A few months ago, news broke of an astounding assault on free speech. No, the media didn’t present it that way, but that’s how some conservatives, myself included, characterized it. And with good reason.
The assault in question came via a group of Democratic attorneys general. This group of 16 had banded together as “AGs United for Clean Power.”
Who could object to that, right? We all want a clean planet. But these lawyers weren’t encouraging better ecology. They were announcing plans to investigate, for evidence of criminal wrongdoing, groups who dared to question assertions of man-made global warming.
“The bottom line is simple,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “Climate change is real.”
Mr. Schneiderman has every right to believe that, and for the purposes of this column, let’s say he’s correct: Climate change is real, and it’s a man-made crisis. (I’m not saying that, but let’s stipulate it for the moment.) By what right does he assert that no view to the contrary is to be tolerated?
Actually, Mr. Schneiderman can assert that all he wants. Unlike him, I believe in free speech for all, even those I disagree with. What I find abhorrent is the idea of using the power of government to compel groups who express a politically incorrect point of view to open their files for investigation.
Can you even imagine the outcry that would ensue if a group of Republican attorneys general announced a campaign to investigate those who insist that climate change is not only real, but man-made? The air would ring from declarations that it was the McCarthy hearings all over again. But when it’s Mr. Schneiderman’s group investigating the opposition? Oh, that’s fine.
Indeed, his inquisition has the backing of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who back in March told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she has discussed internally the possibility of pursuing civil actions against “climate change deniers.” Worse, she said she has “referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action.”