University of Graz (Austria) professor Richard Parncutt has no training in the hard sciences. He’s a professor of systemic musicology. He also claims that he opposes the death penalty for murderers, on the logic that killing killers does not bring the dead back to life.
But on his university’s website, he wrote out a lengthy and quite logical argument proposing the death penalty for those who hold an opinion that differs from his, on the subject of global warming. Or climate change. Whatever they’re calling it this week.
Parncutt wrote the piece, then heard from critics and lawyers and probably from his employer, the University of Graz. So he retracted it, and replaced it on the university’s web site with an apology intended to make the professor sound harmless as a kitten. His university surely called him into the dean’s office for a chat.
Too late, Professor Parncutt, the Internet is indelible. You may read his proposal to wield the power of the state to kill people over their scientific opinions here. It’s chilling for its cheery call to kill. Parncutt writes:
If my argument is correct, it has clear political consequences. Here is a scenario for what might happen if my argument is broadly accepted, both democratically and politically.
- The universal declaration of human rights and every national constitution would be amended to include the rights of future generations. Incidentally, that would also make national debts illegal, because they oblige future generations to pay them. Getting rid of national debts would in turn solve an important aspect of the “global financial crisis” (more), which currently belongs to the list of common excuses for not investing money in the prevention of GW.
- The proposed legal change would be announced and widely publicized for an extended period before it came into force. During that time, GW deniers would have a chance to change their ways and escape punishment.
- The police would start to identify the most influential GW deniers who had not responded to the changed legal situation. These individuals would then be charged and brought to justice.
If a jury of suitably qualified scientists estimated that a given GW denier had already, with high probability (say 95%), caused the deaths of over one million future people, then s/he would be sentenced to death. The sentence would then be commuted to life imprisonment if the accused admitted their mistake, demonstrated genuine regret, AND participated significantly and positively over a long period in programs to reduce the effects of GW (from jail) – using much the same means that were previously used to spread the message of denial. At the end of that process, some GW deniers would never admit their mistake and as a result they would be executed. Perhaps that would be the only way to stop the rest of them. The death penalty would have been justified in terms of the enormous numbers of saved future lives.
After logically working through the numbers of dead he believes global warming “deniers” will be responsible for, and therefore why said “deniers” deserve to die, Parncutt concludes that future generations will regard him as a hero.
Right now, in the year 2012, these ideas will seem quite crazy to most people. People will be saying that Parncutt has finally lost it. But there is already enough evidence on the table to allow me to make the following prediction: If someone found this document in the year 2050 and published it, it would find general support and admiration. People would say I was courageous to write the truth, for a change. Who knows, perhaps the Pope would even turn me into a saint. Presumably there will still be a Pope, and maybe by then he will even have realised that condoms are not such a bad thing! And by the way 2050 is rather soon. Most people reading this text will still be alive then.
I don’t want to be a saint. I would just like my grandchildren and great grandchildren, and the human race in general, to enjoy the world that I have enjoyed, as much as I have enjoyed it. And to achieve that goal I think it is justified for a few heads to roll.
All this from a gentle music professor. If Parncutt does nothing else with his life, he has solved the question of how the Nazis and the Islamists and the Communists and the eugenicists all became such systematic and successful mass murderers.