Thursday, June 2, 2016

“We Can Use This!”

     Just in case you’ve been living in a tree in the jungles of Malaysia this past decade: Dr. Michael Mann, he of the “hockey stick” approach to that greatest of chimeras of contemporary policy disputes, “anthropogenic global warming,” is pursuing a defamation suit against columnist Mark Steyn that has now been dragged out for four years and shows no signs of approaching resolution. In yesterday’s emission, Steyn tells us of the most recent developments:

     Notwithstanding that it's the most consequential free-speech case in half-a-century (as the ACLU, NBC, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune et al recognized in their amicus brief), in the DC courts it just sits there, with no discovery and no trial date. As today's Daily Caller headline has it:
     Mark Steyn's Case Against Climategate Scientist Is Taking So Long A Key Witness Died

     Technically it's the Climategate Scientist's case against me, but let's not get hung up on details (and I do have a counter-suit against the litigious Dr Mann). Michael Bastasch reports:

     Lawyers representing conservative political commentator Mark Steyn have asked the D.C. Superior Court to expedite his case against climate scientist Michael Mann, mentioning a key witness died waiting for the trial to go to court.

     "Something needed to be done to jumpstart this case, a case that threatens the most fundamental First Amendment freedoms," Dan Kornstein, Steyn's lawyer, said in a statement.

     The mills of justice sure do grind slowly, don’t they?

     Now, it’s clear that Steyn, who’s already expended over a million dollars in his defense, wants this over with. He says later in the linked column, that “I hope that Mann, who purports to want his day in court, will support me in attempting to hasten it.” But to me that’s not at all clear...nor is Mann the only party to this controversy who might want to see it dragged out to the horizon.

     Government is inherently a device for limiting the freedom of private persons and their voluntary associations. Some such limitations (e.g., laws against violence and fraud) are praiseworthy, but most, in my entirely un-humble opinion, are not. But the natural dynamic of government is to grow ever larger, absorbing ever more of its subjects’ freedom and wealth, until the resulting situation collapses of its own weight, a process we’re currently witnessing in Venezuela. That dynamic causes a government to favor anything it can use in service to its growth.

     Australian jewel Joanne Nova opines that Mann’s case will be guaranteed defeat as soon as discovery is allowed to proceed:

     The process is the punishment. Agents of the Big-government Blob have access to a bottomless pit of lawyers. They can not only afford endless trials, for them it’s an advantage. Drag it out, wear opponents down, exhaust their coffers. And while the case is ever-pending and never-ending it’s already a win for the accuser — silencing critics, and endorsing celebrity “victim-status”. When the defendants witnesses are older and wiser, there’s another dark advantage too — vale Bob Carter.

     What they cannot afford though is discovery.

     So they can’t afford to sue a guy like Mark Steyn.

     Nova and Steyn are agreed that at the bottom, the issue is freedom of speech:

     While Mann would suffer, at least in reputation, from losing, that result would also put the quietus to attempts by the Left, including the Obama Administration and its allegiants at the state level, to silence those who are skeptical about “anthropogenic global warming.” (In case you were wondering, I’m one such.)

     “Anthropogenic global warming” is the most promising rationale for taking totalitarian control of national economies the Left has ever happened upon. Acceptance of the thesis would justify the absolute regimentation of all human activity. Nothing anyone anywhere does for any reason would be immune to State control. Thus it appears likely to me that it’s not just Mann who favors the indefinite protraction of the delays in this case.

     Cui bono? asked the great Marcus Tullius Cicero. Who benefits? It’s a question that must be asked about every proposal in public policy, especially in these times when governments no longer respect Constitutional bounds.

     Some proposals would allow for transfers of wealth to favored insiders. Sometimes – often, really – the “favored insider” is government itself. Some proposals would assist the government in limiting its subjects’ ability to resist its arrogations of power. Some proposals would permit it to squelch expressions of dissent, atomizing potential resistance and rendering it harmless to the masters of the State.

     The protraction of Mann v. Steyn is so plainly a delaying tactic intended to preserve the fiction of “anthropogenic global warming” against adverse evidence and commentary, and thus to sustain the Left’s best rationale for regimenting the American economy, that I’m surprised no one else has seen the connection. Who has asked where Mann’s funding is coming from? Who has asked about the motivations for the D.C. court’s interminable stays and delays? Who has asked whether there might be a wee bit of influence from the Department of Justice in the mix? And given that all governments and all politicians want to see their powers expanded to the horizon and their positions rendered immune from all consequences, who would happily guarantee that a Republican Administration would act in any other manner?

     Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that no one’s out to get you. – Old maxim


Jack Imel said...

I'm 'one such' too...

Linda Fox said...

Therapy for a paranoid in the middle of a divorce will make NO progress - just try to persuade just a patient that, no, everyone isn't out to get you, but your ex and her family, as well as her lawyer and most of your joint friends (men walk out of marriage with the friends they came in with - at most), really ARE out to get you.

Linda Fox said...

I read a suggestion about how to help Steyn - buy his books, which is a win-win.