Tuesday, February 06, 2007


We sometimes overlook the most obvious connection between deniers, those who deny global warming, those who deny evolution and those who deny the holocaust.

They suffer from the same kind of
groupthink and conspiracy theories.

Its not denial they say, it's debate they want, the facts are not irrefutable, there is evidence to the contrary.

For a long time Bradley Smith has tried to present himself as an honest chap, a champion of intellectual freedom simply seeking an "open debate"about the "holocaust controversy [sic]." But this debate is a sham. The so-called holocaust controversy does not exist. It is the invention of a collection of long-time anti-Semites and apologists for Hitler.

On the surface
, Holocaust deniers portray themselves as individuals and groups engaged in a legitimate, dispassionate quest for historical knowledge and "truth."

Dressing themselves in pseudo-academic garb, they have adopted the term "revisionism" in order to mask and legitimate their enterprise. After all, the ongoing challenge to and revision of previously accepted historical interpretation is one of the hallmarks of the professional historian's craft.

Of course most holocaust deniers are right wing kooks that even other right wingers disavow or do they? Not so. Once upon a time they had powerful business backers, and in many cases still do today.

Like Robert Welch Jr. who founded the John Birch Society. Today the Birchites focus their criticism on immigration, legal or illegal and the UN. There are many in a variety of right wing movements, like the Minutemen, whose roots go back to the sixties and the World Anti-Bolshevik Movement which gave succour to post WWII fascists.

The right wing is inundated with conspiracy theorists, holocaust deniers and neo-fascists. And ideological differences aside they are part of the 'mainstream' right, they are backed by private business interests and the tactics they have developed over fifty years of lobbying in the United States remain the same.

Because they are effective. Deny that your opponents have evidence, claim something is a theory, not a fact and viola, their views are challenged for there creditability.

Thus the same argumentative tactic used to deny the holocaust is used to deny evolution and used to deny climate change. It is groupthink on the right. And the argumentative style does not change, the subject of the attack does.

And it is always tinged with conspiracy theory, that the scientific or historical facts are being foisted on us because it is consensus reality, consensus of those in power it is not the 'real thing'.

So all the historians that accept the holocaust are establishment historians not 'real' historians. Scientists that accept evolution or global warming are not 'real' scientists.

The only place that a climate change science consensus exists is in what Essex and McKitrick call 'Official Science', the collective voice of governments and other so-called 'science authorities'. But this is not real science.

The Climate Change Deniers have money and powerful connections they have used to discredit their opponents, in this case other scientists and academics. And sometimes do so to end careers, literally terrifying their opponents into silence. Certainly a form of fascism.

"There is a strategy to single out individuals, tarnish them and try to bring the whole of the science into disrepute," he says. "And Kevin [Trenberth] is a likely target." Mann agrees that the scientists behind the upcoming IPCC report are in for a rough ride. "There is already an orchestrated campaign against the IPCC by climate change contrarians," he says.

Many of the IPCC's authors, some of whom asked not to be named, say this is a smokescreen. They claim there is an extensive network of lobby groups and scientists involved in making the case against the IPCC and its reports. Automobile, coal and oil companies have coordinated and funded past attacks on them, the scientists say. Sometimes this has been done through Washington lobby groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), whose officers include Myron Ebell, a former climate negotiator for George W. Bush's administration. Recently, the CEI made television advertisements arguing against climate change, one of which ended with the words: "Carbon dioxide, they call it pollution, we call it life." CEI's past funders include ExxonMobil, General Motors and the Ford Motor Company.

The money trail

Some sceptical scientists are funded directly by industry. In July, The Washington Post published a leaked letter from the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA), an energy company based in Colorado, that exhorted power companies to support the work of the prominent sceptic Pat Michaels of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Worried about the potential cost of cleaning up coal-fired power plants to reduce their CO2 emissions, IREA's general manager, Stanley Lewandowski, wrote: "We believe that it is necessary to support the scientific community that is willing to stand up against the alarmists... In February this year, IREA alone contributed $100,000 to Dr Michaels."

The Fraser Institutes response to the IPCC report was a long time in the making, and a coordinated effort between them and the anti-climate change lobby, the flat earthers, in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. And the organizations, front groups really, are all interconnected.

It was planned years ago, as new front organizations sprung up over the past three years in preparation for the IPCC report. While the Fraser Institute like its American counter-part the Cato Institute have existed since the seventies, groups like Canada's
Natural Resources Stewardship Project, and the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition are all relatively new lobbying groups. Even the older Friends of Science. was only created in 2002.

The push was on by the right and their big business backers when they saw the writing on the wall after Kyoto was signed. One faction of capitalism endorsed Kyoto, another was ambivalent, and a handful, but a powerful handful, vehmently opposed Kyoto.

Having lost the war they now engage in a protracted series of battles to attempt to inundate doubt in the public mind, using fronts like Junk Science.com and Fox News, various assorted right wing media mouthpieces in Canada, Europe and America. They know they have lost, but if in anyway they can hold back radical changes required to deal with the heat death of the planet, to save their industries they will. Victory to them is to delay change.

And they will never go away, another issue will come to the fore that they can delay, attack, undermine, and deny. And the consipiratorial politics of denial will once again be used.

The Right Wing exposes the Janus nature of the ruling class. One face appeals to the public as liberal, seeking to ameliorate the worst excesses of capitalism, the other jingoist, nativist, reactionary seeks to dominate through demagoguery and populism. One is enlightened capitalism the other is fascism. Both are false choices.

The alternative is, as it has always been for the past one hundred years, Barbarism or Socialism.


Fraser Institute


Conspiracy Theory



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Jordan Alcock said...

Seems to me you forgot to mention other prominent conspiracy theories that might not fit your model so well:

- 9/11 "truthers"
- Grassy Knollers
- Illuminati conspiracy propogandists
- People who deny the moon-landing
- Those who say that the U.S. engineered Pearl Harbour

And, sorry to say it - your side has easilly secured the anti-semetic side of the fence.

Your argument is falacious - The only groupthink going on is ON the side of kyoto/global warming theory. You mention that you don't buy all the science and people act as if you're some sort of heretic.

now that is groupthink!

eugene plawiuk said...

And if I even do a cursory review of your other conspiracy theories I find right wingers prominant there too.
But of course you are right your ideas are not groupthink, they are the ideas of everyone. Which reminds me of the saying; the ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class.

Tom Harris said...

You can't seriously use SourceWatch as a source concerning much on this topic - I have told their editor many times about their continued mistakes but they refuse to change their entries.

In reality, NRSP is funded by Canadians from all walks of life from coast to coast - I got five new ones today for example, two at $100 each and the other three $50.

We used to identify "NRSP Patrons", for example two Toronto-based elderly Order of Canada recipients who each gave $10,000 to start our group, but the attacks against anyone who dares contest, or supports those who contest, the science of Kyoto is so uncivilized I generally do not volunteer those names any more. No one likes to get 3 am phone calls and nasty e-mails, as those on our side frequently get from extremists, so we no longer publicize our contributors. That may change in the future if our opponents start to behave in a more mature fashion. Certainly we wouldn’t dream of hassling those who disagree with us that way they have attacked us (which to me reveals the weakness in their position).

If you have a look at my old, somewhat amateurish Web site, www.iosphere.net/~tharris, you can see I have been writing about this topic for about 9 years, well before NRSP existed. Of course the non-government, non-industry scientists we work with have worked in the field much longer.


Tom Harris, B. Eng., M. Eng. (thermofluids)
Executive Director
Natural Resources Stewardship Project
P.O. Box 23013
Ottawa, Ontario K2A 4E2

Web: www.nrsp.com