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Hullabaloo


Monday, December 18, 2006

 
S'cuse Us, Yer Highness

by digby

Considering that I've been writing about aristocracy a lot these days, this is actually kind of amusing:

To: The Honourable Senator Olympia Snowe (Republican, Maine) The Honourable Senator John D. Rockefeller (Democrat, West Virginia)

Madame, Sir,

Uphold Free Speech About Climate Change Or Resign

The US Constitution guarantees the right of free speech. It is inappropriate for elected Senators such as yourselves to suggest that any person should refrain from exercising that right, as you have done in your letter of October 27 to the CEO of ExxonMobil. That great corporation has exercised its right of free speech -- and with good reason -- in openly providing support for scientists and groups that dare to question how much the increased concentration of CO2 in the air may warm the world. You must honour the Constitution, withdraw your letter and apologize to ExxonMobil, or resign as Senators.

You defy every tenet of democracy when you invite ExxonMobil to deny itself the right to provide information to "senior elected and appointed government officials" who disagree with your opinion. You are elected officials yourselves. If you do not believe in the right of persons within the United States to exercise their fundamental right under the world's greatest Constitution to petition their elected representatives for the redress of their grievances, then you have no place on Capitol Hill. You must go.

[...]

You will rightly deduce from Beckett's sinister remark that after a decade of Socialist government freedom of speech does not figure in our constitution. But let me quote the First Amendment to yours: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the Press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I call upon the pair of you to live by those great words, or to leave.

Yours truly,

MONCKTON OF BRENCHLEY


One does feel the sting of the whip more keenly when it comes from one's betters, doesn't one? But this is no joke. It is a letter written by a real Viscount Mockton of Brenchley to two US Senators.

The story is related to my aristocrat series not just because some slice of irrelevant peerage decides to lecture US citizens in the tone of Henry the VIII, but because it is another example of big, big money financing their pet conservative causes by creating bogus think tanks and "institutes." It's just a little bit unusual that they have put an actual aristocrat up front. The aristocrat, however, has a long conservative political and journalistic history and currently "acts as trouble-shooter and corporate thinker to leading businesses." (The first viscount Monckton was Chairman of the Iraq Petroleum Company.)

Lord Monckton is an ardent global warming science foe who recently published an exhaustive 52 page roll of toilet paper on the subject for The Telegraph. (George Monbiot explains the whole thing in this article in the Guardian.)He has no degree in any scientific subject and has never done any work in the field. Lately, he's best known for his (admittedly impressive)jigsaw puzzle design. But he styles himself an expert, writes nonsensical papers and then demands the resignations of anyone who disagrees with him. I think there was more intellectual rigor involved in Galileo's trial.

But this is how it works. I find it amusing that Exxon has actually engaged a real blueblood to make its dishonest pitch, but maybe they are getting desperate. They aren't even trying to hide it.



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