For Freedom Friday, we were heartened to read about a recent victory for the First Amendment. The Wall Street Journal editorial “Climate Free Speech: Dissenters push back against political intimidation” explains how Senators Barbara Boxer, Ed Markey, and Sheldon Whitehouse sent out over 100 letters to organizations disagreeing with the President’s stance on climate change. The letters demanded information about these groups’ funding. Following a similar inquiry by House Democrat Raul Grijalva, these inquiries are clearly an attempt to intimidate and to silence rational debate on the issue of climate change.
We have long felt that the debate on climate change is not settled and should be kindled rather than silenced. Scientific inquiry requires a constant testing and retesting of hypotheses in order to confirm or disprove scientific “facts.”
There are simply too many variables in the climate change phenomena to jump to a weakly-supported conclusion that human activities are solely responsible for climate change—and that the only cure for this is government regulatory policies that are harmful to the US economy. There are too many factors yet to be examined, such as natural patterns in climate change (the Little Ice Age, for instance, happened before massive industrialization), solar activity, action and reaction of carbon and heat energy in the atmosphere, and the extreme impact of volcanic eruptions, which can negate our miniscule efforts to limit our own gaseous outputs.
But regardless of your opinion on climate change, the more important point is this: “’singling out’” scientists ‘based solely on their interpretations of scientific research’ is a threat to free inquiry.” That’s a statement from the American Geological Union, and we agree. One of the elements that makes this country great is free speech. Unlike other nations, we don’t have to be afraid of our government if we choose to express our opinion—or, at least, we shouldn’t be.
Because of the fear-mongering and intimidation, the climate change debate has once again seated itself largely on party lines—with one party adamantly accepting climate change and another adamantly arguing against it. As usual, such debate clouds the issue in question, causing emotion rather than reason to prevail. So we support any organization that stands up for the right to hold and express one’s opinion without fear of intimidation or reprisal.
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial staff puts it quite nicely:
“Democrats and their allies have failed to persuade Americans that climate change is so serious that it warrants sweeping new political controls on American energy and industry. So liberals are trying to silence those who are winning the argument. We’re glad to see the dissenters aren’t intimidated.”