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Climate change and the left

This comment on why the left has fallen head over heels in love with global warming ideology was left on the discussion board by Lord Donoughue. I thought it worth of promotion to a full post.

The issue of why the political left is overwhelmingly supportive of the climate change alarmist ideology/faith, and hence there are relatively few left wing sceptics, is quite complex and would take more space and time than I intend to impose on you here. But may I, as a lifelong Labour supporter, offer a couple of broad observations. They are by no means comprehensive and omit many nuances. But they are major general factors which I have observed in the party for 61 years, and in Parliament for almost 30 years.

First is that most leftish British people get politically involved because they genuinely believe they wish to contribute to the common good in our society. (They tend to believe , rightly or wrongly, that the right wing wishes to contribute to their own individual or class good). At first this drew many to sympathise with Marxist ideology, until the Soviets discredited that. More sympathised and many still do with the social democratic ideals of equality and civil liberty, though that position lacks the ideological certainties and claimed scientific basis of old Marxism. With the collapse of Marxism, there was created a vacuum on the left. Those seeking an ideological faith to cling on to for moral certainty, felt bereft. They also wanted a faith which again gave them a feeling of still pursuing the common good of society, especially the new global society, and even more a feeling of moral superiority, which is a characteristic of many middle and professional types on the left. Climate change and the moral common good of saving the planet , with its claimed scientific certainties, offered to fill the vacuum. It may or may not be a coincidence that the climate change faith gained momentum in the 1990s immediately after Marxism collapsed with the Berlin Wall.

I notice that my Labour colleagues who are troubled by the cost of the war on climate change, and especially when I point out that its costs fall heavily on the poorer classes, while its financial benefits go to rich landowners and individuals on the Climate Change Committee, still won't face those facts because they want to cling on to the new climate faith because they want to believe it is in the common good. They are not bad or stupid people. Many are better and cleverer than me. But they have a need for a faith which they believe is for the global good. They don't want a moral vacuum. And the current leaders of the social democratic parties in Britain and Europe are not offering them much else. For Ed Miliband, who is not a bad or stupid man, but coming from a Marxist heritage, when asked for more vision, he grasps climate change like a drowning man clasping a lifebelt.

While this need persists and there persists the misconception that the Green faith is somehow leftish and in pursuit of the common good, then most on the political left will stay with it. To shake them it will be necessary to show them that the costs of implementing climate alarmism will actually destroy the economic hopes of the poor and is often a cynical device to enrich the wealthy. That it enables self righteous middle class posturers to parade their assumed moral superiority at the expense of the poor. And that it's so-called scientific certainties are very uncertain indeed. It is also necessary for the sceptical and realistic side to show more publicly that they accept the proven aspects of climate change (which every sceptic I know does) and care about the genuine concerns of the environment (which the Greens ignore by littering our landscapes with inefficient and costly windmills.)

My second point concerns the Stalinist tactics of the Green activists in trying to suppress any questioning of their dogmatic faith and to damage the lives and careers of any professional person who attempts to examine this subject in an honest way which might undermine their dogmatic claims. Their use of Holocaust language such as 'Denier', implying their target is akin to a neo Nazi, is but one example of the Stalinist mentality. In that political context, where any questioner is so derided, it is no surprise that most Labour supporters choose not to take the risk - especially when it immediately throws them into confrontation with their embattled leader.

Sorry to go on so long. But they are my observational conclusions on why it is not easy for the sceptical side to make progress on the political left. Interestingly, polls suggest it is among Labour working classes, always more practical than our Hampstead/Guardian types, that there is the biggest dissent from the Green religion - and some of them are already slipping off to UKIP, which shows more concern for their suffering under the Green taxes.

This battle to bring understanding to Labour that its climate policies punish its core supporters, will take a while to win, partly for the two reasons I offer above.

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Reader Comments (224)

One of the most informative and entertaining blog posts that I have ever read, thanks Bish!

If I may add a small observation. Here in the US we have a leftist MIT Professor named Jonathan Gruber. He explained that our new health care law, the ACA, needed to be presented deceptively because the average voter is too stupid to vote for it. It has not and will never occur to him that writing a new healthcare law that can be openly and honestly presented and understood and accepted by the voters is very much more likely to be a good policy change than one that has to be hidden and lied about. Of course he was also paid six million dollars by State and Federal governments for his rhetorical support. I've just read lots of different and good explanations for really bad policies.

Nov 16, 2014 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterRedbone

I wish I had the time to pursue our brief conversation but I'm afraid other matters genuinely press and, as johanna pointed out, we musn;t allow ourselves to be diverted from today's anti-lefty rant.
You make a good point (as I knew you would) about my comments applying to both sides but one thing at a time.
If I have the time, and I don't just mean the odd five minutes, I might consider starting a discussion. If I do I hope you'll join me.

Nov 16, 2014 at 3:17 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I refer you to the book by Thomas Sowell 1995 The Vision of the Anointed.

Nov 16, 2014 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig Loehle

That is the great failure of ideologues everywhere, but is especially prevalent on the Left, which continues in the face of all evidence to believe in the perfectibility of people and society by means of government intervention.

Nov 16, 2014 at 9:07 AM | johanna

Add to that the belief that legislation can change human nature.

Nov 16, 2014 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

This appears somewhat ironic given that I haven't seen anyone who uses denier link it to the holocaust (the only ones who do so are those who complain about it) and yet someone criticising its use is happy to associate those who use it with a murderous dictator. Not that I really care, mind you. I find the whole whining about labeling a bit pathetic.

Nov 16, 2014 at 11:00 AM | r...and Then There's Physics

Just because you can't see something, it doesn't mean it is not there.

Nov 16, 2014 at 4:28 PM | Registered Commenterjeremypoynton

"in truth it was the serial defeats inflicted upon the working class movement by Mrs Thatcher and the retreat of the trades union leadership"
Nov 16, 2014 at 1:52 PM | Braqueish
More accurately

"in truth it was the serial defeats inflicted upon the working class movement by Mrs Thatcher and the tradeunions leadership*, and the retreat of the trades union leadership"

Wasn't it Maggie who got rid of the closed shop?

Just asking

* with particular reference to Scargill, who betrayed his members.

Nov 16, 2014 at 4:42 PM | Registered Commenterjeremypoynton

I am very curious if ATTP, who stresses that he wants dialogue, is willing to respond to jeremy's multiple examples of "denier" used to link to holocaust denial. Someone who has no ideology to defend and truly wants dialogue would. He would at least acknowledge this information and maybe even concede he was wrong, all in the name of courteous dialogue. Wouldn't he?

Nov 16, 2014 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

wijnand, your answer is here:

Nov 16, 2014 at 5:10 PM | Registered Commentershub

The premise is wrong. The distribution of political opinion is probably fairly "normal" (or at least you'd require strong evidence to claim that it is not). In other, people are predominantly in the middle, neither strongly left or right. Elections are won in the middle.

The significant anomaly is the rejection of climate science on parts of the right, not its acceptance in the center and left.

His talk of Marxism has little relevance for those of a social democrat background and his idea that is wasn't until the Berlin Wall fell that Marxism was revealed as a bankrupt philosophy seems naive for someone who lived through the death of Stalin and the revelations of the reality of what the Soviet Union was.

Beyond that his article is just one long ad hominem against his friends and colleagues, containing not one justification for his opinions. As for his objections to "denier", I'm surprised he didn't also object to "acidification" (cos the ocean's not acid you know) or claim that climate science is not real science cos it has "science" in the name. That is the level of argument I'd expect from him.

Nov 16, 2014 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Sure. Jeremy's first link appears to be an example of someone associating climate science denial with holocaust denial. The second appears to be Roy Spencer suggesting that those who use the term denier will kill more than the holocaust, so not sure that's a particularly good example (if anything, it appears to be Roy Spencer being explicitly offensive). I'm not quite sure of the relevance of the third as I can't see anything in the post itself. However, if you want me to acknowledge that someone has found an example of a person associating climate science denial with holocaust denial, fine. It appears that it has indeed happened. However, in my experience it is mostly people who complain about its use who make the comparison than people who use it. Furthermore, it seems ironic that someone who complains about the use of "denier" would then associate those who use it with Stalinism. Certainly not trying to hold the moral high ground.

However, as I said, I don't really mind. I find the complaints about labeling a little pathetic. If you don't like how someone has labelled you then either they're wrong and an idiot - in which case you probably shouldn't care - or they have a point and you should consider how you behave. And, FWIW, I mean this generally, not just with respect to this particular topic. I can see that there are occasions when complaining about labeling has merit but, in general, I think it reflects more on the person doing the labeling, than on the person being labeled.

Nov 16, 2014 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

a neuron is something neurological in the brain consisting of a trillion neutrons amongst other things

a neutron is stopped alpha rays

bbdwent to work for WHAT LYSENKO SPAWNED an offshoot of "sir" fly_me_first_class_cos_I_won_a_Nobel nurse
if their not one and the same all together

Nov 16, 2014 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

jeremypoynton, Wijnand, your links illustrate that "denier" in the climate sense has become linked to Holocaust denial. They don't indicate who made the association in the first place. And they are not examples of someone on the "alarmist" side using "denier" and linking it to the holocaust. The first one is a discussion of the debate, not someone using the word "denier" in the normal sense. The second is just Spencer's rant. The third doesn't seem to mention deniers.

Nov 16, 2014 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

ATTP, I for one do not complain about the term, but I find that the minute someone (no matter who really) uses the term I disregard ANYTHING that person says from then on. Because using that term and pretending that you have no idea of the ugly connotations associated with it means that you have been living under a rock or that you are an asshole.

Insinuating, like you do, that people who use the term denier are either stupid OR the term is deserved, is ridiculous. Lots of leading CAGW adherring scientist use the term and obviously they are not stupid. But nice try, I like what you did there.

Nov 16, 2014 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

I congratulate Lord Donoughue on his honesty and his eloquence, although I think I could have saved him a paragraph, or five. After all, I spotted (and I was far from being the only one to do so), even as the Berlin Wall was crashing down, that the Reds were turning Green.

That was, as we have been abundantly reminded of late, all of twenty-five years ago.

Nov 16, 2014 at 5:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan

FWIW, I agree with you. Once a term like denier is used in a discussion then any further dialogue becomes impossible.

Your second paragraph is probably giving me more credit than I deserved. I wasn't actually trying to make the kind of inference you think. I simply think that if you don't like how someone labels you you should either ignore them, or think about it. Complaining about it could be perceived as you not liking the labeling and would rather it wasn't used, than the labeling not being justified.

Nov 16, 2014 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

2006: Monbiot “Almost everywhere, climate change denial now looks as stupid and as unacceptable as Holocaust denial.”

2007: Ellen 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.”

Nov 16, 2014 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Being brought up in Scotland is liable to make you leftwing by default. Voting Labour was just taken for granted within my family, and indeed I'd guess in just about everyone I ever met until I got to university. It took me a good few more years to think my way out of it this mindlessness, and I now have a jaundiced view of the left tempered only by my having been a victim of it myself. The blog 'Dissecting Leftism' provides an almost daily reinforcement of my move away from it. In a sidebar, the blogger, John J. Ray sums up his own view:

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His excellent short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

Nov 16, 2014 at 6:16 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

2005 Hari:
“The climate-change deniers are rapidly ending up with as much intellectual credibility as creationists and Flat Earthers. Indeed, given that 25,000 people died in Europe in the 2003 heatwave caused by anthropogenic climate change, given that the genocide unfolding in Darfur has been exacerbated by the stresses of climate change, given that Bangladesh may disappear beneath the rising seas in the next century, they are nudging close to having the moral credibility of Holocaust deniers. They are denying the reality of a force that – unless we change the way we live pretty fast – will kill millions.”

2006: Lynas “I wonder what sentences judges might hand down at future international criminal tribunals on those who will be partially but directly responsible for millions of deaths from starvation, famine and disease in decades ahead. I put this in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial – except that this time the Holocaust is yet to come, and we still have time to avoid it”.

Nov 16, 2014 at 6:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Judging from the comments this could be a good discussion subject.

I am fascinated by the subject because as a Scot living in the South I've noticed that people I knew at school have travelled strongly to the left while I have probably travelled to the right, yet we started in the same environment.

Then we have climate science. As people here will know, the Guardian is the epicentre of the Green Blob. Very infrequently when I need a reminder that things could be worse, I have a quick look at the comments on the Guardian web site. Some of the people who comment there seem to be psychopaths full of hatred considering they stand for the caring aspects of socialism and environmental protection.

So the left (and probably the right) embrace a range of people from normal to bizarre. I am interested to know how and why they got there.

Nov 16, 2014 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Very infrequently when I need a reminder that things could be worse, I have a quick look at the comments on the Guardian web site.
Nov 16, 2014 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

SC, I similarly go to google maps and wander along the myriad streets and highways of the world that I haven't visited, and never will. Everywhere I go I see people living undoubtedly more prosperously than a generation ago, and cars. Cars. Cars everywhere.

And I feel happy for those people who are now wealthy enough to drive a car. And I remember that this prosperity is built on cheap energy. And I think of those who are going to benefit from it. And then I think of the zealots, and their models. Zealots who imagine they will sweep all this progress away and model us into their brave new world. And then I smile.

Nov 16, 2014 at 7:14 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

ATTP, it is worth a lot and I thank you for it!

Wrt to your 2nd par; in that case apologies for putting words in your mouth. And I agree with you that one should ignore labels or think about them.

So I did with respect to the term denier. Think about it. It is directed at me apparently, me who is skeptical of the Catastrophic in CAGW. I asked myself what I am denying. Because for the label to be accurate I should be denying something (notwithstanding the connotation insinuating that something to be pretty disgustingly horrible).

I deny that empiric evidence exists proving that warming by human CO2 is catastrophic and I furthermore deny that the the proposed solutions to combat human CO2 will prevent this catastrophe if it were true.

Now, I thought about it real hard, and imo that point of view is not worth the term denier. Including the connotations makes it even more of a disconnect.

So I guess I have to ignore it then. I do wrt the connotations. Most days...;-)
But the term itself. That's kinda hard to do with the whole world and their grandmother (and her Potus) using the term, I find.

Nov 16, 2014 at 7:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

In democracies, left of centre parties only survive because there is an underclass, so it is in their interest to ensure there is enough underclass to keep them in power. Right of centre parties also need an underclass so they can create incentives for them to work hard for their leaders interests, but they usually find themselves walking up the down escalator.

There will always be an underclass and AGW along with other fear strategies are the current key pillars used by mainstream parties of all colours to slow societal development and ensure the continuance of an underclass. This works on both a national and international level. It's basic Yin and Yang. If politicians had higher objectives then economics would be used as an instrument for growth as opposed to an instrument of fear and punishment.

That's why, with technological advancement, there is such a convergence in the west between the main democratic parties and low growth.

Nov 16, 2014 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

I always enjoy watching Anders (ATTP) make a fool of himself. Take his latest example:

"However, in my experience it is mostly people who complain about its use who make the comparison than people who use it."

Anders, that is because the person using the insult wants it to resonate with holocaust denial. Why else would that person use it? And it would not work as a tactic if the user of the epithet explained it by saying " I am going to call you a denier in order to link you with holocaust deniers."

However, since you have gi en many many signs of having zero reading comprehension skills, and the empathy skills of a Dalek, this will also be lost on you and will resuilt in another of your passive-aggressive "ATTP aged 12 3/4" blog posts.

Nov 16, 2014 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

John Shade, nice site! I can really see where you are coming from now. Start with the I STAND WITH ISREAL flag, add some claims that the Nazis were on the left and exaltation of Pinochet, accuse Franklin Delano Roosevelt of being a war criminal and claim that Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right and then name Abraham Lincoln as one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth and what do you get? A pretty nasty revisionist reading of history.

This is John Shade's daily reading, people. That should give you all pause for thought at who you are associating with.

Nov 16, 2014 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Some of the people who comment there seem to be psychopaths full of hatred
Nov 16, 2014 at 6:51 PM Schrodinger's Cat

SC - Some years back I was trying to find out what this global warming stuff was all about. It slowly dawned on me that it was very far from applied physics established beyond doubt - it was, at best, an untested theory.

With that realisation I then asked myself how, in the absence of objective evidence, so many people seemed utterly convinced about it. As an original insight (though I was obviously not the only one to see it) the parallels to religious belief suddenly became clear to me..

I imagine that somebody with more knowlege than me could write an interesting essay on the parallels between the hatred expressed by some CAGW believers and those expressed at various times by some religious believers.

Nov 16, 2014 at 7:35 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

@ATTP "complaints about labeling a little pathetic." "climate nigger" is acceptable ?
cos that is the way that labels "denier" "denialist" are effectively used, they are deliberately designed to demean and disempower people whose arguments don't agree with CAGW panic. ..and I think you know that .

- Alright in peoples own territory & blog there should be freedom of speech including the right to challenge and offend, but on places like the BBC would using those labels and thus preloading public debate be acceptable ?

Nov 16, 2014 at 7:47 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Martin A

Not for the first time, I share your view. The problem with a scientific issue converted to a religious belief is that the issue becomes a matter of faith and not subject to observational data, logic and rational thought.

Scientific debate becomes impossible and contrary opinion becomes blasphemy. The opponent is no longer a person of wisdom who has a different interpretation of the facts, but an evil denier with foul intentions and in the pay of Big Oil.

It is quite laughable were it not for the fact that decent scientists have been hounded out of their careers and incomes in a modern version of burning heretics at the stake.

It is a mystery to me how politicians, senior scientists, leaders in education and well meaning environmentalists have become enthralled by the hype without checking for themselves some of the millions of ridiculous and outlandish alarmist claims that so-called global warming has spawned.

Nov 16, 2014 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

"decent scientists have been hounded out of their careers and incomes"


Nov 16, 2014 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Sorry Bish,

Don't know if you intended this to happen, but I've not seen a feeding frenzy like this since the last time I went chumming for sharks. The only thing missing at the moment seems to be an appearance of the great white cornish troll.

Nov 16, 2014 at 8:36 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

ATTP postured: “This post is essentially a diatribe in which the author is labeling the Left as being failed Marxists, that accepting climate science is a form faith-based belief, and that anyone who uses the term denier has Stalinist tendencies. This appears somewhat ironic given that I haven't seen anyone who uses denier link it to the holocaust (the only ones who do so are those who complain about it) and yet someone criticising its use is happy to associate those who use it with a murderous dictator. Not that I really care, mind you. I find the whole whining about labeling a bit pathetic.”

You know full well that you support a political scam shielded by outright brazen scientific fraud the likes of the bladeless input data Marcott 2013 hockey stick media sensation widely promoted by Michael Mann and still featured on and dozens of uncorrected news articles. You also know full well that Holocaust denial (along with Creationism/flat earthism/vaccine scares/tobacco lobby) is indeed used as a direct analogy to climate alarm skepticism, here being an example in which Gavin Schmidt condemns it in the strongest manner:

Mann is himself quoted by science writer David Appell as calling for skeptics to be arrested after he knowingly invokes the same slander both your nickname and blog name invokes too, the false claim that climate *alarm* is based not on highly speculative 2-3X positive feedback scenarios in climate *models* but on the basic physics of the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide itself that skeptics are claimed to deny. If that isn't Stalinist well what is? Given power, the hockey stick team of proven Enron level scammers would have skeptics arrested for crimes against humanity, punishable by what? Death is the punishment for such crimes. Would you have us not take influential politically connected scientists at their word? Given the Orwellian historical revisionist nature of hockey sticks, Stalinist seems quite an appropriate adjective.

Nov 16, 2014 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterNikFromNYC

so "climate nigger" is acceptable ?
No, but am not sure why that is in any way relevant, nor do I have any desire to discover why you might think it is.

Nov 16, 2014 at 8:54 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

It was the oil industry that invented the word 'denier' and corporate journalists who used it on their behalf.

Opposing Views on Global Warming: The Corporate Climate Coup by Prof. David F. Noble - York University, Toronto, Canada

The second -“positive”- campaign, which emerged a decade later, in the wake of Kyoto and at the height of the anti-globalization movement, sought to get out ahead of the environmental issue by affirming it only to hijack it and turn it to corporate advantage. Modelled on a century of corporate liberal co-optation of popular reform movements and regulatory regimes, it aimed to appropriate the issue in order to moderate its political implications, thereby rendering it compatible with corporate economic, geopolitical, and ideological interests. The corporate climate campaign thus emphasized the primacy of “market-based” solutions while insisting upon uniformity and predictability in mandated rules and regulations.

At the same time it hyped the global climate issue into an obsession, a totalistic preoccupation with which to divert attention from the radical challenges of the global-justice movement. In the wake of this campaign, any and all opponents of the “deniers” have been identified – and, most importantly, have wittingly or unwittingly identified themselves – with the corporate climate crusaders. (Google scholar doc file)

Nov 16, 2014 at 8:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterE. Smiff

Green/Left are not real environmentalists and nor real socialists either

1. See their actions If they cared about the environment they'd be protesting at real environmental damage today instead of the fantasies of the future. eg at the 800 illegal large waste dumps in the UK and doing something about the large fires which break out at legal waste/recycling depots at a rate of 1 per day.
But no they prefer to gather at anti-fracking demos where there is certainly zero immediate environmental risk from fracking damage as they have all been at sites in research stage with no actual fracking likely until 2 years later.

- Nor despite the buzzword "sustainable" do they care that much about business being resilient and self sustaining. Every new green business seems to be more about applying for a grant for a subsidy that ..seemingly a never ending cycle of signing up for funding. Have any green businesses at all been weaned off the subsidy teat and can be called sustainable ?

2. Not real socialists - Take equality and wealth distribution
One of the biggest issues in the UK is that many of the existing richest families in 2014 can trace their family wealth back to land presents handed out by William the Conquer 950 years ago,( something like half the 1,000 families on the Sunday Times rich list as well). There are a lot of real socialists who frequent this site who like me would want something done about this that gives certain parents such a huge advantage irrespective of their own ingenuity and effort.
And what are these pseudo socialists of today's green/left doing ? Implementing energy policies that increase the poor's electricity bills and the cost of everything they buy in order to pay subsidies to wind/solar gimmicks on the land of those aforementioned rich families and owned by the riches BigGreenHedgefunds.
Green/left are the Marie Antoinettes saying "Let them eat renewables" (the cake of energy instead of the affordable bread &butter of economic fuels)

- Not only that, but other mad anti-industrial policies are closing the very workplaces where working class people worked and decreasing the march of the whole economy forward which will sustain future improvements in societies poorest.
Rather than push for the poor to become a lot richer from the whole pie growing bigger, today's green/left seem pre-occupied with the poor to becoming a tiny bit richer through getting bigger slice of today's small pie.

Nov 16, 2014 at 8:57 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The 'morally superior' left claim that climate science is on their side but have forgotten the basic fact that physics doesn't agree with their ideology. Their revered 'greenhouse effect'just does not exist; is an anathema to physics. Read the articles at to see why. Until they can properly explain how their arbitrarily disregarding of established physics laws (e.g. of energy conservation &:thermodynamics) is valid and those laws are not valid for climate (how?), they have no claim on the truth, and are cruelly deceiving the world, and causing untold misery and death by the imposition of CO2 regulation and taxes.

Nov 16, 2014 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterIlma

@ATTP it's called debate by pointing out logical inconsistency
ATTP says " I find the whole whining about labeling a bit pathetic."
to the question "Is the label "climate nigger" is acceptable ? ATTP replies "no" it seems he would support whining about labelling

ATTP said "No, but am not sure why that is in any way relevant" - that was explained when I made the post

", nor do I have any desire to discover why you might think it is."
...2 logical errors there
1. If you look back you'll see earlier ATTP expressed a desire have a dialogue ... now he says "nor do I have any desire to discover"
2. Argument in bad faith by misrepresenting opponents : He makes an accusation that I said the label "climate nigger" is acceptable ..When clearly anyone can read back and see I simply asked a question, not a statement.

Nov 16, 2014 at 9:18 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Raff - Bob Carter, Murry Salby, Lennart Bengtsson to name just some of the recent ones.

Judith curry survived.

If you step out of line you forfeit your job. Your colleagues don't thank you for bringing into question their pseudo science and the gravy train it justifies.

Nov 16, 2014 at 9:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Raff and ATTP are in full derailing mode again. Please don't feed their pathetic, attention-seeking (or worse) behaviour.

I think the comparisons to religion, while handy shorthand, are not particularly useful - unless you substitute the word "religion" for any strongly held belief. And that's just lazy thinking. There are plenty of sceptics who are also committed to various religious beliefs of the conventional stripe. What does that make them? Does that put their spiritual convictions in the same category as alarmism? That's pretty insulting, not to mention wrong. They don't go about calling those who don't subscribe to their religion names and trying to undermine them personally and professionally, for example.

We need to go back to the pragmatic test, IMO. Never mind what people say, watch what they do. Forget the motives (real or feigned) and look at the consequences of the actions. That to me is what the head post is about.

There is certainly a strong authoritarian streak in the Left, and it comes from self-righteousness. But people sitting quietly at home feeling self-righteous harms no-one. It is when they start meddling in other people's affairs and trying to impose their views that the harm occurs. In the case of the authoritarian green movement, it is the conviction that, having purified their own souls, it only remains to ensure that the rest of the population does the same, by whatever means necessary. It is about mandating compliance with their beliefs.

This is contrary to the religious beliefs of the vast majority of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, animists - in fact, the only important outlier is militant Islam.

The modern Left in wealthy democracies has little resemblance to the early trade union movement (which was socially conservative), and the modern environmental movement has little resemblance to the pioneers who fought for clean air and water, and the establishment of nature reserves. The pioneers' goals in both cases have largely been achieved, but like all institutions, they seek to ever expand their remit even when they have become obsolete. In doing this, they have betrayed the principles and people that they were founded on.

Nov 16, 2014 at 9:20 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

If you look back you'll see ATTP expressed a desire have a dialogue
No I didn't. I expressed the view that an actual dialogue wasn't possible. You appear to be proving my point. I might have inferred that I would prefer dialogue to be possible, but that isn't the same as having a desire to have dialogue.

He makes an accusation that I said the label "climate nigger" is acceptable
Again, I didn't and, in fact, I wasn't even trying to infer that. What I really meant was that I had no desire to discover why you thought I might think it acceptable (which I don't).

Nov 16, 2014 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

There is no left, left anywhere. There is no one pushing for state control of anything. Miliband is more vile than Thatcher and James Purnell was ten times more vile than Ian Duncan Smith.

Nov 16, 2014 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterE. Smiff

I second John Shade’s appreciation of John Ray's blogs, the footer of his PC Watch posts including this insight:

“American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.”

Given how due process rights for men on campus are now being purposefully compromised by the Obama administration, this warning is more important than ever. I can at least be happy my old Columbia chemistry professors were extremely skeptical of environmental and toxicity scares in general, so much so that to this day they simply scoff at climate “science” as being about as worthy of protesting as bias in sociology, psychology or anthropology. However it's also sad that they will suffer some of the backlash for not speaking up after Climategate, but the topic is rather obscure for such busy people. When it became more expensive to dispose of trivial quantities of chemicals than to buy them in the first place, most benchtop chemists became deeply cynical towards environmental alarm.

Remember though, Obama has been loudly protecting climatology from criticism ever since Climategate exposed it as questionable. In a mere two years the Obamacare lies will likely afford no more such protection, and working scientists will be free to speak up finally without being IRS audited like Lubos Motl twice was when at Harvard.

Nov 16, 2014 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterNikFromNYC

I've noticed that the word "denier" is being applied to an ever wider set of views. Now even "luke warmers" are thrown into the bucket, and indeed anyone who questions any aspect of a fairly narrow set of beliefs on the climate. As an example, if you say "I believe in AGW but sea levels are not rising as cataclysmically as many suggest" the "D" word is almost certainly going to get used.

And I encourage this. The more broadly it's used, the more ineffective this obnoxious epithet becomes.

Nov 16, 2014 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterrabbit

Raff - Bob Carter, Murry Salby, Lennart Bengtsson to name just some of the recent ones.

Judith curry survived.

Nov 16, 2014 at 9:18 PM | Schrodinger's Cat
Ms. Curry (whom God preserve) did survive, but has been the object of egregious abuse from a certain Dr. Michael Mann. Indeed, Ms. Curry has noted that she could sue Dr. Mann for that which Dr. Mann is suing Mark Steyn; however, she is not going to, noting that "it is not the American way". That's the America I like.

Nov 16, 2014 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

...This appears somewhat ironic given that I haven't seen anyone who uses denier link it to the holocaust...

I don't think anyone believes ATTP when he makes ingenuous statements like this. We all know that 'holocaust denial' is actually defined as a criminal act in many European countries. He is scraping the bottom of the barrel for things to disagree with, finding nothing, and being forced to manufacture artificial points of contention.

Why, I don't know. He is completely uninterested in discussion - most of his posts are simply name-calling. I get the impression that some of his fundamental beliefs are crumbling, and he blames Bishop Hill in some way...?

Nov 16, 2014 at 9:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

No, Dodgy, he and his pal Raff are delighted that you and others on this thread have risen to his smelly bait and derailed the discussion. They are trying to play us like Pavlov's dogs and clutter the thread with irrelevancies.

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

Nov 16, 2014 at 10:06 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

It's amusing to see ATTP fish for skeptics to offer a soft landing for the climate alarm scam via legitimizing blatant fraud with “dialog,” being a typical example of the negotiation phase of grief, here being the loss of power and a righteous halo. ATTP is right in a way, but their linguistic approach is dishonest, since the proper response to exposed fraud (i.e. repeated headline grabbing promotion of the lie that tide gauges reveal a strong recent AGW signal instead of no trend change at all) isn't “dialog,” but an investigation, sanctioning, and possible convictions just like happens in healthy sciences like genetics where fame seeking fraud is also common.

Realizing you're in a state sanctioned inquisitional doomsday cult with a profoundly anti-scientific outlook that replaces real science with careerist consensus must be worthy of real grief. That it's collapse will likely take progressive politics down with it means grief for millions of sincere activists. Just wait till angry activists turn on climate alarmists too. Many good people have been willfully deceived and the anger hasn't even started to brew, but I predict it comes swiftly as soon as damage control kicks in, about two years from now.

Nov 16, 2014 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterNikFromNYC

FWIW, I really wasn't trying to derail the thread, so apologies if that is what has happened. I was really just trying to point out that, in my view, posts like this are an illustration of why any kind of meaning dialogue is probably not possible. With some exceptions, you've all done a wonderful job of illustrating why that may well be true. Of course, it could just be that it's not possible with me. So maybe others could also try so that we could try to build up a statistically significant sample ;-)

Nov 16, 2014 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

John Shade on Nov 16, 2014 at 6:16 PM
"Leftists are more faith-based."

Schrodinger's Cat on Nov 16, 2014 at 6:51 PM
" 'Some of the people who comment there seem to be psychopaths full of hatred considering they stand for the caring aspects of socialism and environmental protection.'

So the left (and probably the right) embrace a range of people from normal to bizarre. I am interested to know how and why they got there."

The 'Left' certainly won't give up what they believe, but faith is having confidence or trust in a person or thing. It does not mean misinterpreting what 'higher authorities' have said, and enforcing it on others, which is what they do. Knowing and understanding the truth is wisdom. Having faith requires NOT knowing, but still having confidence in that person or that the idea is still worth pursuing, that reality will be that little bit closer. It requires constructing a personal understanding, hence, nullius in verba!

I see the 'Leftists' mistaken assumption to be that it is selfish to help yourself (so they stay crippled through ignorance, a lack of resources and a fear of questioning authority to gain a better understanding). They must help others, whether the others want help or not, but these other people are 'stupid' because they are not 'like minded', so the authoritarian qualities come to the fore.

I don't think it is a Left/Right thing. It confuses the issue: the French FN is always described as right wing, but it is Socialist, which I thought was on the Left! And many on the Right want smaller government; they think the State spending more than 50% of the wealth created is too much. So the Left and the Right have different views of what the Right is, though there is agreement as to what the Left is!

We are talking about those who see everything through a political lens, where the politics is always more important than common sense, the experimental results or the plain obviousness of reality. Heirarchy comes first, even when there are two or three gathered together. It is the only way to enforce the authoritarianism!

We see many people duped into being submissive, being used, so earning a small part of the most successful movement ever, not only now, but for ALL TIME. And then some inquisitive, uncertain guy asks, "where did the Middle Age Warm Period go?", and their world view crumbles, or should! No wonder they won't give up what they believe. Hence Schrodinger's Cat's observation about Guardian posts.

Nov 16, 2014 at 11:11 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

I once proposed a six name classification for those involved in the climate debate.

Alarmists go beyond the evidence in predicting disaster.

Warmists regard the evidence as indicating a problem serious enough to require significant changes in our practices.

Accepters accept the scientific evidence that climate is changing, ascribe it to AGW and usually regard it as a problem.

Lukwwarmers accept AGW but do not regard it as a problem

Sceptics accept some evidence for climate change regard it as as insufficient and regard it as due to natural variation and not a problem.

Deniers do not accept any evidence for climate change.

The problem is that the whole debate has been politicaed to the point that, to their opponents, every accepter becomes an alarmist and every lukewarmer becomes a denier.

Nov 16, 2014 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Entropic man

You conveniently forgot right wing, eco fascist nut.

Nov 16, 2014 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterE. Smiff


Was that a joke, or are you illustrating the difficulty of debating climate change without demonizing your opponent?

Nov 17, 2014 at 12:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

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