Is it ethical to censor climate change deniers?

Ethan Greenhart

Topics Science & Tech

This is a bit of random text from Kyle to test the new global option to add a message at the top of every article. This bit is linked somewhere.

Dear Ethan,

I am frightfully disgusted with Channel 4 for showing The Great Global Warming Swindle last week. In 90 minutes they helped to undo a great deal of our good work in raising awareness about climate change. What should be done about such dangerous propaganda? Is it ethical to demand censorship of climate change deniers?

Tiggy Sherbourne,

Dear Tiggy,

Not only is it ethical to demand censorship of climate change deniers, it is essential.

Imagine – if you can bear it! – being an ordinary, possibly obese member of the Consumer Society who, through no fault of your own, has been brainwashed into believing that instant gratification through holidays, consumption of ‘stuff’ (how I hate ‘stuff’!) and the scoffing down of fried, fatty, fast food is the be-all and end-all of life on Earth.

What would be your reaction to a programme like The Great Global Warming Swindle? Why, you would see it as a green light to continue living selfishly and recklessly because, hey, climate change is all the sun’s fault, not mine!

So, Tiggy, that hideous film did not only cast doubt on the indisputable and implacable scientific truth that climate change is caused by cars and Tesco and drunken Stag Nights in Warsaw – it also contributed to the further burning of future generations in a Hot Weather Holocaust by giving permission to wide-eyed TV viewers to indulge their craven instincts. In 90 minutes, Channel 4 helped to take YEARS off the life of our planet.

Let me make one thing clear. I don’t blame the viewers for the tidal wave of pointless holidaying and vulgar consumption that will have been unleashed by The Great Global Warming Swindle. After all, it is an established scientific fact that certain soulless and processed foods – such as chips and turkey burgers and tinned spaghetti, all of which are popular amongst inner-city families who eat in front of the TV (!!!) – make people less alert and less critically minded.

I know this because I saw it on a Channel 4 documentary last year, featuring one of the world’s leading experts on the science of food and nutrition – Jamie Oliver. And there was not a single complaint from Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other green groups about Oliver’s fine film, so we can be sure that it was scientifically airtight.

No, I don’t blame TV-watchers whose minds have been warped by the cult of consumerism and whose brain nerves have been damaged by the chemicals and animal fats that can be found in most TV dinners; I blame Channel 4 executives. These are educated and civilised people; some of them ride bicycles, read the Guardian, even offset the carbon emissions caused by their annual holidays in Mongolia. In short, Tiggy, they are a lot like you and me – and therefore they should know better than to encourage those who lack our insights and our commitment to future generations to do whatever the hell they like.

Of course, I did not watch The Great Global Warming Swindle. I was out that evening at a protest organised by ‘Local Mums, Dads, Tots and Tearaways Against Tesco!’ to protest against the building of another Tesco where once there stood a House of Worship (oh, the irony!). But I have it on good authority from friends and colleagues – one of whom is a Professor of the Science and Practice of Chiropody, so he knows a lot about science – that the programme was full of anti-green codswallop and was funded by Exxon, Halliburton, BP, Shell, Coca-Cola and rogue elements in MI5.

One professor interviewed in the film has pointed out that he was not fully informed about the programme’s entire content and line of argument before it was aired, and his inclusion in the programme has caused him embarrassment. Is there no low level to which the anti-greens will not sink in their attempt to rubbish the truth about climate change? Have you ever in all your life, Tiggy, heard of a TV production company that interviews people without telling them EVERYTHING about the programme first and then edits their interview to fit with the programme’s overall outlook?! This is clearly a scandal of epic, Earth-shattering proportions.

My concern is not with the content of the programme, with its fancy-sounding academic talking heads whom few take seriously, but rather with the fact that it is ALLOWED TO EXIST…the fact that even that damaging title – ‘global warming swindle’ – was broadcast into millions of people’s homes. The anti-greens bleat about ‘free speech’. The director of The Great Global Warming Swindle, Martin Durkin, talked about ‘freedom’ in his interview with this very magazine. (And, yes, I have protested in the strongest terms possible to Brendan O’Neill about spiked giving MORE airtime to Durkin. Would you give similar airtime to Nick Griffin, I asked him, or Joseph Goebbels? He has yet to respond.) But let’s be clear: there is nothing FREE about this speech; it has a great cost in terms of people’s lives. Go forward in time to an African village swamped by sea-water and tell them, ‘Sorry, but my right to speak is more important than your right to life!’

Tiggy, speech kills. And that is why it is justified to restrict it in anyway we can. These people are not debaters – they are DENIERS. So please, be ethical and complain to Ofcom, Channel 4 and anyone else who will listen about this film. If we can silence these people, then the sound of future generations cheering us on will become deafening. We owe it to The Voiceless – the fetuses, the Africans, the poor, the uneducated, the brainwashed, the mentally ill – to silence the voice of the climate change deniers NOW!

Ethan Greenheart is here to answer all your questions about ethical living in the twenty-first century. Email him at {encode=”” title=””}. Read his earlier columns here.

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Topics Science & Tech


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