Last month I highlighted the bizarre suggestion by the Green Party that in response to the flooding all government ministers and advisors who were sceptical of climate change should be sacked. Memorably when given the opportunity to refine and tone down this suggestion the leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett claimed that even those advisers with no connection to environmental issues should be sacked if they do not accept climate change. The BBC suggested the Chief Veterinary and Chief Medical Officers as posts unrelated to climate change and Ms. Bennett repeated her position.
Tongue in cheek I described this as Vegetarian Stalinism and suggested there might need to be reeducation camps in Brighton. At least one Greeney on twitter seemed to see the joke suggesting Gulags on the South Downs.
Now to prove that if you think of a ridiculous parody idea someone, somewhere will have thought of it seriously and that academics can at times be so foolish as to be beyond parody.
Dr. Lawrence Torcello Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology has suggested criminalising scientists disagreeing with climate change:
We have good reason to consider the funding of climate denial to be criminally and morally negligent. The charge of criminal and moral negligence ought to extend to all activities of the climate deniers who receive funding as part of a sustained campaign to undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus.
He explains this “interesting” position by pointing to the infamous case where six Italian scientists were gaoled for failing adequately to communicate the risks of the L’Aquila earthquake to the public.
Dr. Torcello goes on:
My argument probably raises an understandable, if misguided, concern regarding free speech. We must make the critical distinction between the protected voicing of one’s unpopular beliefs, and the funding of a strategically organised campaign to undermine the public’s ability to develop and voice informed opinions. Protecting the latter as a form of free speech stretches the definition of free speech to a degree that undermines the very concept.
The advance towards the Vegetarian Stalinism of the new bearded sandal wearing 1984 continues apace. The Gulags on the South Downs may be needed soon. For the meantime can I recommend Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler: it might give the Green Inquisitors some ideas about how to ensure appropriate confessions.