A simple credibility test

The next time you are exposed to widely differing stories about anything, take a hard look at which side is trying hardest to shut off the debate by force or by legal threats. That side of the issue is hiding something that cannot stand scrutiny.

If an idea is worth defending, it should be defended openly with an exchange of facts as well as opinions.

Shutting off debate using paid goons to interrupt speakers is as old as civilization. "Spontaneous" demonstrations staged by professional agitators provide eye catching news photos for journalists especially when these demonstrations disrupt an ongoing event..

Suppressing dissent takes different forms. PR professionals craft action campaigns where callers jam radio station lines to create the effect of mass disapproval in hopes of forcing the show to shut down.

Lawyers are sent to threaten media outlets with suits for running ads unfavorable to a particular cause or candidate.

This is not limited to politics. One can see this "stamping out dissent" activity around the subjects of global warming, construction of power plants, harvesting of trees, etc.

Using force or legal threats to shut off discussion of important matters is a sign that something is being hidden from view. Any group using this technique should be considered unworthy of trust. It becomes very important in these situations to see who is making money on each side of the controversy.

How can one apply this?

Take a subject like global warming which has passionate adherents and reputable critics in the scientific community. The ad hominum attacks on those who question the measurements and computer models suggests that critical inquiry is heresy of the worst sort. When we can no longer ask questions, we enter the province of religious belief. Climate change is a matter for science, not zealotry and faith.

I have no particular insight on this matter even after extensive historical studies, so I see the efforts to shut down critics of the current global warming debate as a sign of a cover up of some magnitude. As a result, I have a healthy distrust of the whole global warming movement. There may be some merit to the arguments, but the actions of the proponents makes me think it is a money making scam.

What is there to cover up? Perhaps the sale of carbon offsets by the oracle of global warming. Perhaps a "green washing" of polluting businesses through the purchase of "dispensations". Perhaps the creation of government grants to "study" the problem and guarantee employment to those who are properly aligned.

Until there is continued open and intelligent discussion of the situation, I will not believe those who cry wolf and attempt to use our tax money to line their pockets.

The next time you find yourself unable to make up your mind about an important situation, take a look at how the parties involved are handling their critics. That may tell you more about their intentions than what they are actually saying.

Deeds are more important than words in determining what to expect from someone or some group.

A politician will run on promises to "throw the bums out", but you should take careful note who is contributing to him and whether they are under indictment or investigation.

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