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Opinion: Say it ain't so, Joe

GlobalPost columnist Michael Moran recalls his brush with the climate change thought police.

I had forgotten the incident until a few weeks ago, when what the Right has now dubbed “Climate-gate” erupted in Britain. For those not familiar with the tale, hackers broke into the database holding communications of climate researchers at the University of East Anglia — one of the world’s leading climatology institutions — only to discover what looks to anyone acquainted with the concept of “objectivity” very much like a concerted effort among the world’s leading scientific thinkers to silence anyone who dared to challenge their research.

Predictably — and sadly for the planet — the usual suspects have piled on, claiming to have at least exposed the lie beneath this “hoax” we call climate change. The moral here, of course, is that the suppression of facts, once exposed, destroys any possibility that facts will ever have the impact they should have. The water is permanently muddied by the sophistry of zealots like “Joe” and his friends at East Anglia.

The adoption of this false moral high ground is an old trick: Anti-communists were particularly good at it during the Cold War, but communists practiced the art wonderfully, too. An old saying in the Spanish Civil War declared “anyone to my left is my brother, to my right, a target for my gun.”

If the Earth dries up and life shrivels away, will the thought police of the climate wars bear as much responsibility as those who willfully deny the phenomenon out of economic or political motivations? Of course not. But those who would rather suppress debate than engage in it fairly wind up helping the enemy. I’m not afraid of James Inhofe, and I really find it funny someone with a Ph.D. from MIT would be.

Now, such tactics have super-powered the opposition to rational action. Congratulations, bloggers! I’m sure you’ll all sleep well tonight as action in Copenhagen gets further watered down by the firestorm you’ve created. Yes, your motives are pure, but your methods are fascist.

Michael Moran, a columnist for GlobalPost, was executive editor of from 2005 to 2009. During his tenure, his crisis guide series won two Emmy awards.