A big week for Voltaire

March 4 and 5, 2015 were banner days for Voltaire in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) opinion pages.  The French philosopher and anti-establishment role model eventually brought the wrath of the ruling elite down upon himself for his numerous witticisms against both the king and the papal establishment.  His 1752 comment that “[i]t is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong” was amply illustrated in two opinion pieces in the WSJ.

The March 5 piece “The Political Assault on Climate Skeptics,” by Richard Lindzen, describes the tactics now being employed by members of Congress to effectively intimidate climate scientists who do not produce research upholding the politically correct view that man-made carbon dioxide is the primary driver of climate change.  Lindzen presents the factual scientific evidence to show that this claim has been refuted by actual climate observations and records spanning nearly two decades.  During a time period in which global atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen about ten percent, the global satellite temperature record has remained statistically flat.  The government climate computers had predicted a warming, more tornados, more hurricanes, more climate catastrophes…none of which has taken place.

The emperor’s minions and mandarins do not take kindly to the naked truth.  Democrat Raul Grijalva initiated a McCarthy-like inquiry into the funding sources of a number of prominent climate scientists and vocal skeptics of the government-funded climate-crisis mantra.  Outspoken researchers in university positions rightly fear for their jobs, as universities are likely to be more concerned with federal funding endangerment than with maintenance of scientific freedom.  Democrats Edward Markey, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Barbara Boxer then piled on and peppered a slew of energy companies, organizations, and think-tanks with requests to identify their funding sources.  Score number one for Voltaire’s admonition.

The March 6 WSJ piece “A Fight to Keep Catholic Schools Catholic,” by R. Anderson and L. Ford, describes the pushback by members of the California legislature enraged by the actions of the San Francisco archdiocese for proclaiming Catholic doctrine.  Separation of church and state is a concept vigorously enforced by the state and its watchful monitors, except when the church is the entity wishing for the state to keep its nose out of church affairs on matters of faith and doctrine.  A recent reaffirmation by the San Francisco Catholic Church on well-established Church positions concerning moral behavior was deemed “divisive” by several Democrats in the California state government.  As reported by Anderson, these faculty guidelines were held to “foment a discriminatory environment in the communities we serve” by eight state legislators.  The punishment: threatened Church investigation by two state committees.  Score number two for Voltaire.

These two recent episodes illustrate the tenuous nature of the personal freedoms that we take for granted.  Massive government funding for climate-related research has tarnished the once sacrosanct public image and reputation of science.  Impartiality in conducting scientific research is not what the dispensers of federal grants seem to expect.  President Eisenhower’s 1961 admonition, “The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded[,]” is the current reality.

The ruling class does not take kindly to challenges, as such were seen as a threat to its power to control the citizenry.  Benjamin Franklin at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was asked: “Well, Doctor, what have we got – a Republic or a Monarchy?”  His reply: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Those Democrats featured in these two episodes give a glimpse of the monarchy waiting in the wings.

Charles G. Battig, M.D., Piedmont Chapter president, VA-Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE).  His website is www.climateis.com.

March 4 and 5, 2015 were banner days for Voltaire in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) opinion pages.  The French philosopher and anti-establishment role model eventually brought the wrath of the ruling elite down upon himself for his numerous witticisms against both the king and the papal establishment.  His 1752 comment that “[i]t is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong” was amply illustrated in two opinion pieces in the WSJ.

The March 5 piece “The Political Assault on Climate Skeptics,” by Richard Lindzen, describes the tactics now being employed by members of Congress to effectively intimidate climate scientists who do not produce research upholding the politically correct view that man-made carbon dioxide is the primary driver of climate change.  Lindzen presents the factual scientific evidence to show that this claim has been refuted by actual climate observations and records spanning nearly two decades.  During a time period in which global atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen about ten percent, the global satellite temperature record has remained statistically flat.  The government climate computers had predicted a warming, more tornados, more hurricanes, more climate catastrophes…none of which has taken place.

The emperor’s minions and mandarins do not take kindly to the naked truth.  Democrat Raul Grijalva initiated a McCarthy-like inquiry into the funding sources of a number of prominent climate scientists and vocal skeptics of the government-funded climate-crisis mantra.  Outspoken researchers in university positions rightly fear for their jobs, as universities are likely to be more concerned with federal funding endangerment than with maintenance of scientific freedom.  Democrats Edward Markey, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Barbara Boxer then piled on and peppered a slew of energy companies, organizations, and think-tanks with requests to identify their funding sources.  Score number one for Voltaire’s admonition.

The March 6 WSJ piece “A Fight to Keep Catholic Schools Catholic,” by R. Anderson and L. Ford, describes the pushback by members of the California legislature enraged by the actions of the San Francisco archdiocese for proclaiming Catholic doctrine.  Separation of church and state is a concept vigorously enforced by the state and its watchful monitors, except when the church is the entity wishing for the state to keep its nose out of church affairs on matters of faith and doctrine.  A recent reaffirmation by the San Francisco Catholic Church on well-established Church positions concerning moral behavior was deemed “divisive” by several Democrats in the California state government.  As reported by Anderson, these faculty guidelines were held to “foment a discriminatory environment in the communities we serve” by eight state legislators.  The punishment: threatened Church investigation by two state committees.  Score number two for Voltaire.

These two recent episodes illustrate the tenuous nature of the personal freedoms that we take for granted.  Massive government funding for climate-related research has tarnished the once sacrosanct public image and reputation of science.  Impartiality in conducting scientific research is not what the dispensers of federal grants seem to expect.  President Eisenhower’s 1961 admonition, “The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded[,]” is the current reality.

The ruling class does not take kindly to challenges, as such were seen as a threat to its power to control the citizenry.  Benjamin Franklin at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was asked: “Well, Doctor, what have we got – a Republic or a Monarchy?”  His reply: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Those Democrats featured in these two episodes give a glimpse of the monarchy waiting in the wings.

Charles G. Battig, M.D., Piedmont Chapter president, VA-Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE).  His website is www.climateis.com.