because they want to link skeptics with Holocaust deniers. More than probably. CAGW-ist Nick Cohen says CAGW skeptics are exactly like Holocaust deniers—only worse:

And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do. [emphasis added]

Not all CAGW proponents like the term denier. Joe Romm, for instance, cringes at the term, he says, because he lost family in the Holocaust.

Since I lost many relatives in the Holocaust, I understand all too well the unique nature of that catastrophe. The Holocaust is not an analogue to global warming, which is an utterly different kind of catastrophe, and, obviously, one whose worst impacts are yet to come.

Now, that we understand that CAGW evangelists use the term “denier” with a malicious purpose, we can return to our friend Adam Weinstein. And thank him for opening our eyes. My eyes, at least.

Until I read his Gawker rant, I laughed off the idea of jailing CAGW “deniers.” I’d scanned the stories about some third-rate philosophy professor wanting to round up “deniers” into concentration or re-education camps or whatever. I might even have tweeted to a link to one of these stories, but I didn’t take it seriously. Too often, political activists on all sides promote crackpot ideas by venting their outrage at an opponent’s idiotic ideas. I’m guilty, but I’m trying to reform.

I began reading Adam Weinstein’s article on my iPhone as the automated car wash whirred and hissed around me. Nothing like white noise of a car wash to kick off some premium lateral thinking. I can’t tell you exactly which sentence or paragraph released the memory in mind, but somewhere early—somewhere between Applying Pre-soak and Power Wash and long before Clear Coat Enhancer—Mr. Weinstein’s logic for jailing CAGW skeptics took on an eerie German accent. Perhaps it was his opening syllogism.

Man-made climate change happens. Man-made climate change kills a lot of people. It’s going to kill a lot more. We have laws on the books to punish anyone whose lies contribute to people’s deaths. It’s time to punish the climate-change liars [source].

As syllogisms go, Weinstein’s is pretty weak. He probably didn’t mean to form a syllogism, as the Nazi propagandists did in the 1930s. But it was a syllogism, nonetheless. The rest of Weinstein’s argument builds on this initial logic: a) CAGW is undeniable and b) CAGW kills people and c) knowingly making statements that get people killed is a crime, therefore d) we must rid society of those who get people killed by denying CAGW.

Like the Nazi’s syllogism, the CAGW syllogism relies on your accepting the premises. Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Cohen accept as established that a) human activity is the primary cause of climate change over the past century and b) continued human-caused climate change will be catastrophic. But anyone with even scant knowledge of science knows that neither a) nor b) can be proven. Statistics 101 teaches that causation cannot be determined by analysis alone. Causation requires a controlled experiment in which the investigator controls all the independent variables. Obviously, no one can control — or even reasonable catalog — all of the variables affecting earth’s climate. No responsible person even claims to know how to weigh the variables we suspect contribute to climate. And no climate model has ever reliably predicted future climate changes.

What Mr. Weinstein advocates, though, is not a closer examination of the science he believes. To the contrary, Mr. Weinstein hopes to use the criminal justice system to prevent further inquiry. Mr. Weinstein believes it’s time to do what the Nazi’s did to eugenics “deniers.”

Let’s pretend Mr. Weinstein’s hopes come to fruition and look backward. In this scenario, a passaged quoted earlier in this post might be edited and reused:

Weinstein’s dictatorship, backed by sweeping police powers, silenced critics of American climate policy and supporters of individual rights. After all educational and cultural institutions and the media came under Weinstein’s control, CAGW permeated American society and institutions. Skeptics, considered “deniers,” were purged from universities, scientific research institutes, hospitals, and public health care. Persons in high positions who were viewed as politically “unreliable” met a similar fate [source]

Both eugenicists in Nazi Germany and CAGW alarmists today demand an end to inquiry and questioning of their beloved scientific consensuses.

Germany of the 1930s accepted that eugenics was settled science and complied. Many, if not most, Germans helped tamp down what they believed to be dangerous deviations from the accepted principles. Dissenters were arrested, or worse.

Now, Mr. Weinstein, an associate professor of philosophy, and others want the United States to follow Nazi Germany’s prescription for precisely the same disease: an existential threat to society and to the human race.

Weinstein isn’t kidding. Neither was Goebbels.  So what would Fuhrer Weinstein do?

CAGW Proponents Final Solution to the CAGW Denier Question

Earlier, we saw the list of remedies for the problem of undesirables propounded by Harry Laughlin in1914. Those remedies included forced sterilization, post partem murder of deformed or potentially deformed children, state laws controlling who may marry whom, and even euthanasia of undesirables.

When Hitler enacted his racial policies in Germany, American eugenicists–the Michael Manns of their day and cause–rejoiced.

Edwin Black recounts the story of a California eugenicist who gushed over the fact that Hitler was putting the movement’s ideas into practice:

“You will be interested to know,” Goethe’s letter proclaimed, “that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the intellectuals behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought, and particularly by the work of the Human Betterment Foundation.

Human betterment, indeed. 

Again, consider that eugenicists dominated scientific journals of the 1930s, just as CAGW believers dominate today’s. The precepts of eugenics convinced the US Supreme Court and many inferior courts, not to mention over 30 state legislatures. In 1935, eugenics was as accepted as man-made climate change is today. Advocates of eugenics policies believed that the human race was doomed unless their policies became law. They saw their battle for centralized breeding and culling of the human race as a life or death struggle. Their science was every bit as sound as Michael Mann’s. And their supporters were every bit as serious about quashing dissent as Adam Weinstein.

So what are Mr. Weinstein’s suggested remedies for the final solution to the climate change question? I’ll let him answer:

I’m talking about Rush and his multi-million-dollar ilk in the disinformation business. I’m talking about Americans for Prosperity and the businesses and billionaires who back its obfuscatory propaganda. I’m talking about public persons and organizations and corporations for whom denying a fundamental scientific fact is profitable, who encourage the acceleration of an anti-environment course of unregulated consumption and production that, frankly, will screw my son and your children and whatever progeny they manage to have.

Those malcontents must be punished and stopped. [emphasis added]

But how? Under what laws would we round up and punish the “deniers?”

Under the same laws Italian courts used to punish six scientists who failed to warn the public about an earthquake before it happened!

The scientists weren’t convicted because they failed to predict an earthquake; no one can make such a prediction with reliable precision. But they were convened to study a series of tremors the week before the quake, and tacitly signed off on a government official’s public message that “the situation looks favorable” and residents should chill out with some wine.

Please don’t miss Mr. Weinstein’s implication here. Scientists should not form independent judgments based on the information available. Instead, in Mr. Weinstein’s world, scientists must conclude what he wishes them to conclude. The Italian scientists should not have used their own best judgment, but the judgment Weinstein and some associate professor of philosophy advanced–in hindsight.

To his credit–or perhaps as evidence of his disregard for individuals–Mr. Weinstein is not yet ready to round up the masses:

Let’s make a clear distinction here: I’m not talking about the man on the street who thinks Rush Limbaugh is right, and climate change is a socialist United Nations conspiracy foisted by a Muslim U.S. president on an unwitting public to erode its civil liberties.

You all know that man. That man is an idiot. He is too stupid to do anything other than choke the earth’s atmosphere a little more with his Mr. Pibb burps and his F-150’s gassy exhaust. Few of us believers in climate change can do much more—or less—than he can.

So us Walmart shoppers are safe. For now. Until we demand that Mr. Limbaugh be released from his prison cell.

At the start of the eugenics movement’s push toward the Holocaust, the Weinsteins of the time were more accommodating, too. Laughlin would let those who survived birth live in peace–so long as peace excluded having a family. Three generations of imbeciles are enough, after all.

As we’ve seen, though, activists who believe their cause is a life or death for the human race rarely settle for silencing critics and expunging universities of skeptical professors. At some point, the risk to humanity becomes too great to tolerate even the F-150 drivers and Mr. Pibb belchers. At some point, the Weinsteins of the world reluctantly call for lethal chambers to humanely free society of its existential threat.

From rounding up dissident scientists and pundits, it’s short ride to the concentration camps.

Conclusion

I am sure Adam Weinstein is a fine gentleman. I’m sure he’ll be offended by my comparing his call for silencing CAGW skeptics to the Nazis silencing eugenics skeptics. He might even be offended by the comparison between himself and American eugenicists of the 20th century.

Look, I’m not calling Weinstein a Nazi. I’m calling him a coward. An intellectual coward. A defender of a faith so fragile that challenges must be put down with weapons, handcuffs, and internment camps.

Mr. Weinstein wants a dictator to protect his beliefs from challenges. He wants protection from ideas and words he doesn’t like. He’s asking you, my brothers and sisters, to surrender your free thought and free speech to some all-knowing, all-seeing mastermind. He’s asking for a dictatorship of scientists he believes.

Mr. Weinstein is not a scientist. He believes scientists he chooses to believe. He has that right. For now.

Under his own rules, he would be subject to arrest were the scientific consensus on global warming to shift, as it did with eugenics. Under Weinstein’s plan for thought-purity, dissenters go to jail. Is Mr. Weinstein prepared to go to jail for his climate beliefs?

I am very wary of beliefs that cannot be questioned. History shows that beliefs protected from examination are not protected because they are strong, but because they are weak. Too weak to withstand even mild scrutiny.

Refusing to consider the possibility that they might be wrong leads men to horrible crimes. Hitler, Goebbels, Laughlin, Campbell, Goethe, and all the other eugenicists were as certain of their faith in the science of eugenics as Mr. Weinstein is certain of his faith in man-made global warming. Eugenicists were so convinced of their beliefs that they stopped questioning themselves and prohibited others from questioning, too.

I don’t think Weinstein is evil. I do think he has opened the door and invited the devil in for a cold beer and pizza. Adam Weinstein is the kind of man who never questions his own convictions. Neither did Hitler. Nor does Michael Mann.

Holocausts are never perpetrated by men of weak of conviction.

This report is cross-posted from TCOTReport.com.  You can download a PDF of this report here.

8 Things to Read in 2011

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This week last year, I read The 5000 Year Leap.  Good book.  If you haven’t read it, do so. You might learn some interesting things. 

But don’t expect The 5000 Year Leap to change you.  Or history. It won’t. 

Now, if 70 percent of the US population read it, it might make a difference.  Or maybe not. I tend to doubt it, but that’s fodder for a different post.

When tea partiers read books like Glenn Beck’s Common Sense or The 5000 Year Leap, we’re not broadening ourselves—we’re narrowing ourselves. We’re also committing Confirmation Bias: the tendency to search for information that confirms our existing beliefs while ignoring all evidence to the contrary.

In a study, psychologists were exposed to a short set of symptoms and asked to give a preliminary diagnosis.  Then, they were shown another set of symptoms for the same patients and asked to re-evaluate.  All of the psychologists stuck with their original diagnoses—only they increased their certainty of that original diagnosis. 

In other words, they believed that the additional information confirmed their original diagnoses.

The problems:

1.  The original list of symptoms were far too vague for a psychologist to confidently diagnose.

2. The second list contained information intended to contradict the original diagnosis in many cases.

Still, the trained, licensed PhDs saw in the second diagnoses only the information that confirmed their original guesses. 

When conservatives know only the information that supports their view, they tend to look like idiots when confronted with information beyond that narrow scope.  (Trust me—I’ve been the idiot.)

To avoid that embarrassing and destructive situation, learn outside of US political history.  In fact, you probably could go on a US political history diet for one year and still know more about the subject than any 100 liberals combined. 

In 2011, read some things beyond Glenn Beck’s reading list.  Here’s eight ideas to get you started:

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.

Outliers: The Story of Success

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

While some of these books might touch on politics in places, they will introduce many to new ideas that are changing the world around us. 

The intention here is to broaden and build the movement, begin with ourselves.  If the idea of reading outside your comfort zone scares you, then you need to start today. 

Don’t Blink (you’ll miss the recovery)

Reading Time: 1 minutes

eyes430x300 The stock market reacted mildly to some devastating economic news today.  In fact, the stock market appears to be in denial about the state of America’s economy. 

Existing home sales fell in May.  As of this morning, economists expected a six percent increase

Economists expect new home sales to be worse than existing home sales.

And economists expected home sales to fall off the table in July and for the remainder of 2010.

But the actual housing market is already worse than economists were thinking. And now over 56 percent of economists expect home prices to fall throughout 2010.

And the bad news keeps pouring in.

Europe is going on a spending and borrowing diet – the sort that tea partyers have advocated for the USA.  But Obama wants to keep on borrowing and spending, borrowing and spending, extorting and bribing.  The contrasting strategies threaten to create a rift in the G20 at a time when unity is pretty important for economic stability.

Obama wrote a letter to his European counterparts on Friday urging them borrow and spend more.  Apparently, he wants the whole world to crash together. Are his projections so ugly that he’s afraid Germany will be bailing out America? 

Cuts in government spending now may cause some short-term pain in the US economy, but continue irrational borrowing will send the US off a cliff into debt slavery. That Obama and his minions no longer bother to argue that point tells me they don’t care about the consequences of their policies. 

See the W? 

Leave Me the F*** Alone, Nannies!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It took the nanny-staters to more than a minute to scream at low-carb dieters like me about the Mediterranean Diet study released today.

The study shows that Atkins-like, low-carbohydrate diets are the most effective kind for both weight loss and good health.  That joys me, because the only way I can lose and keep of weight is with low carbs.  Even when I was running half marathons, I was well over 200 lbs on a 6-1 frame.  That’s really hard on the tendons and joints.  I landed on my back for a week with an Achille’s tendon so inflamed the doctor thought it would rupture walking from his office to my car.

But the nanny worriers–the people who insist on telling me what to eat, smoke, drink, think, wear, and fondle–immediately blasted the study with a bunch of crap arguments, like this one from The Spartan Diet blog:

subjects get an alcohol point for consuming from one to three glasses of alcohol for men and slightly less for women. That means drinking zero alcohol — the healthiest option, assuming the rest of your diet is healthy — is treated the same as drinking a bottle of scotch every day. The upper end of this scale — three glasses per day — is enough to develop chronic alcoholism.  [Emphasis mine]

Three friggin’ glasses a day is chonic alcoholism????   That would make me . . . Dean Martin!

I’m sure the writer has a product to hawk, but leave it alone.  I’m not on the Med Diet, but it sounds like a great way to save some people from diabetes, heart disease, and 48-inch waists.

The American Heart Association has good but non-commital things to say about the Med diet here.  Eric of Health and Survival Blog–a committed-sounding name if I ever heard one–found that low carb diets lower cholesterol better than low fat diets.  So there.

Go read it for yourself on the New England Journal of Medicine.

The Way It Is

Reading Time: 2 minutes

On Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI spoke to Italian clergy, and his statements seem, at first blush, rather sad. He told the assembled that Christian churches in the West appear to be dying. In particular, the so-called mainline Protestant churches have been losing members for nearly a century.

Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia conjectures:

“Mainstream churches” appear to be dying. Well, then, they aren’t really “mainstream”, are they? Just like the dying “mainstream media” isn’t really “mainstream”.

In America, the real “mainstream” churches – the ones that lots of people actually go to – tend to be more evangelical, more Christ-centered, and less concerned with leftist political action.

Jay’s correct. According to a Lutheran web site, Global Christianity:

Some “mainline” Protestant denominations–Methodist, Episcopal, United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, and others–declined in membership for most of the twentieth-century. Lutherans and other mainline groups barely sustained membership, in a time of national population growth. At the same time, however, the twentieth century was a time of steady growth for Southern Baptists and independent evangelical churches. The most dramatic church growth has been among the Assemblies of God and other Pentecostal groups. Spectacular growth occurred in Mormonism, which at the close of the twentieth century had 5.1 million members in 1998 in the U.S.–more than the combined total of the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Mainline decline was one part of a larger picture: overall church membership in the U.S. expanded from about 25 percent of Americans in 1870 to about 61 percent in 1990.

As I said, though, the news is only bad at first blush. Those declining Protestant churches have been overrun with capital L-Liberals who have driven out the God-fearing people and replaced them with God-flipping-off people. As the 100+ percent growth in religious participation indicates, people are not turning away from God–their churches are.

Jay makes another great point:

I would venture a guess that the more “orthodox” a Catholic parish/diocese is, the less likely it is to be “dying”.

True as true can be.

By early 1992, this Mass was being offered in approximately 110 U.S. parishes, representing fifty percent of the U.S. dioceses. The fact that almost every month, another Mass location is added to the list, indicates its increasing popularity. A 1990 Gallup poll commissioned by the St. Augustine Center Association showed that 76% of Catholics in America would attend the Traditional Latin Mass if it were readily available in their parishes. (source)

Living with a house full of catechumen, I can tell that those looking to put God into their lives want God served up serious and sacred. We belong to the neighborhood parish because we more-or-less have to. (We have catechism, PSR, etc.) But we regularly attend the Tridentine Mass at St. Francis de Sales, deep in South St. Louis. We make the 38 mile journey most Sundays because we get to worship God, to meditate on His sacrfice. Most importantly, though, we get to escape the profane, ugly, sin-filled world around us for an hour and see, hear, smell, taste, and feel true beauty. Godly beauty. Great craftsmanship and architecture. As Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote, “Do we better meet Christ by soaring up to Him, or by dragging Him down into our workaday world?”

Some Catholic dioceses and parishes and most mainline Protestant denominations think it better to drag Him down. And they are all shrinking. The churches that rise up to meet Him are growing. What better argument could one give for tradition?

Should Worship Embarrass?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

My weekly attack on Catholic liturgical abuse needs some caveats:

  • I accept the teaching of the Second Vatican Council as bound in heaven as on earth.
  • I accept the validity of the New Mass based on the church’s Magisterium and the indefectability of the church.
  • I do not believe that people who attend (by choice) New Mass are living outside the faith.
  • A wedding this weekend left us no choice but to attend the 5:30 PM “LIFETeen” mass at our local parish. I’ve been to these travesties before, but tonight, after weeks of attending Tridentine Mass, I was embarrassed. I hoped against hope no non-Catholics were in the pews. I hope no one thinks that what I saw tonight is the best we can do in offering ourselves to Christ. After all, He took the body of a mere human in which He was arrested, beaten, mocked, crucified, and stabbed in the perfect sacrifice for man.

    And how does this new Mass repay Him?

    First, we dress like we’re going to a picnic or to play softball or, in the case half of the teenage girls in attendance, like we’re going to turn tricks. Next, we blast rancid music at full volume. Then we interrupt beautiful chants with this shrill, clashing music–a contrast sharp and painful, like powering-on a stereo preset to Heavy Metal and full volume. Finally, we chat throughout the Mass to people around us and avoid prayer at all cost.

    I don’t know what’s going on inside the others minds. I know the chance of people “worshiping” in such confusion and sexual vividness is slim. At the Tridentine Mass, it’s impossible NOT to think about God. At the New Mass, it’s nearly impossible to think anything about Him except “God, please save Your church.”

    In the past two weeks, I have read a lot about the liturgy from a lot of people way smarter than I. People like C. S. Lewis, who said (paraphrased) Christ’s command to Peter was ‘tend my sheep,’ not ‘experiment on my rats.’ He also wrote:

    Every service is a structure of acts and words through which we receive a sacrament, or repent, or supplicate, or adore. And it enables us to do these things best–if you like it, it “works” best–when, through long familiarity, we don’t have to think about it. As long as you notice, and have to count, the steps, you are not dancing but only learning to dance.

    In Lewis’s Church of England in the 1950s, the music to which he learned to dance was at least dance-able. But familiarity in the Mass is gone. We never, ever, ever say the Confiteor at St. Alban. Each week the Gloria is sung to a different, horrible song with words changed, meanings changed. The same goes for the Alleluia, the Psalms, the Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, and every other once familiar piece of the Catholic liturgy. Moreover, the complex beats of these songs make it impossible to sing unless you know them–and you can’t know them unless you buy the record and listen at home, as you will not hear them performed the same way more than once a month.

    Dietrich von Hildebrand says

    When St. Bonaventure writes in Itinerarium Mentis ad Deum that only a man of desire (such as Daniel) can understand God, he means that a certain attitude of soul must be achieved in order to understand the world of God, into which He wants to lead us.

    This counsel is especially applicable to the Church’s liturgy. The sursum corda-the lifting up of our hearts-is the first requirement for real participation in the mass. Nothing could better obstruct the confrontation of man with God than the notion that we “go unto the altar of God” as we would go to a pleasant, relaxing social gathering. This is why the Latin mass with Gregorian chant, which raises us up to a sacred atmosphere, is vastly superior to a vernacular mass with popular songs, which leaves us in a profane, merely natural atmosphere.

    I offer this prayer which has not been certified error free by the church.

    Heavenly Father, through your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, send your Holy Spirit to open the hearts of our priests, bishops, and brothers and sisters that they may see the necessity for a sacred and holy mass. May we rediscover the joy of total prayer, total sanctity, and total abandonment of this world to Your Kingdom. May we be inspired by the Holy Spirit to elevate the Mass to approach the grandeur of its purpose and of what it celebrates. And may each act and word therein move us closer to the perfect sacrifice to You. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.