By Rick Manning
Robert Kennedy, Jr. is an expert on government suppression of free speech, just not in the way that many who are only familiar with him since 2020 may think.
In 2014, Kennedy advocated jailing “climate deniers” in the Huffington Post titled “What States’ Attorney General Can Do About Climate Deniers.” In case you think this is hyperbole, this is the URL HuffPo gave the article – https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jailing-climate-deniers_b_5912596.
Here are just a few of Kennedy’s proposed actions for state Attorneys General to take against those who pushed back against his environmental extremism.
Under the guise of following the “overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming,” (sound familiar?) Robert Kennedy, Jr. urged that state prosecutors give the death penalty to companies: “corporations which deliberately, purposefully, maliciously and systematically sponsor climate lies should be given the death penalty.”
But he doesn’t stop there as he also wants non-profit organizations which oppose his warped climate view to be shuttered and their assets to be distributed to government favored entities: “An Attorney General with particularly potent glands could revoke the charters… [of] oil industry surrogates like [American Enterprise Institute] AEI and [Competitive Enterprise Institute] CEI…”
Apparently questioning climate studies which cannot be replicated, as all legitimate science must be, can put a non-profit squarely in the cross-hairs of a potential Kennedy administration’s wild-eyed thought suppression scheme.
So that he would not be misunderstood, Kennedy focused his anti-science, anti-dissent screed naming a litany of non-profit groups as targets for being forcibly disbanded by an enterprising state Attorney General. These non-profits who Kennedy would disband include Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, the Cooler Heads Coalition (of which Americans for Limited Government proudly counts itself as a member), the Global Climate Coalition, the American Enterprise Institute which he falsely labels as ALEC (which is the American Legislative Exchange Council), Americans for Prosperity, Heartland Institute, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), George C. Marshall Institute, the State Policy Network, The Competitive Enterprise Institute.
And of course, he would also give the so-called corporate death penalty to Exxon-Mobil Corporation and Koch Industries for having the audacity to provide grants to organizations whose free market philosophies made them naturally suspicious of environmental diktats designed to end the western free enterprise system.
As far as Kennedy’s “scientific consensus” is concerned, just five years prior to his demanding the death penalty and jailing those who disagreed with him for exercising their First Amendment rights, the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit was discovered, through leaked or hacked emails, to have manipulated research and engaged in extreme measures to avoid releasing underlying data to support their manipulated conclusions.
Why did this matter? This group of advocates in white lab coats at East Anglia formed the core of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). To quote a 2009 article by Christopher Booker in the Telegraph: “The reason why even the Guardian‘s George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”
Now, rest assured those vested in perpetuating climate alarmism investigated the scandal and determined there was nothing to be alarmed at.
Sound science demands that conclusions can be tested by others to determine if the conclusions are valid. This requires transparency of data and the freedom to test and falsify the hypothesis to see if it stands up.
In short, science demands dissent, not supplication.
Kennedy, Jr.’s demand that “climate deniers” be jailed because they put resources and effort into contesting the purported and tainted overwhelming scientific consensus is eerily reminiscent of the federal censorship regime that he now claims to be appalled by.
No one can doubt Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s sincerity. His father was the U.S. Attorney General under his uncle President John F. Kennedy and his other uncle served in the U.S. Senate for decades. Both John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, Sr. were assassinated in the 1960’s. His father was murdered the same night he won the California Democratic primary and became the frontrunner for the Democratic Party nomination in 1968.
Kennedy bears the scars of violence and has a long history as a left-wing political influencer.
His demands for the jailing of those who disagree with him on the climate issue were not from a novice Chicken Little, but from a man who knew what the words he wrote meant. Kennedy understood their implications to the American system of political dissent as guaranteed under the First Amendment and yet urged politically weaponized state Attorneys General to destroy those who stood in his way.
An accomplished politician, it can be anticipated that before Congress, Robert Kennedy, Jr. will try to wave away his previous attack on dissent in America due to his abiding concern for the public good. Or he might even claim that he knows better now what a weaponized government can do. But in 2014 Kennedy, Jr. bared his teeth revealing that he knows exactly what government can do and advocated that it be done. Let’s hope some members of Congress have the courage to ask him about his willingness to use government to jail and ruin those who dissent from his view and not let him get away with just excoriating a government system that he has so recently embraced.
Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.
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