Wisconsin poli sci prof: Punish climate change deniers

From Michael E. Kraft in Providence Journal:

Scientific findings and associated uncertainties should be scrutinized carefully and debated vigorously within the scientific community and among the public.

However, denying the best scientific evidence we have is neither smart nor safe. It could lead to greater societal harm than if we had taken sensible action when reliable knowledge was first available.

Dismissal of well-established climate science has parallels to decades of debate over tobacco use and its effects on health. Tobacco companies long denied any causal relation between smoking and disease even when their own studies showed the opposite to be true. More.

Reality check: In the era of unstoppable fake news, punishing “climate change deniers” makes sense. News is what government will allow to be said. The public is assumed to be unable to judge between contenders.

A commenter asked: “If the Science is settled why would you want to punish those that disagree? It’s almost like you are trying to hide something and want to stop people from finding what you are trying to hide or something.”

Actually, it becomes a conveniently self-fulfilling prophecy. The public isn’t allowed to know enough to judge, and begins to lose the ability.

The next step is to link all kinds of policy objectives, relevant or otherwise, with the need to fight climate change. It can become risky, if not impossible, to assess the relevance.

Naturally, at least one state senator (Sheldon Whitehouse – D) praises the idea.

See also: GOP politicians want pro-censorship journo prof removed Cure far worse than the disease: Politicians, please stay out of it. This is a fight for the soul of the university, and you can only make things worse by getting involved. (You help cement the idea that the world of ideas is subject to government, precisely what you should oppose.)