12 October 2006

An Enviro-Inquisition?

The Roman Catholic Inquisition was a trial of those who rejected Roman orthodoxy. There was a 'correct' view of things; and rejection of that view was so harmful to the soul as to constitute murder, making heresy a crime punishable by death. It's nice to think that nothing like that could happen in our day. But is that true? I happen to think not. I happen to think that there are plenty of people--not all of them religionists--who have their own forms of orthodox beliefs, for which they are willing to do perhaps everything short of giving the death penalty.

Maybe some environmentalists are like that.

Some of the big news today is the desire of Grist blogger David Roberts that the day come when the global warming deniers tried Nuremberg-style as war criminals. Roberts has been criticized for asserting that people who disagree with liberals ought to be tried for it. (See, for example, author and reader comments here.) The outcry has been so great that his retraction made news today.

I have no desire to come to the defense of leftists—and you may color me a global warming sceptic—but Roberts’ was a bit more nuanced than he’s been reported. He was responding to
an excerpt from George Monbdiot’s book, Heat. Monbiot makes assertions which, if true, would mean that certain corporations know that their products are producing global warming and are doing their level best to suppress the evidence, including the bribing of scientists (for all practical purposes) to produce results favorable to them.

Even a sceptic such as myself can see the rationality of Roberts saying that if these organizations and corporations are doing what Monbiot claims they are doing then they ought to be tried. Frankly, the number and size of the corporations and organizations involved would make such a trial so large as to be on the same par with the Nuremberg trials. We may find the war crimes aspect of it distasteful, but let’s be fair. If—and it is a big ‘if’—global warming and all its putative consequences are and become reality, Roberts’ sentiment isn’t unreasonable. Suppressing the evidence would be something tantamount to obstruction of justice and a crime against humanity, all for the sake of higher profits.

Some seem to have taken particular offense at the allusion to the holocaust involved in seeking Nuremberg-style trials. As a proud, committed ‘Jew lover’—Zionist, even—I really don’t see the problem. The holocaust was a crime against God--or humanity if you can't handle the alternative. On Roberts’ view, the crime perpetrated by the corporations and organizations would be nothing less than a differently-achieved holocaust. Or are we going to believe that only Jews are allowed to be victims of a crime so heinous that it calls for something on a par with Nuremberg to execute justice?

I may disagree with Roberts on global warming, but he really wasn't calling for something like an inquistion.


About Me

James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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