The Strange Case Of Robert F. Kennedy Jr: Or, Jail Climate Deniers!

No, this isn’t a shooting-fish-in-a-barrel take-down of yet another bug-witted politician who has stayed long past his expiration date. We’re after something deeper today.

Here in a piece (“What States’ Attorneys General Can Do About Climate Deniers”) under his name at the ultra-left Huffington Post (running a curiously old picture of the man), is Kennedy’s opening:

Hysterics at the right-wing think tanks and their acolytes at The Washington Times, talk radio and the blogosphere, are foaming in apoplexy because I supposedly suggested that “all climate deniers should be jailed.”…Of course, I never said that. I support the First Amendment which makes room for any citizen to, even knowingly, spew far more vile lies without legal consequence.

Well, technically he’s right. He never said “all”, but here is a link to a video which has him (at the People’s Climate March) calling for the invention of new laws, and prosecution under old ones, including “treason”, of so-called deniers. Depends on all the meanings of all, I suppose.

He continues:

I do, however, believe that corporations which deliberately, purposefully, maliciously and systematically sponsor climate lies should be given the death penalty. This can be accomplished through an existing legal proceeding known as “charter revocation.” State Attorneys General can invoke this remedy whenever corporations put their profit-making before the “public welfare.”

He slips in “death penalty”, allowing his dimmer readers (this is the Huffington Post) to infer he means it in its literal, cut-their-throats sense. Only later does he reveal it’s a euphemism for some obscure law which has the power to unincorporate corporations. So not real death, but slow asphyxiation by the removal of the means of livelihood. After this legalese is forgotten, he slips in at the end with, “The notion that a State Attorney General might actually execute one of these villains is not a pipe dream.”

His charge:

For over a decade, petroleum industry behemoths led by Koch Industries and ExxonMobil, have waged a successful multi-million dollar propaganda blitz to mislead the public about global warming using the same techniques honed by Big Tobacco in its campaign to hoodwink the public about smoking.

It never does any good to tell people that you get nothing or next to nothing for your work in skeptical climate science (my total, from all sources, is fast reaching double digits). They don’t believe it. No, it’s worse than that. It’s like telling a UFO hunter that the government isn’t engaged in a secret cover-up. Of course you would deny the cover-up! That means there’s a cover-up!

Next week, in a review of Alex Epstein’s forthcoming The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, we’ll learn the opposite of Kennedy’s charge is true: that oil companies have done everything except abandon oil in order to conform publicly to Kennedy’s religion.

And how much money does Big Green—Greenpeace, Sierra Club, the federal government through the EPA, USDA, etc.—pump into the system? I’ve seen many estimates, but by any count the amount dwarfs what skeptics receive.

Kennedy mentions some “culprits”, like Cato and Heartland, and says:

Like the Tobacco Institute and CTR, these front groups are snake pits for sociopaths. Run by venomous carbon industry toadies, they stable a craven menagerie of propaganda wizards, slick biostitutes, tobacco scientists, snake oil hucksters, voodoo economists and other so-called “experts” employed to publish beguiling studies, appear on TV and radio, and write deceptive articles critiquing the “flawed science” predicting climate change.

I have to admit liking that last sentence, though I haven’t any idea what a “biostitutes” is. We have seen time and again that “believers” like Kennedy have almost no understanding of climatology. They couldn’t define, say, a sigma coordinate system to save their lunches, let alone their lives. There is complete mystification over what convective available potential energy could mean. To them, the satellite inverse problem sounds like a vague oxymoron.

But it doesn’t matter. Belief is all they are after, and belief is what they get. Their belief is raw, primal. We’ve seen enough to know that environmentalism is pure religion, based on the false and ridiculous idea that Nature somewhere exists in its pristine, non-human state.

This is why questions are heresy, why Kennedy can foolishly call for his enemies to be jailed or executed. This deluded man isn’t the only one. Here is an abbreviated list of enviro-worshippers full of bloodlust: here, here, here, here.

Nature—a living god—must be appeased.

So the real question for discussion is, not the state of Kennedy’s sanity, but how this religion will progress. Ideas?


  1. We could play the ISIS card but why give them examples and precedents. I wonder what his father would have said about this.

  2. I suspect that he knows that billions have been pumped into the research and PR on his side of the issue. Thus the cognitive dissonance of the amateurs winning the debate must be resolved. The answer has been tried before and is betrayed by this quote “they stable a craven menagerie of propaganda wizards”. This can be interpreted in two ways. Literally, that wizards and witches are working their evil designs (those cows didn’t go dry on their own) or that Sam Slick and his carnival huckster friends are taking advantage of us poor honest folks. It is also likely that he is riding the wave of hysteria, and helping to generate it, for political reasons much as was the reason behind the Salem witch trials according to Murray Rothbard. This never ends well for either friend or foe. The stakes must be continually raised util no one dares climb off the tiger (a favorite analogy of mine).

    “how this religion will progress. Ideas?” I don’t think that it is really a religion although I have noticed that many established churches have adapted it as their own much as they have always been partial to socialist ideas in general.

  3. Michael Crichton wrote an essay on environmentalism as a religion. AGW is an article of faith. People that deny the AGW are heretics who should be burned at the stake. Kennedy wants to bring on the environmental inquisition and the auto-de-fe.

  4. Is there some “vilest language used in public by an official”-competition in the States?

    A politician of civil servant using that kind of language over here would be out of a job very quickly indeed.

  5. Sander: Quite possibly. Politicians and Hollywood types seem quite emboldened at this point in time.

  6. Sander,

    Is there some “vilest language used in public by an official”-competition in the States?

    It seems that way doesn’t it. My view is that much of it can be explained by the next election campaign now beginning the morning after the previous election. Add to that, the past 15 years or so have been filled with some significant and visible blunders with all the finger-pointing those kind of foul-ups entail.

    A politician of civil servant using that kind of language over here would be out of a job very quickly indeed.

    What particularly annoys me is that many partisans expect their elected officials and favored pundits to engage in such rhetoric, yet complain bitterly about the other side for doing the same thing. Demagoguery is nothing new, of course, but the race to the bottom goes more quickly when the avenues for spreading it are near infinite and instantaneous.

  7. Totally unrelated. I made bread the other day. I needed water at 104F. I had an instant read meat thermometer handy. I put it into the water and took a reading. I then added my yeast. Being a lazy guy, I mixed my yeast in with the thermometer. There is an eye opening experience.

    The temperature spiked 10 degrees. Were there “hot spots” in the water.

    So I repeated.

    Several times.

    Turns out convection comes into play. The purpose of Stevenson Screens is made absolutely clear. The tenths of a degree are for show.

  8. So the real question for discussion is, not the state of Kennedy’s sanity, but how this religion will progress. Ideas?

    Expanding on DAV’s comment above, assuming some ISIS (or ISIL, or IS) cell captured (a) a group of people like RFK jr. and (b) a group of people like Exxon-Mobile people and Koch Brothers, would they have a preference for which group should be decapitated immediately for shock effect and/or because there is no value to keeping them alive?

    The second more interesting question is if ISIS did have a clear preference, would the group kept alive for whatever reasons be thereby implicated as somehow partaking in evil because obviously evil people found them at least temporarily useful?

    Or does it matter why ISIS keeps someone alive? If a prisoner is allowed to live because he knows how to run an oil refinery or some other installation which provides material support for ISIS, is that make said prisoner more ignoble that one kept alive because the threat to kill him is just as effective as actually carrying it out (and can be repeated daily)?

    To bring this into focus, if ISIS managed to capture both RFK jr. and one of the Koch brothers, which one would they execute first? Which one would bring a larger ransom? Which one would cause Obama to cancel a foursome?

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