Heating up: Climate change advocates try to silence Krauthammer
By Howard Kurtz
Published February 24, 2014FoxNews.com
Charles Krauthammer says it right up front in his Washington Post column: “I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier.”
He does, however, challenge the notion that the science on climate change is settled and says those who insist otherwise are engaged in “a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate.”
How ironic, then, that some environmental activists launched a petition urging the Post not to publish Krauthammer’s column on Friday.
Their response to opinions they disagree with is to suppress the speech.
Brad Johnson (@ClimateBrad), the editor of HillHeat.com and a former Think Progress staffer, boasted on Twitter that 110,000 people had urged the newspaper “to stop publishing climate lies” like the Krauthammer piece.
I understand that many people are passionate about global warming and consider skeptics to be flat-earthers. Those who don’t like the arguments by Krauthammer, a Fox News contributor, should by all means criticize, dispute, denounce and otherwise go at him. That’s how debate takes place in a country with a vibrant media culture.
Instead, these folks believe that censorship is preferable. Why engage Krauthammer when they might just be able to employ pressure tactics to silence him? And what’s the difference between this and shouting down a speaker at a town hall?
Krauthammer told me the petition-signers “showed up just in time to make precisely the point I made in the column.”
When it comes to free speech, he says, “they don’t even hide it anymore. Now they proudly want certain arguments banished from discourse. The next step is book burning. So the question of the day is: Can you light a Kindle?
“Is there anything more anti-scientific than scientific truths being determined by petition and demonstration?”
Maybe this reflects a broader trend in which people want to wall themselves off from contrary information — and wall off others as well. Debating a complicated subject like climate change — and, equally important, what to do about it — is difficult. Attempting to silence the other side is the easy way out.
Of course, most climate-change proponents are perfectly willing to argue their case on the merits. Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to everyone.