Real Clear Politics William F. Buckley April 3, 2007
The heavy condemnatory breathing on the subject of global warming outdoes anything since high moments of the Inquisition. A respectable columnist (Thomas Friedman of The New York Times) opened his essay last week by writing, “Sometimes you read something about this administration that’s just so shameful it takes your breath away.”
What asphyxiated this critic was the discovery that a White House official had edited “government climate reports to play up uncertainty of a human role in global warming.” The correspondent advises that the culprit had been an oil-industry lobbyist before joining the administration, and on leaving it he took a job with Exxon Mobil.
For those with addled reflexes, here is the story compressed: (1) Anyone who speaks discriminatingly about global warming is conspiring to belittle the threat. Such people end up (2) working for Exxon Mobil, a perpetrator of the great threat the malefactor sought to distract us from.
I’d guess that, in the current mood, I should enter the datum that my father was in the oil business. But having done that, I think it fair to ask: Are we invited to assume that anyone who works in a business that generates greenhouse gases (a) is complicit in the global-warming problem, and (b) should resign and seek work elsewhere? One recalls the plant in Nazi Germany that manufactured the toxic gas Zyklon B. The primary use of this gas was in the extermination camps, whose masters were looking for efficient ways to destroy human beings. Is the community engaged in oil production the contemporary equivalent of the makers of Zyklon B?
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