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.
I have explained this many times, including a 2008 post (“PLEASE stop calling them skeptics“) and in my 2009 post, “Anti-science conservatives are stuck in denial but for climate science activists, the reverse is true,” which I’ll excerpt in this post.
Over the years, I have explained why “denier” is not my preferred term. I tried to coin the terms “delayer” and “disinformer” for those who make a living spreading disinformation about climate science — and I still use the term ‘disinformer.’ But coining terms is nearly impossible, and the fact is that almost everybody has embraced the term “deniers” – including many, many disinformers.
As the National Center for Science Education explains in their 2012 post, “Why Is It Called Denial?”
“Denial” is the term preferred even by many deniers. “I actually like ‘denier.’ That’s closer than skeptic,” says MIT’s Richard Lindzen, one of the most prominent deniers. Minnesotans for Global Warming and other major denier groups go so far as to sing, “I’m a Denier!”.
Heck, even disinformers associated with the hard-core extremists at the Heartland Institute like the term:
So clearly, using the term ‘denier’ doesn’t inherently mean you are equating a disinformer with a Holocaust denier. So if for no reason than for clarity’s sake — as well as for people doing web searches — we seem to be stuck with ‘denier’ for general usage.
But undefined labels are always subject to criticism and out-of-context attacks, especially by people who spread disinformation for a living, so I’m a big fan of defining one’s terms, as NCSE does in its post. As I have written many times in the past:
I understand that some of the deniers take offense at the apparent implication that they are like Holocaust deniers. I am not trying to make that connection — since climate science deniers are nothing like Holocaust deniers. Holocaust deniers are denying an established fact from the past. If the media or politicians or the public took them at all seriously, I suppose it might increase the chances of a future Holocaust. But, in fact, they are very marginalized, and are inevitably attacked and criticized widely whenever they try to spread their disinformation, so they have no significant impact on society.
The climate science deniers, however, are very different and far more worrisome. They are not marginalized, but rather very well-funded and treated quite seriously by the status quo media. They are trying to persuade people not to take action on a problem that has not yet become catastrophic, but which will certainly do so if we listen to them and delay acting much longer.
This doesn’t stop the disinformers from misrepresenting what one was trying to say, of course, since that is what they do for a living.
Recently, some disinformers have tried to claim I was saying something other than what I was in my May 3 post “False Balance On Climate Change at PBS NewsHour.”
In that unusually prescient post — written the day before the Heartland Institute imploded by launching its billboard linking climate science believers to the Unabomber — I criticized PBS for not quoting any scientists in their story while quoting two people pushing disinformation: Mitt Romney … and a Heartland ‘expert’! I have updated that post to be crystal clear what I meant.
What I was saying is that in the spectrum of disinformation, PBS obviously would not simply let the most extreme kind of disinformer — a Holocaust denier — push their lies followed by some small disclaimer. And to be clear, I always want to draw a distinction between the spectrum of disinformation on the one hand and the spectrum of likely impact of that disinformation on the other. You can lie about a stone cold fact, but not do a lot of damage if folks don’t believe you and the media doesn’t treat you seriously. You can lie about a very high probability outcome (that your own lie makes far more likely) and do a staggering amount of damage if a substantial amount of one political party believes you and if the media does treat you seriously.
In contrast to this nothing-burger, the disinformers proudly and aggressively go far beyond the pale on a regular basis — often at an institutional level. If that wasn’t clear before, the Heartland Institute meltdown has demonstrated to the world that the hard-core deniers won’t back down from the most extremist hate speech.
Even two weeks after launching their widely condemned campaign comparing believers in climate science to “murderers and madmen,” Heartland is still doubling down on its rhetoric:
- Heartland Institute Compares Climate Science Believers And Reporters To Mass ‘Murderers And Madmen’ (5/4)
- As Supporters Jump Ship, Heartland Institute Stands By Its Widely Condemned Anti-Science Hate Speech (5/6)
- Heartland’s Board Backs Campaign To Smear Climate Science Believers, Even As Eleven Companies Drop Support (5/14)
- Heartland CEO Joe Bast Calls Bill McKibben and Michael Mann ‘Madmen’ (5/16)
Of course, leading disinformers like The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley routinely invoke the most extreme language and then keep using it over and over again – see Lord Monckton repeats and expands on his charge that those who embrace climate science are “Hitler youth” and fascists.
Antihumanism has been around a long time. As Dr. Zubin points out, it has taken the form of “Darwinism, eugenics, German militarism, Nazism, xenophobia, the population control movement, environmentalism, technophobia, and most recently, the incredibly demented climatophobic movement, which seeks to justify mass human sacrifice for the purpose of weather control.”
Al Gore, James Hansen, and even President Obama’s science advisor, John Holden, are card-carrying members of this cult….
God knows I would like to ignore or — better still — never have to hear from these climate Nazis, but that is not going to happen so long as The New York Times, the United Nations, and a host of others keep repeating their lethal lies.
Caruba is the founder of The National Anxiety Center. Seriously.
Don’t be fooled by the disinformers puffing smoke in your face. Nothing is more pro-human than working to stop catastrophic climate change:
- An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces
- Climate Story of the Year: Warming-Driven Drought and Extreme Weather Emerge as Key Threat to Global Food Security
- IEA’s Bombshell Warning: We’re Headed Toward 11°F Global Warming and “Delaying Action Is a False Economy”