My piece a few days ago titled "The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time -- Part VI" attracted a large number of comments. Most were friendly, but at least a couple suggested that I must be accusing the climate alarmist community of some kind of great "conspiracy." After all, how else could they present to the world a front of such seeming unanimity?
But actually I have never made a charge that there is a grand conspiracy. Rather, I have contended that there is a grand groupthink. In fact, here's a post I wrote just a few months ago in April 2015 called "How Groupthink Works," specifically discussing the mechanisms of groupthink enforcement against anyone who dares to engage in climate apostasy. The particular subject of the post was constitutional law scholar Larry Tribe, who had then recently taken an assignment from Peabody Coal to argue a challenge in the D.C. Circuit to the constitutional legitimacy of the EPA's Clean Power Plan. (That's the massive set of EPA regulations currently working their way through the process, that threaten to shut down the entire coal-power business in the United States.)
As early as March and April, Tribe's then-new apostasy had already earned him some good heapings of ridicule and shaming from his erstwhile co-icons of the lefty law tribe, published of course in Pravda where all members of the tribe would see them -- and would see what would happen to themselves should they dare to stray even momentarily from official orthodoxy. For example, on March 26 the Times published an op-ed by recent ex-NYU Law Dean Ricky Revesz titled "An Obama Friend Turns Foe on Coal." The op-ed stated that "To many Democrats and professors at Harvard, Mr. Tribe is a traitor." The Revesz op-ed also cites two of Tribe's co-Harvard Law professors as calling his constitutional law arguments on behalf of Peabody "ridiculous." (Of course, the op-ed did not actually attempt to deal with Tribe's constitutional arguments on their merits. Hey, they're "ridiculous" -- isn't that enough?)
And the ridicule and shaming of Tribe continue. The current (July 28) issue of New York Magazine has a long article on his ongoing ostracism. The title is "Et Tu, Tribe." The article begins by describing an interview given by Tribe on NPR on June 18. NPR -- they're an official member of the tribe. Surely their job is to save any difficult questions for conservatives, and pose only softballs to a liberal icon such as Tribe. Well, not any more. Suddenly the questioning turned hostile:
“Can a scholar take a client like that [Peabody] and maintain an appearance of independence?”
“Well, I’ve been doing this kind of thing for decades,” Tribe replied, the ice creeping into his voice. “And I’m just not for sale.” He had the urge to hang up the phone then and there. But he fought it off and handled another 90 seconds of questioning with superficial aplomb. “I have had a career that I’m proud of. I’ve represented causes that I believe in,” he said. . . . Inside, though, Tribe was churning. “It was an inexcusable ambush,” he wrote immediately afterward, an “awful caricature.” He was flummoxed that people involved with a friendly NPR show would prove to be “such venomous snakes.”
And then, as the article continues, there are multiple examples of former friends and colleagues turning on poor Mr. Tribe. For example:
“For most environmental-law scholars, climate change is the challenge of our lifetime, it is an existential threat to life as we know it,” says the UCLA law professor Ann Carlson, who has written that Tribe is “destroying his reputation” as a constitutional theorist. “I think the question is, how can Larry Tribe be attacking the president’s climate-change policy in this way?”
Really, it's not very different from how the Catholic Church enforced orthodoxy by the Inquisition, or how the Muslims enforce it today. Or even from the way a political party rallies around a presidential candidate about whom many members have misgivings. The misgivings are put aside for the sake of supporting the team and defeating the other guys. No need to advance any kind of conspiracy theory to understand this process. It's just basic Politics 101.