Gawker's Adam Weinstein Wants to Put You in Jail for Being a Climate Change 'Denier'

I don’t know how serious Adam Weinstein is about wanting to arrest, try, and jail people he considers “climate change deniers.” It could be that he gets a kick out of goosing some of the conspiracists who lump global warming advocates in with Men in Black, the NWO, and FEMA slave labor camps. No one can possibly be serious about putting people in jail for what they believe, or what they say, right?


But he apparently is. And that’s why this post gives me a spot of nausea when I read it. People with ideas like Weinstein’s are the reason other people are buying guns. This should not be seen in any way as a direct personal threat against Weinstein. But he has to understand that when liberals talk like this, they are the ones threatening others. They are the ones who would take away what the Constitution guarantees. They are the ones that many people think they need protecting from.

Rush Limbaugh and his ilk who prattle on about a climate-change conspiracy may be geese, but they are free geese and can say what they want without threat of incarceration. Make fun of them if you will. Chastise them, ridicule them, try arguing logically with them. But punish them with imprisonment for disagreeing with you and the dominant scientific theory about climate change? Well, let’s just say that you will pardon me if I wonder if Josef Stalin is one of your closest advisors.

Weinstein explains his “off with their heads” idea:

This is an argument that’s just being discussed seriously in some circles. It was laid out earlier this month, with all the appropriate caveats, by Lawrence Torcello, a philosophy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

There is a clear precedent, Torcello says, in L’Aquila, Italy, where six seismologists were convicted of manslaughter in connection with a 2009 earthquake that killed 309 people. The scientists weren’t convicted because they failed to predict an earthquake; no one can make such a prediction with reliable precision. But they were convened to study a series of tremors the week before the quake, and tacitly signed off on a government official’s public message that “the situation looks favorable” and residents should chill out with some wine.

Their “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information,” the court found, contributed to the residents’ fatal lack of preparations for bigger tremors.


First of all, I would ask Mr. Weinstein to look out the window and tell us what he sees. The Leaning Tower of Pisa? St. Peter’s Basilica? An Italian restaurant?

Yes, this is America. I could give a hoot in hell what they do in Italy. We don’t do that sort of thing here. And judging by some of Mr. Weinstein’s previous writings, where he excoriates the rich and powerful and upsets all sorts of applecarts, he should hit his knees every night and thank Gaia he lives in a place that won’t arrest him for what he thinks and says.

Apparently, the only people who need go to jail are those who disagree with him.

In addition to being an authoritarian douchebag, Weinstein is a sneering elitist:

Those denialists should face jail. They should face fines. They should face lawsuits from the classes of people whose lives and livelihoods are most threatened by denialist tactics.

Let’s make a clear distinction here: I’m not talking about the man on the street who thinks Rush Limbaugh is right, and climate change is a socialist United Nations conspiracy foisted by a Muslim U.S. president on an unwitting public to erode its civil liberties.

You all know that man. That man is an idiot. He is too stupid to do anything other than choke the earth’s atmosphere a little more with his Mr. Pibb burps and his F-150’s gassy exhaust. Few of us believers in climate change can do much more—or less—than he can.

Nor am I talking about simple skeptics, particularly the scientists who must constantly hypo-test our existing assumptions about the world in order to check their accuracy. That is part and parcel of the important public policy discussion about what we do next.

But there is scientific skepticism… and there is a malicious, profiteering quietist agenda posturing as skepticism. There is uncertainty about whether man-made climate change can be stopped or reversed… and there is the body of purulent pundits, paid sponsors, and corporate grifters who exploit the smallest uncertainty at the edges of a settled science.

I’m talking about Rush and his multi-million-dollar ilk in the disinformation business. I’m talking about Americans for Prosperity and the businesses and billionaires who back its obfuscatory propaganda. I’m talking about public persons and organizations and corporations for whom denying a fundamental scientific fact is profitable, who encourage the acceleration of an anti-environment course of unregulated consumption and production that, frankly, will screw my son and your children and whatever progeny they manage to have.

Those malcontents must be punished and stopped


Why punished? Is Weinstein a sadist as well? Stopping them is a legitimate goal, but punishing people for disagreeing with you is positively Hitlerian.

The point is made in the article that “more deaths can already be attributed to climate change than the L’Aquila earthquake and we can be certain that deaths from climate change will continue to rise with global warming.” If you follow that link to the World Health Organization site, you will discover that the WHO makes no such radical and extravagant claims:

That estimate includes deaths as a result of extreme weather conditions, which may be occurring with increased frequency. Changes in temperature and rainfall conditions also may influence transmission patterns for many diseases, including water-related diseases, such as diarrhoea, and vector-borne infections, including malaria. Finally, climate change may affect patterns of food production, which in turn can have health impacts in terms of rates of malnutrition. There is further evidence that unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions would increase disease burdens in the coming decades. The risks are concentrated in the poorest populations, who have contributed the least to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

“May be occurring…may influence” — there are so many caveats in that one statement it’s hard to keep track of them. It’s a nice educated guess, but lacks scientific substance. Weinstein should have followed the link and found out for himself how tenuous the reed that the statement about deaths from climate change rested upon.


It’s also clear Weinstein is extravagantly ignorant of government regulation. There is no such critter as “unregulated consumption and production.” That is a shockingly idiotic statement. There are tens of thousands of regulations that cover every industry in the nation, delving into every corner of almost every business in the country.

Tens of thousands of regulations that dictate everything from whom a business can hire, how they can fire them, workers’safety, product safety, disposal of hazardous chemicals and waste — the list is endless. Most of these regulations are necessary to protect the health and safety of workers, or to prevent businesses from taking short cuts that might harm the consumer or environment. But there are thousands of needless, burdensome regulations that any rational observer would put down as “overregulation.”

Only someone truly ignorant of government would even hint that industry is “unregulated.” And that’s why Weinstein’s entire critique of climate skeptics reeks of sanctimony. Weinstein doesn’t want to regulate consumption and production. He wants to control it, hence the gross exaggeration about unregulated business. There is one positive from Weinstein, which I’ll explain on the next page.

The one positive from Weinstein is that he makes a genuine effort to differentiate between “deniers” and “skeptics.” There are many skeptics who believe the earth has indeed been warming over the last 150 years, that industrial activity has had a hand in that warming (although to what extent is up for debate), but who disagree with hysterics like Weinstein who think the science is “settled,” and who reject the ideas being proposed by warming advocates to halt or reverse climate change. Deniers, on the other hand, tend to see plots and conspirators where group-think and careerism are actually at work in the scientific community.


In 10 or 20 years, if the consensus on climate change were to crumble, should we then have Weinstein and his ilk arrested for wasting trillions of dollars on needless measures to stop something that never existed? Weinstein wants to win the argument by simply eliminating the competition. I suppose we should be grateful he isn’t suggesting that “deniers” be lined up against a wall and shot — yet. But the deadening effect on free speech he so zealously advocates would be almost as bad.


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