Nineteen U.S. senators, organized by global-warming alarmist groups, took to the Senate floor recently in an attempt to smear anyone who dares publicly criticize Big Government’s “green energy” schemes.
Harry Reid led the charge — singling out the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI), by name.
“Those who ignore the climate crisis, or deny it exists, do not have a valid point of view,” said the Senate minority leader, after labeling the Institute’s staff a bunch of “climate-deniers” and describing the Institute as a shill for Big Oil.
The senators went so far as to propose a Congressional Resolution formally disapproving of the actions of free-market groups that have opposed increased environmental regulations.
Reid and his 18 friends in the Senate used the debate over climate change as the catalyst for their attack on political dissent — but it might as well have been any issue.
The sorry display of Soviet-style political intimidation from these 19 senators was just the tip of the iceberg. Earlier this year U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch admitted that the Justice Department has discussed the possibility of pursuing civil actions against groups identified as “climate deniers.”
And a partisan group of 17 attorneys general have already started investigating oil companies and free-market think tanks opposed to “green energy” regulations — with one attorney general going so far as to subpoena internal documents from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
While that effort has been sidelined — the attorney general withdrew his subpoena — the message from the elites in government is chillingly clear: political dissent will not be tolerated.
Unfortunately, this kind of brown-shirt mentality is nothing new in government circles. Nor is it exclusive to the “green-energy” movement.
In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election the IRS massively harassed, blocked and sought to hamstring conservative non-profits. In 2014, a “progressive” prosecutor convinced a Texas grand jury to criminally indict Governor Rick Perry for following through on a veto threat.
Even activists that don’t have the full power of government behind them have been able to successfully “punish” free speech. Activists in California managed to publicly vilify the CEO of Firefox into resigning after he had the audacity to support an unpopular ballot initiative regarding gay marriage.
Political correctness codes imposed on students at universities and colleges have had an equally chilling effect, with speakers being disinvited from events for simply not being “progressive” enough.
Whether it be relentless smear campaigns or an outright abuse of government power, this escalating widespread disrespect for free speech increasingly resembles Venezuelan Chavista-style intimidation.
As Democrat President Harry Truman said, “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”
Harry Reid and his like-minded senators are all too happy to keep pushing our republic down that path.
After all, Reid isn’t concerned about NPRI’s “denial” of climate change — because there has been no such denial ever issued. It was the Institute’s opposition to the crony and corrupt relationship between “green energy” and big government that earned Reid’s scorn from the Senate floor.
“The Nevada Policy Research Institute even went so far as to oppose Tesla’s factory being constructed just outside of Reno,” Reid announced from the Senate, “which would employ thousands of Nevadans.”
Intentionally unmentioned by Reid was the real reason for NPRI’s opposition to Tesla’s factory: a $1.4 billion tax “incentive” package full of subsidies, credits and special handouts.
Now, the same activist group that organized the coordinated smear on free-market groups from the Senate floor is crafting an enemies list of individuals and companies that oppose big-government “solutions” to climate change.
The Climate Investigations Center, a shadowy leftist group founded by a former Greenpeace activist, is on a crusade to create an “enemies list” for the environmental left.
Of course, all this brings up a rather obvious question: If global warming alarmists were secure in the accuracy of their doomsday predictions, why are they so insecure about facing debate?
George Orwell described liberty as, “the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
As Reid has demonstrated amply over the years, it’s a liberty he doesn’t like.
Michael Schaus is communications director for the Nevada Policy Research Institute.