November 28, 2009
Down under, global warming is a free speech issue
Australia's right-of-center opposition Liberal Party is fighting over carbon taxes. And, conservatives aren't shutting up, even challenging their leader, Malcolm Turnbull, a cap-and-tax fundamentalist.
But there's a more divisive national issue here: freedom of speech.
Here's Henry Ergas, from The Australian:
The hacked emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia show how far the rot has spread within the scientific community. I doubt the researchers involved view the issues in Hamilton's moralising terms. What is clear, however, is that these researchers regard scepticism as a dirty word.
Yet scepticism is the price knowledge pays for truth [emphasis mine].We question our theories because that questioning is the means by which they will be displaced by better theories in future. The moment scepticism is abandoned for orthodoxy, scientific inquiry degenerates into pseudo-science, as with genetics in Trofim Lysenko's Soviet Union.
As a free-thinking individual, I reject all the-debate-is-over censors. So do many Australians.
This "unhealthy climate of political orthodoxy," notes Ergas is also being promoted by Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Over at the Telegraph (London), James Delingpole notes:
Australia is leading the revolt against Al Gore's great big AGW conspiracy - just as the Aussie geologist and AGW sceptic Professor Ian Plimer predicted it would.
ABC news reports that five frontbenchers from Australia's opposition Liberal party have resigned their portfolios rather than follow their leader Malcolm Turnbull in voting with Kevin Rudd's Government on a new Emissions Trading Scheme.
The Liberal Party is in turmoil with the resignations of five frontbenchers from their portfolios this afternoon in protest against the emissions trading scheme.
Tony Abbott, Sophie Mirabella, Tony Smith and Senators Nick Minchin and Eric Abetz have all quit their portfolios because they cannot vote for the legislation.
Senate whip Stephen Parry has also relinquished his position.
So the anti-free speech movement is in big trouble, because more Australians say they're not going to shut up, cower in fear, or sacrifice their economic and social freedoms.
I see nothing wrong with intellectual diversity, and oppose all forms of government-driven scientific censorship. And, I recognize that blackmailing sections of the public will only last for so long. If PM Rudd continues to run on Gore's authoritarian the-debate-is-over pro-censorship platform, is he advertising his strengths or weaknesses? Do real leaders rally against democracy to promote "good science"?