Dr Hansen and Intimidation

title:Dr. Hansen and Intimidation
author:Richard Monk
date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:16

Dr. Hansen is considered by all measures a very able scientist, perhaps one excessively so. His effort to publicize his data and conclusions on the effect of greenhouse gasses has led to a troubling censorship situation.
Dr. Hansen and Intimidation
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that the concept of global warming is a big issue these days. In the view of some, it is a myth with little empirical data to back it up. In the view of others, such as Dr. Hansen, it is a forecast of perhaps massive devastation to our planet and potentially the viability of mankind. The debate rages on and you undoubtedly have your own views. This article, however, is not about the merits of global warming. It is about something far more troubling.
We are a nation of hot button issues. Unfortunately, we often are so enraged over the trivial that significant events are passed over without a hint of reaction. One such event occurred recently when Dr. Hansen was interviewed on the 60 minutes television show. If you didn’t see the episode, I encourage you to do so.
The troubling thing about the 60 minutes interview with Dr. Hansen wasn’t his view on global warming. You can form your own opinion on the merits of the theory. The troubling thing was the intimidation tactic being used against him.
If you are unfamiliar with the situation, the current administration does not care for the views expressed by Dr. Hansen. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that. The basic foundation of our system is the right to disagree. What is wrong, however, is the refusal to let a scientist speak his mind or to use intimidation to the same end.
To obtain the interview, 60 minutes had to agree to allow a NASA representative to oversee the meeting. In fact, the person was shown on camera facing the scientist as he answered questions. Clearly, the presence of this person was meant to intimidate the responses of the scientist.
Is nobody else troubled by this? Have we reached a point in the United States where the discussion of ideas is a dangerous thing? Who, in there right mind, would ever have imagined NASA being a place of intimidation. Frankly, it boggles the mind because it raises the specter of historical periods of tyranny. It is a dramatic statement, but what else can you call it?
Perhaps more troubling is the fact nobody seems bothered by this development. Are we taking our freedoms for granted? Have we become sheep to be herded?
Before you compartmentalize this based on your political view, give it some thought. I don’t see this as an conservative, liberal or environmental issue. I see this simply as a troubling attack on the basic concept of being an American.
I am no expert on global warming. For all I know, Dr. Hansen may be a crackpot on par with late night television psychics. If so, then the proper response is let him be exposed as such, not to intimidate him into staying quiet.
“The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.” – Ronald Reagan, October 27, 1964