The PJ Tatler

Time to Retire Godwin's Law: the Nazis May Not Be Back, but Their Tactics Sure Are

Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” Or, as it’s commonly misunderstood: no comparison of anything today may ever be made with what happened in Germany under the National Socialist German Workers Party. But that’s bunk, and here’s a good example why:

Dozens of climate scientists and environmental groups are calling for museums of science and natural history to “cut all ties” with fossil fuel companies and philanthropists like the Koch brothers. A letter released on Tuesday asserts that such money is tainted by these donors’ efforts to deny the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.

“When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge,” the letter states. “This corporate philanthropy comes at too high a cost.”

Corporate philanthropy… hmmm, lemme think… they couldn’t be talking about… could they? They could indeed:

The letter does not mention specific companies, but it does name David H. Koch, who sits on the boards of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and has given tens of millions of dollars to those institutions. Koch Industries is a privately held corporation with subsidiaries in energy and other industries. Mr. Koch and his family have funded conservative causes, including scientists and organizations that contest the role of humans in climate change.

Public records show that many fossil-fuel companies have made similar contributions to such organizations and scientists over the years.

Free speech? Right to peaceable, if virtual, assembly? Petition the government for redress of grievances? Hah!

The letter is a project of the Natural History Museum, a mobile museum that draws attention to “social and political forces that shape nature yet are left out of traditional natural history museums,” said its co-founder and director, Beka Economopoulos. A petition drive, also released on Tuesday and sponsored by environmental organizations including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, urges the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History to “Kick Koch off the board!”

Juden raus! or something like that. Meanwhile, in related news of coercion and thuggery:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making it tougher for governors to deny man-made climate change. Starting next year, the agency will approve disaster preparedness funds only for states whose governors approve hazard mitigation plans that address climate change.

“If a state has a climate denier governor that doesn’t want to accept a plan, that would risk mitigation work not getting done because of politics,” said Becky Hammer, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s water program. “The governor would be increasing the risk to citizens in that state” because of his climate beliefs.

Representative democracy: it was fun while it lasted.