In March a group of Democratic attorneys general formed “AG’s United for Clean Power.”
It sounds nice enough, doesn’t it? New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, standing beside a grinning Al Gore, announced that the gang was going after any energy providers and distributors who may have committed thought crimes such as questioning the human cause of the 0.8oC global warming since 1880.
MIT atmospheric scientist Richard Lindzen said the appropriate response to this tiny warming is to shrug and say, “So what?” It is a tiny fraction of the daily temperature change in most places, and a smaller fraction of the seasonal temperature change. But at the AGs’ meeting Al Gore called it a “climate crisis.”
The state AGs are in lockstep with federal Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who recently said she is considering legal actions against “climate change deniers” (a nonexistent species, since no one denies that climate changes).
You may wonder how this could be possible in the United States, where freedom of speech is guaranteed in the Constitution.
Imagine a society in which one is under near-ubiquitous surveillance. Such a vision is remarkably close to the reality of 21st century America, if the words of Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer are to be believed. In statements regarding a recent case he said, “If you win this case, then there is nothing to prevent the police or the government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States.”
We’re already under a voluntary microscope with tools like Facebook. Small wonder that politicians desire a similar bonanza. With total data coverage, attorneys general will find it easy to harm those who are not in total support of correct political priorities. Justice Breyer thought such a possibility resembled, too closely for comfort, the dystopian society George Orwell wrote of in his novel 1984.
In more than this we resemble Orwell’s Oceania, which had its own form of twisted English called Newspeak. Newspeak was carefully devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. It made it difficult, nearly impossible, for the common prole to have incorrect ideas. Newspeak, as a mode of expression, acted to develop correct mental habits and make all other thoughts inconceivable.
“It was intended,” wrote Orwell, “that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought, that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc, should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.”
This brings me to global warming. The term occurs frequently in Al Gore’s 1992 book, Earth in the Balance (I stopped counting at 81 times). But when Mr. Gore stood beside the attorneys general there was not even a nostalgic reference to global warming. It has passed out of the memory tubes governed by Newspeak.