In Praise of 'Hate Speech'

Someone has petitioned the UK Government's Home Office demanding that the term "denier" be classified as "hate speech."


We the undersigned request that the offensive terms, "climate denier", "denier", "denialist" and other variants being used to harass sceptical scientists or other people who do not ascribe to the hypothesis of man made climate change or man made global warming be classified as hate speech in accordance with the Public Order Act 1986. Scientists and others should not be subjected to hateful, offensive names in order to diminish their standing or to make them accept a consensus view.

I feel their pain but I'm certainly not going to be signing myself. Here are some reasons why:

1.

"Denier" is a silly term which reveals more about the person who uses it than it does about the victim. What are "deniers" supposed to be denying? They all agree that climate changes. Almost all agree that man has an influence on the climate. So, really, to use "denier" whether deliberately as a term of abuse or casually, unthinkingly, in the way arrogant poltroons like the Royal Academy's Sir Paul Nurse have done is merely a badge of foolishness and ignorance....

2.

....And extreme unpleasantness. But I find this helpful, don't you? Much as I find it helpful when Lib Dem MP David Ward tweets hateful things about Hamas and Israel. If it weren't for those tweets he'd just be an inconsequential backbench MP manoeuvring behind the scenes. Thanks to his outspoken remarks, the enemy is plain in view. We know who he is, what he stands for, which community in his northern constituency he is cynically trying to brown-nose. I'd much rather live in a world where the bad guys are out of the closet than pretending to be something they're not.

3.

Victimhood is a game the other side plays. Look, for example, at how Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia sought to rehabilitate himself after Climategate. He whipped out an onion and gave a tearful newspaper interview, describing how he'd had death threats, how his health had been ruined, how much pressure he'd been put under by vexatious deniers asking awkward questions and wasting his valuable time. It's a low tactic. We're better than that. (And anyway, what kind of snivelling loser wants to be a victim?)

4.

Since when was it the State's business to interfere with free speech? John Milton made the case well in 1644 in Areopagitica. Here's one of his great one-liners:

He that can apprehend and consider vice with all her baits and seeming pleasures, and yet abstain, and yet distinguish, and yet prefer that which is truly better, he is the true warfaring Christian.

In other words, only by being exposed to bad thoughts and bad ideas can we develop the necessary strength of will and understanding and moral purpose to oppose them. Censorship is for wimps.

5.

This is total war. They realise that even if you don't.

Face it, we're fighting a bunch of eco Nazis, here. They are corrupt, mendacious, bullying, fascistic, misanthropic, greedy, totalitarian and rotten to the very core. And personally, every now and again, I like to remind the scum-sucking slime balls of this fact. Which becomes much harder if people on our side of the argument are coming over all prissy and reaching for the smelling salt just because someone has used a silly epithet designed to put climate scepticism in the same category as Holocaust denial.

Bring it on, I say. I love being called a "Denier". Much more, I suspect, than they love being called Eco Fascists. After all, insults only hurt when they contain a grain of truth.


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