Sunday, June 12, 2011

Extremists Only

Wendy McElroy had a comment rejected from an NPR article when she made a comment critical of the science behind Anthropogenic Global Warming. Szandor Blestman at Fr33 Agents had someone accuse him of being a creationist when he expressed skepticism towards the extreme claims of Al Gore regarding the environment.

The latter is an example of the "package deal" where unrelated positions are lumped together under the two party label, wherein someone is supposedly forced to choose between civil liberty and economic oppression on the Democrat side, or economic liberty and civil oppression on the Republican side. The Republican side also combines skepticism of AGW with faith in creationism. The Democrat side also combines skepticism of creationism with faith in AGW. That is all part of the package deal where one is supposed to accept both the good and bad points of a position.

But there is more at play than a mere package deal, and that is why Wendy McElroy was censored.

There is a political tactic that, when there is a divisive issue, to pick the most extreme member of the other side and to treat that person as if he was representative of the other side. Take the person who wants taxes the highest and treat him as if he speaks for all who want to raise taxes. Take the person who wishes a violent overthrow of the government and treat him as if he speaks for all who would want to restrain government.

So what happens if a reasonable comment slips through? In the case of Szandor Blestman the reaction is to try to cast someone as more extreme than he really is. Insist that he must be a creationist because of the package deal. It is similiar to when someone objects to government spending, respond by saying discussing how much Bush's wars cost and how he did the bailouts.

When that fails, just ignore the comments, pretend they don't exist, and when possible, censor the comments as what happened to Wendy McElroy. The comment was "held for moderation" and her posting access was for a time suspended. She posted a scientific critique of Anthropogenic Global Warming. Allowing her comment will prevent NPR from pretending only the extremists disagree.

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