Last week, over at Issues & Insights, the I&I editorial board put forth that climate activists are in fact cult members. They make a good argument, but there’s one bit I don’t see. Excerpts, with my comments, follow.
We feel confident in saying that not a single prediction of global warming catastrophe has occurred. The alarmists know their forecasts of doom have been comically wrong. But rather than admit their errors, they point to natural events as evidence that they’re not wrong and keep warning us that the end is near.
There must be something wrong with them.
It was David Viner, a senior research scientist at the University of East Anglia’s climatic research unit, who told the Independent in 2000 that within just a few years, winter snow was going to become “a very rare and exciting event.”
“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said, 22 years before snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere reached a record high.
Retired meteorologist Anthony Watts called Viner’s foolish statement “likely one of the most cited articles ever that illustrates the chutzpah and sheer hubris on display from a climate scientist who was so certain he could predict the future with certainty.”
But it is articles precisely like this that attain immortality, and which are cited again and again not just by activists but by a compliant, cult-friendly legacy media. And yes, many of the foot soldiers of the movement exhibit many of the traits of cult followers: A willingness to overlook conflicting data, the demonization of dissenters, and an ossified outlook that is not amenable to change for any reason.
Viner is of course only one of many climate doomsday prophets who have made forecasts that seemed more like the rantings of a mental hospital patient. Their miserable record has been covered by esteemed columnists, reputable think tanks, and occasionally the media. There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to climate change predictions.
At this point it’s fair to ask: What is the difference, if any, between the climate alarmists and the religious cults that predict the end of the world, and rather than humbly rethink their premises after their predictions fail, claim that they just got the day wrong and double down on the loco?
There is little difference, for the reasons I just cited above – on the parts of the movements’ foot soldiers. And that clarification is key.
Our answer: The only real difference is that while the doomsday cults have no political power and are routinely skewered by the media, the climate alarmists have nearly unchallenged political clout, deep and wide institutional patronage, and the uncritical support of a press that is not merely sympathetic but actively promotes a deception agenda.
Just as a religious cult has zero tolerance for questions or critical inquiry (one of the warning signs that a group or a leader is potentially unsafe), the climate alarmist community has tried to keep its research safe from scientific scrutiny.
Another warning sign of cult activity, according to the Cult Education Institute, is “uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation.” This is a hallmark of climate alarmists, from researchers who keep making claims as if they’re reading from a script, to protesters who constantly repeat meaningless phrases found on the bumper sticker of a 2007 Prius.
Again, yes – for the followers. Those aren’t necessarily the motivations of the movement’s leaders.
The leaders of the climate cult movement, both the politicians who push for “action” and the supposed scientists who push debunked data, for sure and for certain, have other motivations. On the part of the politicians in particular, the reason is obvious: Graft. The prime examples were and still are Climate Czar John Effing Kerry with his mansions, private jet and fleet of yachts. Then you have Al Gore, one of the founders of the whole thing, and his enormous Tennessee mansion with its massive carbon footprint. Gore banked a lot of money with his “carbon offset” scheme.
Then there are the Hollywood types, who fly off in private jets and cruise in huge private mega-yachts to attend climate conferences, in which they finger-wag at we peasants who have the temerity to defy the Holy Word by driving SUVs and pickup trucks. Their motivation, as with pretty much their entire lives, is publicity – and it’s working for them.
The foot soldiers of the climate movement are loud, loutish and annoying. But the leaders – many of them – wield power, and it is their agenda on which we must stay appraised.