Belmont Club

G & D

Steven Hayward talks about how an NYT reporter was threatened with the “Big Cutoff” by a meteorologist after revealing that prostitutes were going to provide free services to climate change campaigners. The email conveyed the tone of 1) betrayal; 2) scandal at hearing blasphemy and 3) threat.  If it were the Old Testament the wording would have been ‘Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.’ The mail went thus:

Copenhagen prostitutes?
Climate prostitutes?
Shame on you for this gutter reportage. [Emphasis added.]
This is the second time this week I have written you thereon, the first about giving space in your blog to the Pielkes.
The vibe that I am getting from here, there and everywhere is that your reportage is very worrisome to most climate scientists.
Of course, your blog is your blog.
But, I sense that you are about to experience the ‘Big Cutoff’ from those of us who believe we can no longer trust you, me included. [Emphasis added.]
Copenhagen prostitutes?
Unbelievable and unacceptable.
What are you doing and why?

The first thing that struck me when reading this email was how familiar the tone was. Everyone who has ever had contact with closed groups of true believers will recognize it immediately. Hayward continues:

Judge for yourself if this constitutes “gutter reportage” and deserves censure from the climate science community. I’ll add that one of the CRU e-mails I read mentioned that Revkin is not always reliable from their point of view; I can’t now find it, but recall it vividly for the presumption that reporters are supposed to serve as mere transcribers for the climate campaign.

This raises another small but perhaps significant point that I didn’t have room to comment on in my Weekly Standard article: How is it possible for a group of smart people to write over 1,000 e-mails over the course of a decade without a single shred of wit or humor in any of them? There isn’t the tiniest hint anywhere that any of these guys ever grin. It jives with my experience of environmentalists for 20 years now that they are the single most humorless slice of humanity on the planet. (My favorite: I had a top greenie lawyer for the Audubon Society once say at a conference that “I regard the National Association of Home Builders to be every bit as evil as the National Rifle Association.” My comeback was: “I can understand why you’d think that about the home builders, but what’s your problem with the NRA?” The guy didn’t even crack a smile.) And here we see Andy Revkin threatened with a “cutoff” because he writes–on a blog–something mildly amusing about Copenhagen.

The descriptions jump out at you. When you read communications which routinely refer to others as ‘not reliable’; when a 1,000 emails contains not a single shred of wit or humor, then there’s some probability you’re encountering what we used to call the Grim and Determined man or G & D for short. It was an acronym my group of friends had for fanatical and dogmatic members of the Communist Party during the underground days. This behavior was so obvious it actually made it dangerous to be around them. These people could not assume a cover identity. They had only one invariate personality and any disguise they attempted called attention to themselves because it was at such odds with their unrelenting, monotonic and obsessive personalities.

Whenever you saw a G & D man, the odds were that he was being sent over to try and discipline you. It didn’t matter whether or not you recognized his authority, the G & D man always presumed that he had some kind of Petrine authority to bind and loose.  They would have been equally at home working for Torquemada or Beria.

For a variety of reasons, they were bad news. But I think their type is not confined to left, though it has a disproportionately large share of them. I think you will find the G & D type in radical Islam, the environmental movement, and in any of the varieties of fanatical belief across the whole political spectrum.  My advice to all who are threatened with the “Big Cutoff” is to go buy yourself a bottle of champagne. You’ve made it. You’re free. Step outside and you’ll find the sky a little bluer; the air more bracing. If you wonder why, remember what you are quit of. What is the world of the G & D man?

“No taste of food,
no feel of water,
no sound of wind,
no memory of tree
or grass or flower,
no image of moon
or star are left to me. ”

We used to say that it wasn’t “the People” that the G & D served but something else. And maybe it isn’t nature, soft grass and moonlight that the environmental G & D’s hearken to, but something else.


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