What RFK Jr. Needs to Do to Be Taken Seriously
As much I respect Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s stand on Big Science and suppression of speech, I remember the RFK, Jr. of just nine years ago who championed both.
In September 2014, Kennedy joined the chaotic throngs marching through the still viable Manhattan in their Sisyphean protest against climate change. In speaking of politicians who challenged conventional warming wisdom -- “contemptible human beings” to a person -- Kennedy wished out loud that “there were a law they could be punished under.”
If the politicos were still immune from punishment, industrialists, according to Kennedy, were not. Kennedy focused his wrath on two of them, the brothers Charles and David Koch. “They are enjoying making themselves billionaires by impoverishing the rest of us,” ranted Kennedy. “Do I think the Koch brothers should be tried for reckless endangerment? Absolutely.”
At the time Kennedy attacked the brothers, Koch industries was doing about $115 billion in annual business and employing 60,000 people. Unlike Kennedy’s buccaneer grandfather who swindled much of his fortune, Koch Industries made its mark doing real, gritty, sweaty, red-state kind of work. They have processed and transported and traded in oil, coal, fertilizer, pulp, fibers, polymers, building products, paper, electronic components, pollution control equipment, and beef. Without industries like Koch, America grinds to a halt.
I would like to think that Kennedy has had his mind opened in the decade since his ritual defamation of the Kochs, but I am not at all sure he has. In his otherwise admirable book, The Real Anthony Fauci, he speaks of climate change just once and then inanely.
“Trump’s critics relegated any further claims of HCQ efficacy,” he writes of hydroxychloroquine, “to the same anti-science waste bin as Trump’s notorious recommendation for bleach to cure COVID and his denial of climate change.”
For starters, Kennedy can show he deserves to be taken seriously by apologizing to Trump, who made no such claim about bleach. In the last few years, Kennedy has had a crash course in fake news, not as the perpetrator, but as the victim. He should understand by now that not everything the media say about a perceived enemy is true.
Not everything Big Science says is true either. “Suddenly,” writes Kennedy of the COVID scare, “those trusted institutions seemed to be acting in concert to generate fear, promote obedience, discourage critical thinking, and herd seven billion people to march to a single tune.”
As Kennedy knows by now, conservatives have been buying his book, not liberals. The government response to COVID did not shock us. What did shock us is that someone on the Left finally caught on to the way herd thinking had corrupted his fellow progressives.
On the right, we have been watching this precise paradigm play out for at least 35 years -- the fear, the groupthink, the social control, the coercion, the slander, the politicization of science. And Kennedy, for all those years, has sided with the oppressors.
A little background is in order. In June 1988, one of our “trusted institutions,” the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, strayed from its mission, badly. Just thirteen years after scientists fretted in the pages of the New York Times about global cooling, James Hansen lent NASA’s imprimatur to his claim that “global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship to the greenhouse effect.”
Although Hansen conceded that there was “a need for improving these global climate models,” he larded his presentation before a Senate committee with enough spurious charts and graphs to grab the media’s attention and give the international left a subtle but powerful new instrument for social control.
“Global warming” worked well to “generate fear” for at least fifteen years. When the earth temperatures started to flat line in defiance of computer projections, some diabolical marketer introduced a new term of art to keep the fear machine humming -- “climate change.” Now, every shift in the weather, however routine, could be employed to stifle dissent and frighten schoolchildren.
The media have been reluctant to acknowledge the semantic shift, let alone to explain it. In an all too typical article -- “Why are they calling it 'climate change' now?” -- Eoin O’Carroll used just about every evasive tactic in play to avoid answering the question he posed in the very title of this 2009 Christian Science Monitor article. Still, O'Caroll did concede that “pesky facts” forced the “greenies” to substitute terms.
In the publisher’s note to The Real Anthony Fauci, Tony Lyons observes, “Complex scientific and moral problems are not resolved through censorship of dissenting opinions, deleting content from the Internet, or defaming scientists and authors who present information challenging to those in power.” Kennedy surely agrees. Throughout the book, he denounces the many “defamation campaigns” against his allies and himself.
Kennedy fails to recognize, however, that for sheer nastiness, the COVID crowd cannot begin to compete with climate-change propagandists. In 2007, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman took credit for introducing the reductio ad Hitlerum that since has become de rigeur in the climate-change movement.
“I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny,” wrote Goodman. “Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.” Ouch!
To be taken seriously, Kennedy needs to sit down with a Michael Shellenberger, a Marc Morano, a Steve Milloy, or a Steve Koonin and hash out who really are the deniers -- the climate skeptics or the progressive herds eager to sacrifice every last freedom just as they did with COVID.
Oh yeah, and one more thing, a big one: Kennedy needs to explain how the founder of Children’s Health Defense can ignore the annual slaughter of America’s most defenseless children. Until then, he’s Dennis Kucinich 2.0.
Jack Cashill’s newest book, Untenable: The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America's Cities, is now available for pre-order in all formats.
Image: John S. Quarterman