Saturday, April 10, 2021
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Rick Perry and the Climate Libel

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos)

The mark of the most backwards and destructive governments in history has been their suppression of science, reason and intellectuals in favor of paranoid conspiracy theories.

So listen to likely GOP presidential frontrunner Rick Perry: "There are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects."

You may have become so used to hearing such comments from right wing political rabble rousers and phone-hacking media outlets that they don't shock you anymore. If so, think about this: a man who could conceivably become president is proposing to lead a witch hunt against scientists for the crime of seeking the truth. In memory of the victims of past mass hysterias, let's call it The Climate Libel.

When times are bad, sometimes the people choose a leader like FDR, with the positive vision to pull them out of the rut into a better world.  And sometimes, in desperation, they choose a leader like the guys FDR had to defeat.

Scapegoating is a tried and true political tactic almost as old as civilization itself.  After a natural disaster, the ancient Greeks would drive a beggar, crook or disabled person into exile in order to purify the city.  Scapegoating since has ranged from the Salem Witch Trials to Southern lynch mobs to the McCarthy era to the bloodbaths of Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda.  

Many of these cases have a few characteristics in common. It's important to note these in order to anticipate the pattern and be ready to defend our scientists if they are indeed the next class to be thrown to the wolves so as to rile up the masses and distract everyone from what's really going on.