Skip to comments.Global Hot Air: Part II (Thomas Sowell)
Posted on 02/13/2007 10:15:21 PM PST by jazusamo
Propaganda campaigns often acquire a life of their own. Politicians who have hitched their wagons to the star of "global warming" cannot admit any doubts on their part, or permit any doubts by others from becoming part of a public debate.
Neither can environmental crusaders, whose whole sense of themselves as saviors of the planet is at stake, as they try to stamp out any views to the contrary.
A recent and revealing example of the ruthless attempts to silence anyone who dares question the global warming crusade began with a "news" story in the British newspaper "The Guardian." It quickly found an echo among American Senators on the left -- Bernard Sanders, an avowed socialist, and John Kerry, Pat Leahy and Dianne Feinstein, who are unavowed.
The headline of the "news" story said it all: "Scientists Offered Cash to Dispute Climate Study." According to "The Guardian," scientists and economists "have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report."
It is a classic notion on the left in general, and of environmentalist zealots in particular, that no one can disagree with them unless they are either uninformed or dishonest. Here they dispose of scientists who are skeptical of the global warming hysteria by depicting them as being bribed by lobbyists for the oil companies.
While such charges may be enough for crusading zealots to wrap themselves ever more tightly in the mantle of virtue, some of us are still old-fashioned enough to want to know the actual facts.
In this case, the fact is that the American Enterprise Institute -- a think tank, not a lobbyist -- did what all kinds of think tanks do, all across the political spectrum, all across the country, and all around the world.
AEI has planned a roundtable discussion of global warming, attended by people with differing views on the subject. That was their fundamental sin, in the eyes of the global warming crowd. They treated this as an issue, rather than a dogma.
Like liberal, conservative, and other think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute pays people who do the work of preparing scholarly papers for presentation at its roundtables. Ten thousand dollars is not an unusual amount and many have received more from other think tanks for similar work.
Enter Senators Sanders, Kerry, Leahy, and Feinstein. In a joint letter to the head of the American Enterprise Institute, they express shock, shock, like the corrupt police official in "Casablanca."
These Senators express "our very serious concerns" about reports that AEI "offered to pay scientists up to $10,000 for questioning the findings" of other scientists. The four Senators express how "saddened" they would be if the reports are true, "by the depths to which some would sink to undermine the scientific consensus" on global warming.
If the reports are true, the Senators continue, "it would highlight the extent to which moneyed interests distort honest scientific and public policy discussions" by "bribing scientists to support a pre-determined agenda."
The Senators ask: "Does your donors' self-interest trump an honest discussion over the well-being of the planet?" They demand that "AEI will publicly apologize for this conduct."
As the late Art Buchwald once said about comedy and farce in Washington, "You can't make that up!"
If it is a bribe to pay people for doing work, then we are all bribed every day, except for those who inherited enough money not to have to work at all. Among those invited to attend the AEI roundtable are some of the same scientists who produced the recent report that politicians, environmentalists, and the media tout as the last word on global warming.
The trump card of the left is that one of the big oil companies contributed money to the American Enterprise Institute -- not as much as one percent of its budget, but enough for a smear.
All think tanks have contributors or they could not exist. But facts carry little weight in smears, even by politicians who question other people's honesty.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His Web site is www.tsowell.com.
Latest Weather Channel Headline:
SENATORS SANDERS, KERRY, LEAHY, & FEINSTEIN DEFEND GORE'S GLOBAL FLATULENCE!
Heard a radio personality recently in Sacramento put it this way: The current global warming movement is a religion, and like all religions they have their apocalyspe, their doomsday, if certain tenents are not adhered to. I liked that analogy.
It's nice to read this from the great one. I've been frustrated lately by people around me blathering on about Global Warming....I forget who said it, but "we used to call it weather".
Plus I liked in his last article where he brought up that the same people all through the 70's talked about global cooling and the coming of the next ice age, Just like my Dad always would say to me. Ha!
Thomas Sowell as always get to the heart of the matter and hits another Home run. Of course our esteemed 'progressive' Senators never question the motives and objectivity of scientist who live off NGO's and government funding who depend on the Global Warming Cabal for their livelihood.
The Data is the data and that is what should matter.
Of course we are all bribed in a way - do you think that I or most other people would get up early, drive an hour to work and sit in a cubicle all day if we were not getting paid - of course not.
However, Sowell's argument breaks down here and it shows that he is being intellectually dishonest to not continue his thoughts a little further - so I will.
When I get paid\bribed by my employer I have to speak the corporate line when I talk with customers. It does not matter what I think, or even in some cases what the truth is - I need to speak on behalf of my company and if the company says "x" (as long as "x" is not illegal) - then it is my job to speak to that position.
Very few people can publicaly disagree to customers with their corporate positions and continue to be paid\bribed by the company.
Henceforth, we can clearly see that these scientists would not be paid for a position paper that supported global warming - therefore they have a vested interest in producing papers that match the criteria their payer\bribers expect.
While I am not saying that every scientist who writes a paper against the theory of global warming does not believe it - however, like speaking with a company's representative - you cannot really be sure of they really believe vs. what the company line is.
Therefore, yes, we need to be very skeptical of papers written by either side when there is cash on the line to match the check writers position.
Welcome to Free Republic.
Would you like to be added to the Thomas Sowell ping list?
What's it like being a cubicle dweller?
I think we've met before. Who did you used to be?
Financial enriching that's for sure. But at the end I don't do it because I love it along with most Americans who go to work for the money not the love of the work.
"Round up the usual suspects."
Have you considered self-employment?
In your post, you focused on the first sentence of the above paragraph, but ignored the second. I have not seen any evidence (credible or otherwise) that AEI has offered the money only to scientists who have taken a certain position - for or against global warming.
If AEI is paying scientists to prepare and present their findings/positions regardless of the content of those findings/positions, then the "company line" part of your post completely breaks down.
I have never seen any writings of Dr. Sowell that were intellectually dishonest, although he may not have been complete enough in his reasoning a time or two.
Very good point, MortMan and neither have I.
Here's the AEIs official version of events. They were asking a number of mainstream scientists if they would be willing to devote a significant amount of time in analyzing the upcoming UN Climate Change Report which won't be released until spring -- a damn big document unlike the 'Executive Summary' which was just released. Of all the Scientists they invited, only one was a "denier" and he refused the offer because he said he wouldn't waste his time on the type of junk-science the UN produces. None of the others asked are known to be skeptics and all are considered to be "mainstream", albeit none are in the Al Gore fear mongering business either. The AEI would pay them to produce a report, period. There was no stipulation on what that report would say.
BTW. AEI is the organization pushing Bush to institute a "Carbon Tax" They are not "Climate Charge" skeptics. They are a think-tank that recommends public policy, and are most definitely not a lobbying outfit as reported by the British media.
The entire flap is simply another push by the Eco-left to silence any debate by labeling any scientists who do not accept the most extreme apocalyptic version of Global Warming as puppets of Exxon or paid corporate lackeys. It's an old trick that has been used many times to keep the most reasoned and knowledgeable people in any field silent. Thirty five years ago that same trick was used to silence "mainstream" chemists and biologists on the DDT debate allowing the EDF to push through the completely junk science Rachel Carson view on pesticides. Speak against their scare mongering, and you were accused of being a tool of Dow Chemical. That decision cost the lives of millions of people.
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